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Keeping my hand in



Not a running post, but running adjacent.

I should be at the Millrose Games today, but I'm not, and I'm thinking about last year's Millrose, which was probably our last big day out before everything shut down. Allyson Felix was there. Donavan Brazier set an 800m men's US indoor record. Ajee Wilson set an 800m women's US indoor record. Elle Purrier set a women's USA indoor mile record. People were getting excited about Tokyo.

After the meet ended, we hightailed it over to Coogan's to get a table before the runners started to trickle in. My brother-in-law, Jim, who has followed track and field since he was a kid in the 1960s, was excited to see one of his running heroes, Eamonn Coghlan, walk in. Later, when Elle Purrier entered, the entire place broke into cheers. Then Peter Walsh, the co-owner, stopped by the table, as he did with all the tables, and talked to us as though he had known us for years. Soon after that, Jim excused himself to go the bathroom, which is best described as intimate, and we at the table watched with a mixture of humor/fascination, as Eamonn Coghlan headed in right behind him. Jim walked out of the bathroom, and immediately made eye contact with us across the room with a look on his face that showed that he had just met one of his heroes in the can, and that he knew that we knew he had just met one of his heroes in the can. Jim said Coghlan walked in, looked at him, and said, "Hi! How are ya?"

And this year, no Millrose, and Coogan's has closed for good. After it closed, Peter Walsh made a video about the bar's influence on its neighborhood, Washington Heights. About a minute and half in, there's a segment where the camera sweeps to Elle Purrier reacting to the cheers that greeted her when she walked in. Freeze that sweep at the right moment, and you catch a blurred image of me (part of me, anyway), my wife, my brother-in-law, and my nephew.



It was a big day out.

On a different note, I was reading a description of one of the first distance races in the US, a 25-mile race in September 1896. About 30 runners started enthusiastically enough, but about 5 miles in, some of them realized what they were up against. A reporter for the New York Herald described these runners as beginning to think that "their early hopes were not warranted by the facts.”

That's how I'm going to describe every bad run I have from now on.




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