The sport of running lost one its true guiding lights today as news of Geoff Hollister’s passing was announced in Portland, Oregon. Hollister succumbed to cancer just days after his 66th birthday following a several year battle with the disease. Full story here
Among his many other talents, Geoff was instrumental in bringing Alberto Salazar out to Oregon, and this past weekend at the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix in Al’s home town of Boston, Salazar’s Nike Oregon Project athletes Galen Rupp, Mo Farah, and Ciaran O’Lionard all wore specially designed singlets in honor of Geoff. Galen, who grew up in Eugene and attended the University of Oregon, like Geoff, was especially touched.
“He was so passionate about the sport,” recalled Galen last Friday, Geoff’s 66th birthday. “He brought so many new ideas, like Athletics West (the Nike-sponsored track team of the late 1970s). He really knew how to advance the sport. I’ve known him since high school, and he was always so good to be around.”
I’d known Geoff for over 30 years, too, and we’d reconnect every August at Joanie Samuelson’s Beach to Beacon 10k in Maine, where his laugh and embrace of life were always in full engagement. Though he’d long retired from Nike, Geoff kept busy in recent years using his arts background to produce documentary films, from the award-winning “Fire on the Track”, the tale of Steve Prefontaine, to last year’s “There is No Finish Line” showcasing the saga of Joanie’s rise to Olympic glory, and her continued influence on runners of all ages, genders, and abilities.
One of the original “Men of Oregon”, as writer and fellow Duck Kenny Moore dubbed the men who ran for legendary Oregon coach Bill Bowerman, Geoff Hollister lived a life that exemplified Joseph Campbell’s dictate to “follow your bliss”. May we all be so fortunate. Continue reading