FALMOUTH ROAD RACE FOUNDER TOMMY LEONARD TURNS 84

This Sunday the New Balance Falmouth Road Race turns 45.  But today race founder and guiding spirit Tommy Leonard celebrates his 84th birthday.

Back in the Summer of `72 Tommy was tending bar at the Brothers 4 on Falmouth Heights when Frank Shorter ran to the gold medal at the Munich Olympic Marathon.  Inspired by Frank’s win, Tommy dreamed up a local road race to help raise funds for the Falmouth Girl’s Track Club.  45 years later, both the founder and his founding spirit live on.

Tommy Leonard

Though he summered on Cape Cod, T.L. called Boston’s Eliot Lounge home for nearly a quarter century, and it was there that his legend took root.  In honor of his birthday, here is a little verse that recalls the days when a visit to Tommy was on every runner’s wish list. Continue reading

THE MEASURE OF MEN

Even as we revel in the life affirming glory of last night’s women’s 1500 meter final at the IAAF World Track & Field Championships in London, we are constantly reminded of the brief stay that is ours upon this blue, spinning orb.  The Boston Globe put out a very nice obituary today on an old friend, and wheelchair racing pioneer Jack Coakley.

Jack was a 30-year stalwart at the Bill Rodgers Running Center in Boston’s Faneuil Hall.  He died last Friday while working out at Rowe’s Wharf gym at age 67.  He was a man who asked no quarter, nor gave any in return.  RIP wheel man.

We live as we do,

In the time we are given,

Trying as we might,

To accomplish what we can,

   In the fields that we till,

Through the habits we develop,

By the grace that is God’s,

To bestow as He sees,

Upon those of His choosing.


And through those days,

and by our ways,

We come to discover,

The true purpose of our existence,

In this realm of blood and breath and bone,

From the bright wail of our birth,

 ‘Til the silent dying of our light,

Arranging through trial and error,

Accommodation and accord,

And even at times whimsy,

The measure that is ultimately me.

END

 

ODE TO THE BOSTON CHAMPION

Meb Boston 2014

*

Through clamorous towns at a headlong pace,

You raced this day into Copley Place,

Where with arm thrust high,

And church bells pealing,

You wear a wreath of glory,

Though head still reeling.

*

The distance you ushered,

The pain you endured,

Your flag now flutters,

Must all seem a blur.

*

But honor’s all yours,

This Patriot’s Day,

In this oldest of marathons,

As men shout, “Hooray!”

*

And though crusted with salt,

Legs seized with fatigue,

The scene’s one to savor,

As you recall the intrigue. Continue reading

MEASURE OF THE MARATHON

***

With so much opposition all around us,

When everyone is against this thing or that,

And the ties that once bound us in union,

Hang loosened to trip us off track,

*

There comes the N-Y-C Marathon,

That glorious democratizing event,

To renew our faith in what’s possible,

And connect us to what we best represent,

*

Those qualities that make us all human,

Each in our own flawed way,

As we strive to ennoble these vessels,

While holding time’s ravages at bay,

*

By taking on the difficult pleasure,

That no amount of money can buy,

That only can come from the doing,

Even as the cynics exclaim, “Why try?”

*

Continue reading