Farewell from a Faithful Friend

08/24/2010 - 10:25

By Bruce Morrison, Publisher
Ole Holsti was a longtime correspondent for Running Journal – and Carolina Runner before we changed the name.

From this publication’s very beginning in 1984, Ole, who was a professor at Duke University, was running races, taking photos, and writing stories.
He was one of the top runners in his age group, which was typically one group older than mine, yet he always beat me – and I sometimes won my younger age group. Once at a race in Greensboro, NC, I set a personal best PR in a 10K and was invited to speak at the awards ceremony. I had won my 45-49 age group. I told the assembled runners that I would have finished fourth in the older age group won by Ole.

He is retired now and has moved to Salt Lake City, Utah, where his daughter is on the medical school faculty. Ole’s late wife, Ann, died in 2005. Julie, my late wife and co-founder of Running Journal, died in an auto accident in 2002.

Ole is a good man, a person I have always respected, and I asked him to write a column to announce his departure. That column follows:

By Ole Holsti
I met Julie and Bruce on a hot and humid evening while re-hydrating after a mid-summer race in Durham, NC. They had set up a table with sample copies of the first issue of their new magazine, Carolina Runner. It eventually became Running Journal as the scope of its coverage expanded. The new magazine provided stories, results and photos of races that were of scant interest to such national publications as Runners World. During a long and very pleasant conversation, they said that if I raced fairly regularly, they would welcome coverage of those races. Having batted zero percent with several submissions to other running magazines, accepting their kind invitation was very easy. During the years since that memorable evening, it has been a genuine pleasure to be a part of very excellent and useful publications. Its great race calendar alone is worth the price of a subscription.

As I look back over the many years since that evening, I’ll share three quite different memorable events. The first was a post-race breakfast in Charlotte to which Julie and Bruce invited me and my wife. It had been a fun race, but the long and delightful breakfast conversation with these wonderful friends stays in my memory while my race time and place have long been forgotten. The second took place at a quite large race that attracted considerable media attention. While I was interviewing the winner, a local television person came up and gently shoved me aside, saying, “The media is here.” I replied, “The media are already here,” resumed my interview, and thought up lots of additional questions for the sole purpose of delaying the quite obnoxious TV guy. The final memorable episode occurred at one of my favorite races—the now-discontinued Zoo Run in Asheboro, NC. Debbie Davis, a wonderful runner and an even nicer person, had won the women’s race and set a course record in doing so. At the awards ceremony, the overall winner—a man—was given a trophy and a gift certificate for a quite substantial amount. Debbie was given only a trophy. After the awards ceremony, I was interviewing the race director when Debbie told him that in light of the different treatment of men and women winners, she was returning the trophy and asked that her win and record be expunged. What was I to do in my story? It all had a happy ending when shortly thereafter the race director came up with an identical gift certificate for Debbie.

As the title indicates, it is now time to bid farewell to a publication that has deeply enriched my life, as well as to the many wonderful persons that have played a role in its success. As I write this, my eyes are tearing up—tears of joy as I think back over my long association with RJ. In July 2009 I was diagnosed with stage-4 lymphoma, but I have been remarkably fortunate. I have suffered none of the predicted bad side effects over the course of eight rounds of chemo. When I asked my wonderful oncologists in December whether it was OK to race walk the Boston Marathon with lymphoma, she smiled and said, “Go for it!” So I did. It was the slowest of my nine Bostons, but the most memorable as my daughter accompanied me, slowing her fast running pace to mine.

I have now moved to Salt Lake City, where my daughte -- who is on the faculty of the Department of Pediatric Emergency Medicine at the University of Uta -- my son-in-law, and my two grandsons live. Their home is only five blocks away and thus we share family activities almost every day. I feel truly blessed.

Many thanks to Bruce, to the memory of the lovely Julie, and to all others at RJ, and warmest good wishes for continued success.

Photo: Maija and her dad, Ole Holsti, at the Boston Marathon this year.

Copyright © 2018 Running Journal