2012 closed with another wonderful time at the Honolulu Marathon, as did this year. I’m just back from Honolulu, and since my best friend followed me home, the aloha spirit was extended until her departure; and I am now feeling the withdrawal symptoms, like homesickness. Hawai’i is a very special place for me. In between the two Honolulu Marathons, who could have guessed the dramatic events of the year ahead?
In March, the Napa Valley Marathon (NVM) featured what they term as “Marathon College” with a panel of women running pioneers speaking on the history of the women’s marathon. This was the brainchild of NVM race director and Marathon & Beyond magazine editor/writer Rich Benyo. The panel moderator was none other than legendary, prolific running writer Joe Henderson. It was an amazing event and wonderful reunion. (The transcripts of that event appeared in California Track News and are posted on this site on the “Articles” page.)
Next, Joan and I were again reunited in April for the fateful day in Boston. I was there for the best and the worst of it. Celebrating my 40th anniversary winning, along with Joan, Greg Meyer and Amby Burfoot each in their respective banner years, we were treated like kings and queens all week. I was beyond honored to shoot the starting gun, feeling nostalgic on the women’s elite starting line, wishing I was one of them. As a coach, I greeted my runners on the finish line until the tragedy. We all know what happened at that moment. (https://www.jacquelinehansen.com/?p=2264)
Upon returning home, I was drawn to memorial running events, to be surrounded by people doing something positive. In that effort, I have made some remarkable friendships of the everlasting kind. I first met Brad and Nancy Jo at a memorial run from the Manhattan Beach Pier. It was as simple as wearing the same Boston jackets and we introduced ourselves to each other. This chance meeting has come to mean more as time goes on. On another occasion, running from the Santa Monica pier, I was stopped at a crossing light where I spotted and asked someone in a group of runners about their T-shirts, with Boston written on them and something about the “Epic Man” for which I had no idea. Curious. And so I met Noah Perch-Ahem, Amy Schaeffer, Rebecca Brownstone, Lori Werderich and eventually the Epic Man himself, Seth Bradbury, as well as his brother.
This led to the book-signing party in May, at the LA84 Foundation Library. What a party, what a gathering of friends, new and old, and from all walks in my life. The book was, as the title indicates, a long time coming. It is about our campaign to gain Olympic inclusion for women’s distance running which was, even more so, a long time coming. I am grateful to oh so many people for making such things possible — be it my running career, the cause, and the story.
The month of May also brought the culmination of another school year, at work and teaching at Loyola Marymount University, School of Education. I was surprised with the special recognition I received at the end-of-school-year dinner, further commemorating my 40th anniversary at Boston and book publication. It’s a very unique and tightly bonded team I am fortunate to work with.
In the month of June, I returned, as for many years, to Culver Academies Distance Running Camp in Indiana, one of my favorite places on earth. It is the most idyllic setting for a camp, with the most engaging staff for more than one hundred enthusiastic high school runners. The camp’s founder is my long-time dear friend, Joe Mendelson, and directed by the tireless, innovative Dana Neer. I was particularly pleased to be reunited with two young women I personally referred to this camp, Naomi from Minnesota and Elli from Hawai’i.
The summer months brought me a lot of classes to teach, and traveling was definitely on hiatus. However, in the Fall, I added some coaching and teaching to my docket, at LMU’s Family of Schools, in particular St. Bernard High School. This past Fall semester has been one very busy time on both campuses (LMU and St. Bernard’s). . . . . and highly rewarding too!
The close of the Fall season for Cross-Country and the Fall semester of classes brought me to December and a return trip to the Honolulu Marathon, as a former winner (my 40th anniversary coming up in 2015, leaving you to do the math). I was pleased to participate, in as much as I can. I walked the first 10K of the race to enjoy the fireworks at the 5:00 AM start, the Honolulu Lights in downtown, and the cheering crowds and bands along the sidelines, followed by the festive celebration in Kapiolani Park afterwards. This is by far the most hospitable and scenic marathon in the world, even if the weather, plus the climb over Diamond Head do not afford many personal best times. Besides, where on earth are you treated to a luau and phenomenal concert of bands; or endless “malasadas” to eat post-race (not that this health teacher would)?
“And so this is Christmas” (per John Lennon). Although I intended to wrap it up here, there is yet one more story developing, one which I’ll share in the next post. One that is more than a little intriguing story to share . . . . . . . so please stay tuned.