I didn't know who he was, but it sounds like he's had a significant impact on many individuals here. As a fellow runner, I have to respect a guy that has had such an influence on the running community.
If anyone has any stories they'd like to share, I'd love to hear about this man.
I did not know Mike Long, but I am inspired by what I have read about him. He "GOT IT" in a big way and was not shy about sharing those things that are most important in life.....all the while he was doing what he LOVED MOST.......very few are able to figure it out and very few ever "GET IT"....sounds like Mike did and in a VERY BIG WAY......a Role Model to follow for sure......my prayers go out to his family and his friends!
I assisted Mike at several Elite events from 2000-through this year's R&R Marathon. He will be missed by virtually everyone in this sport and anyone that was lucky enough to meet him even once. Mike is someone any of us would be very fortunate to call a friend. God Speed and God Bless you Mike Long
I would like to share a Mike Long story. I had the chance to meet him in Nashville this year at he CM Marathon. I had emailed him about maybe being able to put out my water bottles on the course even though I wasn't officially classified as an elite runner. He said I could put my bottles in with the elites if i got there by a certain time and also that he would have my bag there waiting for me in the elite athlete hospitality room. Long story short, my flight was late and, though i didn't get my bottles there in time, there was Mike, at 10pm the night before the race, waiting up to give me my race packet. He even offered me a ride to the start line with the elites. He impressed me with his hospitality and I can see why so many foreign elites considered him family. Mike you will be remembered as a great man.
Fondly, Brent Ferrell
I am very saddened by this news.
I've known Mike for many years dating back to the very early 90s when I was stationed in San Diego as an Army Recruiter. Over the years Mike has gone out of his way to let me and many of the runners I coach into the Elite Racing Events. I have only been able to stay in contact via emails the past few years but I was pleasantly surprised to see him at the airport in SD prior to this years Rock N Roll Marathon. Once again he had gotten an old friend into the race for free. He was waiting for a real athlete, not me, an old has been never was, but he called my name thru the crowd and we spent several minutes catching up on old times. He had heard about one of my runners who is a purple heart recipient and wanted him to run in the Philly 1/2 this fall. A great man, a great friend, I will miss him.
The greatest experience I have had so far in my running, was running the 2006 Rock n' Roll Half Marathon, one of only 6 runners.
This was the race where Haile, set the world record for the half. I emailed Mike asking if I could get a free entry for the regular half and of course he said sure. Well about a month later, he asked me what kind of shape I was in and would I be interested in running a special half with Haile.
Of course I took him up on his offer. I got to the starting line to learn I was one of only six guys in the race and the only one not brought over by Haile for his record attempt. Mike explained that no other Americans took him up on the offer to run and that he did not care what I did as long as I finished. I came to learn later that 5 people need to finish for it to be a valid race for WR purposes. Anyhow long story short, I went out in 248 at the k, and by 10k was so far behind Haile that they had taken the K markers and the course directions. But it has to be the best experience of my running life. After the race Mike, Frank Shorter, myself, Haile, and Bernard Lagat talked and ate lunch. Mike treated me, a 221 guy, like a 205 guy and gave me a great experience that I will remember for the rest of my life. Thanks Mike!
I ran my first marathon at R&R San Diego in 2000. I had trained hard but had basically no credentials as a competitive runner. Being young and brash I contacted Mike and asked if I could run in the elite field (eventual best was 2:22 and I wasn't even close to that at the time, so a pretty audacious request) Instead of laughing at me, which would have been understandable in hindsight, Mike said he would be glad to accomodate me. When I arrived to pick up my number, he was extremely gracious and helpful and a joy to be around. It's easy for me to understand why Mike is so well loved by runners around the globe. He is able to make anyone feel like they matter because to him everyone does matter.
Tracy/Tim/Tony/Toya/Steve/Everyone at Elite Racing, runners all over the world and Mike's family our sincerest condolences. My husband Mike and I are very very sad today. When I opened our email last night and read the news, I was so shocked that I actually cried out. Mike Long was unique in all the world. There will never be another one like him, not ever. There are no words, simply no words to describe the loss. Mike and I, like everyone else, consider ourselves fortunate to have known him. At least we have that...Mike, your love will live on forever.
The response to Mike's passing is a testament to the quality of this very special man. His family knows how well loved he was, but your remembrances of him are a big help in their grieving. Please continue writing your thoughts and memories of Mike. Below is an e-mail from Godfrey Kiprotich of Kenya who was a long-time friend of Mike's. It captures the spirit of Mike eloquently.
What a sad story to hear. I canâ€™t believe Mike is gone. How did this happen?! Life is so short that we shouldn't take it for granted. It was only the other day we were hugging each other sharing a light joke at our Kimbia get together in Boston. He even brought me a pair of Asics shoes challenging me to start a fresh training regimen just to stay fit like before.
Mike Long was such a true humble man. I remember meeting him the first time in 1996 when he came to pick me up at the San Diego airport for a 10k race. It took only the few minutes between the airport and our hotel to realize what a kind loving person he was.
Whenever I think of him it reminds me of our driving together in my car across Rift Valley towards Eldoret. We came in contact with some monkeys along the road, so close that one of them grabbed his car window as he handed them a cookie. Even though Mike was frightened, I remember him saying, "Hope no driver will dare to run over any of them as they are lovely animals and have a right to live!!â€ť Our journey was full of fun discussing athletes and different races.
Mike wasn't only a true ambassador for Elite Racing but a great mentor and a sincere friend to many people across the continents. When I shared the tragic news to my family my son asked me if he is the same MZUNGU who was ready to teach him how to swim in one of the hotel pools within Eldoret. We will miss his annual visit to Kenya, his smiley face, hugging his friends in every corner of the globe. Tom, Mike had that unique sense of humor, charismatic behavior and a big heart. Many people will miss him and so too Kenyan athletes who knew him well â€¦ especially me! May his soul rest in eternal peace.
May you please send our sincere condolence to his family, Elite Racing, and all of his many friends. It is so sad to loose such important friend who loved the sport and the athletes with the whole of his heart.
What a sad gloomy day.
|Elite Sometime Staffer|
Sad news does not do this loss justice...Mike was a fixture in the running community. Not because of the athletes that ran his races, but because of who Mike was as a person. So many places will not be the same without Mike...from Rosie O'Grady's in NYC to hanging out at LAX for 14 hours waiting for athletes to arrive, Mike was forever a joy to be around. His kindness and generosity go beyond words. He had more energy than most 20 year olds, and lived life to its fullest. In 65 years he experienced more than any other person I know--it seemed he was just at the peak of his life. Thank you Mike for all whom you have touched...the laughs we all shared, the rounds you picked up, the personal touch you gave to all athletes. But more than anything, thank you for making a difference in my life, and showing me how much fun the running industry can be.
This from Elias Kebede in Ethiopia:
THE FOLLOWING ATHLETES WERE HERE AT GLOBAL ATHLETICS OFFICE IN ADDIS TO PAY THEIR TRIBUTE TO MIKE AND SEND THEIR DEEP CONDOLENCE TO HIS FAMILY
THE ATMOSPHERE WAS VERY SOMBER AND ATHLETES WEPT OPENLY
DR YILMA BERTA
GOD GIVE YOU THE STERENGTH AT THIS MOMENT
My thoughts and prayers go out to Mike's family and everyone at Elite Racing, they have lost a very special person.
I used to see Mike on the Mission Beach Boardwalk a lot while running. I always stopped to talk with him and before I knew it, 10 minutes had gone by.
He loved the sport, but he loved helping other people even more!!
I thanked God this morning for the gift of my friend Mike Long. How blessed we have all been to have been touched by his life. Everything he did, whether it was drinking beer, riding his bike, playing with his grandsons or driving to the airport at 11:00 p.m. at night to pick up an athlete, he did with joy, authenticity, and passion. How many of us can say that of how we live our own lives?
From the moment I met him, nearly 10 years ago, it was obvious he was someone special. He opened his heart, his home and his pocketbook without hesitation to many strangers, soon making them his brothers and sisters, children and grandchildren. He was never unscrupulous in his dealings. He never took advantage of anyone. Instead he believed that anyone given a chance, as long at they had the desire, could succeed. It was this approach to his business that made him a success and there is a long list of athletes to prove he was right.
He was living proof that integrity and character count in a world where cynicism and corruption are too often celebrated. We should all strive to live our lives, like Mike, by making the world a better place and smiling while we do it.
So long for now, my friend. Thanks for being here. My God rest your precious soul.
"For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me… I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me." - Matthew 25:35
From Carolyn and Steve Mather
Our thoughts and prayers are with you in the loss of Mike. I know you were very close friends and know this will be very difficult for you and and all of our many friends in the world of running. I was in tears when I told Steve this morning.
> Mike was one of the best things in our sport. His infectious humor and his endearing smile lightened the spirits of anyone who happened to be around him. He was a joy to all of us and I cannot not imagine our sport
without Mike. He left an indelible legacy of unselfishness and love. His renditions of his trips to Africa helped me to really appreciate where the athletes in poor countries emerged from and how they have struggled to get to the top. I know his generosity is legendary among many athletes and
friends. Our love and thoughts and prayers are with all of you at this very sad
> Carolyn & Steve
Earlier this year in January, I had the opportunity to talk with Mike Long several times on the telephone. As the elite athlete coordinator for Arizona's Rock and Roll Marathon, he was the point of contact for my relative Tariku Aboset who came over from Ethiopia to take part in that marathon.
Mike was very pleasant to talk to each time I called his mobile phone, and he went out of his way several times to make sure Tariku was able to talk to me during his visit in Arizona. I knew that Mike hosted many athletes for the race so I wondered how he could manage to accommodate each one with this level of attention.
After the marathon was completed and Tariku returned back to Ethiopia, I meant to write a note to Mike Long to thank him for the excellent hospitality he provided. However, I never got around to it and after a while I felt it was too late to contact him regarding a race months ago. Few moments ago, I was sad to learn that Mike Long passed away yesterday.
May his soul rest in peace.
|28:13 was my best|
My former manager around 1995 or so TOLD me to run this race and did not understand because there was very little money in this race. I ran it and finished in the top 6 and then I realized why he insisted but he understood what this sport was about.
Troy James was a great manager but Mike Long was a greater director who understood athletes, managers and the sport. No offense to Troy but Mike was the man. He was what this sport should always be.