I agree with this. We should all keep a running log. I did keep one for years and it is fun to double-check paces, results, mileage, etc. --- I still train with the same running buddies from college (I am 50 now), and we all have pretty thorough training logs that we can refer to. Now I use Garmin for daily runs and only write down special workouts and races.
+1. All my PRs are in the internet age (though at age 39 I'm probably about as old as you can be and say that), but in 30-40 years I won't be reminiscing via my implanted mind-link to the metaverse. I'll be looking at all my old race numbers and the notes and times I've scribbled on the back of each one.
I think your melancholy is not about the fact that your running accomplishments aren't documented. It's about the fact everything we do lacks any real meaning. The only thing sadder than that realization would be if finding an old high school time of yours in an old newspaper gave you joy. Be calm, be kind, enjoy your life. You're on the back end of life now, as am I. Let's march into the dirt with some dignity.
I've kept paper records, newspaper clippings, etc. for over 40 years for my own satisfaction. I don't even know where to start looking for electronic records of any meets that my kids have run. I fear that a lot of the digital data we trust to online storage just won't be retrievable in a few decades (or less).
If it's any consolation (I doubt it will be), I'm not optimistic that future generations will be much better off than you. Information online is very consolidated into walled-off gardens and only trending more and more that way. When a company dies, it usually takes the vast majority of its data with it, and even companies we take for granted as mainstays today can die within 40 years.
Concrete example - coolrunning.com. They were a huge archive of race results, many of them never published anywhere else, and then Active.com bought them and shut them down without even bothering to migrate the results to another system or provide a data archive that people could download. It's just gone. You can try to email them about a specific race on a specific date and they might respond, but that's about it. There's no reason to think the same couldn't happen to milesplit or any other similar site within the next 40 years. There's no accessing that Instagram video of the 5:30 JV miler, if Instagram shuts down.
I'm not a testament quoting kind of guy, but it's been said so well in Ecclesiastes 1, that starts out with:
"Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher, vanity of vanities! All is vanity. What does man gain by all the toil at which he toils under the sun?
and ends with:
"There is no remembrance of former things, nor will there be any remembrance of later things[e] yet to be among those who come after."
So the question becomes, of what value are they if any at all? For me, it is in the value you give them.
With this in mind, like 'Oh well', said, live for the experience, do what you do with character, appreciation, and pleasure. And perhaps the real value of those admirable things you have accomplished is in making you all you are and have become, which shouldn't be undervalued, either.
I think the only solution would be to put your results in as many places as possible. Print out a hard copy, take a picture of them on your cell phone, save them on your computer, post them on social media, request the Wayback Machine to save a copy, and so on. That way, if some of them disappear, you'll still have something to rely on.
I read the title of the thread and thought of it a different way. I have gone to a few meets in the past year after going to basically none in the past 20 years and I now find it hard to believe I was as good/better than most of the people in these races back in my day. When I'm jogging my 8:00 minute miles now, seems awful hard to believe I could run 3:00/mi faster than that in races 20-25 years ago. Seems like a whole other lifetime.
A running log is great. It is just nice to be able to look back at one's life now and then. I also have picture albums from all the different phases of my life. It is nice to smile and remember things from 30 or 40 years ago. People who only have photos on their phones will be sad in 30 years when none of that stuff is actually available. I can pull out photo albums from high school and college that are amazing. Such good times. And since I am still friends with those people, the pictures mean a lot to us.