i first met mike long a couple of years ago at the carlsbad 5k, the day before the race they had the run with the elites, i was a very fat 5 foot 9 and 267 pounds but i ran and talked to tirunesh dibaba and meselesh melkamu for the 2 mile jog, at the end of the jog they were giving away huge chipotle burritos, so i said to the girls, here have some free food, t. dibaba looked scared and backed away, melkamu jumped back and said no race tomorrow, too big, and she held her stomach, i told mike long i was just trying to play with them and he talked to them and they were both laughing, i felt he saved me from embarassment as i like them and am a fan who was trying to be silly. the next year i called to ask who is in the elite field and the receptionist said mike long had the list and would release it to the media today or tomorrow and the receptionist asked for my name and number, about a half hour later mike long called and told me, and even said who to look for that i did not know. the next year i call to ask when the elite list would be released and the receptioned said you have to ask mike long, i said when will he be in, the receptionist said he is here now, i will put him on, i said my name is doug and he said? doug burke, i said wow you remember me, he said yes, i asked who would be there and he said he had a great field, but the runners who ran in mombassa were all still suffering from the heat, he said tariku bekele, abrahaham feleke and others wanted to run, but were suffering from the heat as was melkamu who was supposed to race defar, we talked he asked if i was an athlete and he told me he wrestled for michigan state, then i told him thanks and i look to see a great race, before i hung up he said wait there will be a party for the runners tuesday at a restaurant and the ethiopians including meseret defar would be there, so i went to the party and ryan and sarah hall jen rhines, ian dobson and many others were there. i could tell meseret defar really liked mike long, when i asked defar how her sister elemesh is doing she said her sister hurt her back, so i told meseret to tell elemesh (agzer yi ma resh) which means may god restore her health and meseret was lauging loudly and yelled mike, mike he knows amharic, and he said doug you know amharic? and i said only a few words. then at the end of the party they had dancing and aheza kiros was the top dancer and kiros showed mesere some dance moves, meseret practiced and then tried to get mike long to dance. the party was the most fun i had this year.