Craig Virgin, photo courtesy of Jeff Benjamin
I first heard of Craig Virgin in 1972, when I ran for DeSmet Jesuit in Creve Coeur, Missouri. I read about Craig racing in Illinois. I still have the cover of Craig Virgin on TFN winning NCAA Cross country in 1976.
Jeff Benjamin reached out to Craig Virgin about his memories of the late Kenny Moore. We thank him for his comments.
Remembering Kenny Moore - 4th In A Series From Craig Virgin
"Back when I started my running career in HS (1969-73) my heroes and role models as a young competitive runner were Frank Shorter and Steve Prefontaine and maybe Jim Ryun & Marty Liquori. But as a long-distance runner, Jack Bacheler and Kenny Moore were right up there as well.
The 1972 Olympic Trials was the first OT that I followed closely and the results of US distance runners in the 1972 Olympic marathon was our most successful from a squad standpoint with all our 3 runners in the top 10!!! Amazing even today...
I modeled myself more after Prefontaine with his front running and very aggressive style of competition... but I did NOT really model myself after him off the track.
It was Kenny Moore who embodied the communications style and literary finesse that I most admired in that arena. And Shorter's leadership in the sport with our NGB and other athlete's rights issues...
Kenny Moore was not particularly comfortable with me because I embodied kinda a brand new breed and style of post-collegiate distance runner by 1978.
Especially compared to his generation of American athletes who mostly continued their running careers as serious book bag carrying grad student. But Kenny tolerated me and found that I provided him with good quotes for his various SI stories.
(The fact that I was from the Midwest ... and was beating his buddy, Steve Prefontaine's, records... probably did not help my cause as well!?!)
Kenny Moore and Steve Prefontaine, Hayward Field, photo by Jeff Johnson
BUT I deeply respected Kenny Moore's athletic credentials and his writing acumen and have deeply missed his literary contributions to our sport for some time now as his health declined.
Kenny Moore will always inspire me in writing and speaking for the rest of my life... even though I was not among the "Men of Oregon" that he so respectfully wrote about!
And his perseverance thru the early years of his then fairly unremarkable athletic career... to later become one of the finest American distance runners of his generation.. . thru his hard work, grit, and determination.. is very motivational to any athlete of any generation.
Moore's obituary is a powerful example to follow for athletes who do not have immediate success in their careers.
RIP Kenny Moore. "