Sunday, December 6, 2009

BREAKING NEWS: Running Legend Larry Olsen has Passed Away

Dear Reader, please note that I have updated this post a couple times since hearing the sad news about Larry. For a man I knew only as an aquiantance, I have been on the verge of tears many times, and have spent most of the day thinking about Larry's life and legacy, and sending thoughts and prayers to his family and friends.

Thank you for your consideration as this blog post evolves.
-Rob

MetroWest Daily Article
Running Times Article

Hi Everyone,

This may not be of circumstance to any of you, but a running legend has suddenly passed on.

I literally just received an email from the President of my old club, the Tri-Valley Front Runners, based in Central Massachusetts, passing along some very sad news.

New England Running Legend Larry Olsen has apparently passed away. Larry was 63. I didn't get a chance to really know Larry as a member of the club, but he consistently posted times well under USATF national age group standards for most distances, just recently running 1:03:43 at the Yankee Homecoming 10 Miler, as well as just a couple weeks ago placing 24th at the Thanksgiving Day 'Whitin 5 Miler' in a time of 30:53.

Larry was the United States Track and Field Masters National Runner of the Year five times, including 1987 (40-44), 1992 (45-49), 1997 (50-54), 2002 (55-59), and 2007 (60-64). On a local level Larry was an 8-time USATF-NE Road Grand Prix Series Master's Champion.

Larry's reputation is legendary among the road running club scene, and he is already sorely missed. In addition, Larry was a dedicated coach for the Hopedale High School Girls Cross Country team, and almost everything I have read since originally posting this article speaks to the content of his character as a person, just as much as the lifetime of high performance as a runner.

Here is Sherry Brown's email:

Hi All,

I am sitting here, trying to compose this message to all of you, but for once in my life, I am at a complete loss for words. So, I just need to blurt it out.

With a very sad heart and through many tears, I need to inform you that we, the Tri-Valley Frontrunners and the entire running community, have lost a legend today. Our very own Larry "Legend" Olsen passed away today....doing what he loves most, running.

I wish I had details to share, but I don't. I am sorry to be the one to share this information with you but I prefer you find out this devastating information through me, rather than through the grapevine somewhere.

At this point in time, I do not know if Larry's family has had the opportunity to make any final arrangements. When I know something, I promise to forward any information on to the club membership.

Please say a prayer for Larry's family; a brother, Aaron in Norfolk and as sister (name?) in North Hampton.

Sincerely,

Sherry L Brown
Tri-Valley Frontrunners Club President

3 comments:

Sherry said...

Rob,

Like you, we (TVFR) are all crush and saddened by the news of Larry. As a club, we will never be the same. He was an integral part of us. All-in-all, rough day yesterday. Thank you for reposting my letter, as I know that his loss will be felt long and wide within the running community.

Sincerely, Sherry L Brown

RunninRob said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
RunninRob said...

Hi Sherry,

Thanks for the comment. I felt a little uneasy posting something before any article or confirmation was out there, but Larry was one of those guys that inspired me. I wish I had the opportunity to get to know him more outside of the occasional pleasantries before and after races with the club. There are so many other words and heavy feelings I have with this news, and it is a little strange since I really only knew Larry as an acquaintance.

My sincere thoughts and prayers to Larry's family, as well as his running family, that had the opportunity to know and love the man far more than I.

Warm Regards,
Rob