Since 1982 I've written a newsletter, Running Commentary. A new issue appears here each week, and material is archived.

Mon, 19 Jan 2004 08:30:48 -0500

Long Run's End


(This piece stood as my signoff to Runner's World readers after writing there for 33 years. It ran in early January as my final "Bell Lap" column for RW Online.)

Jobs, like races, have finish lines. These seldom come at exactly the time you expect or hope. But whatever the result, you accept it and move on because the only other option is to give up for good.

My job as a columnist for Runner's World lasted much longer than I ever thought it would. But I knew that it would end someday.

Now I've reached my finish line at RW. This may not be a good time -- could there ever have been a good one? -- but I accept it and prepare to move on to whatever comes next.

But first let me explain what happened. Since word of this move came out, some rather overheated comment about it has raced around the Web. This is my chance to clarify what happened and what will happen next.

David Willey, the new editor, is charged by his bosses at parent company Rodale with redesigning Runner's World. We can argue whether the choices are the right ones or not, but they're coming anyway.

He called me in December to say that my RW column had "run its course" and would breathe its last in the March issue. This isn't simply an out-with-all-old step. The remaining columnists, Amby Burfoot and John Bingham, aren't far behind me in age and are longtimers with the magazine.

The new editor made me the same offer as the other columnists -- notably Jeff Galloway, who accepted. That was to keep writing occasionally in other parts of the magazine, such as in feature articles and in how-to columns with multiple contributors.

I declined, so the decision on my leaving was mutual. Here's why I said no to the new role.

I've been trained and spoiled by columns, which are personal letters from writer to reader. That style isn't a good fit outside the boundaries of the column.

So from my RW finish line this is good-bye to you readers. (I asked that the precious column page deal with a normal topic in my last month with the magazine.) I never took my page for granted and always felt honored to talk to so many of you this way.

Thanks for lending me your eyes and thoughts, and for sometimes sharing your agreements and disagreements, through the past 250 straight months of columns. Keep running and reading.


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