Tony's Take: A Stroll Down Memory Lane With Craig Virgin

FULL VIDEO w/CRAIG VIRGIN and the history lesson 

It was a trip to southern Illinois that I will remember for a long time. After covering my first cross country meet of the season at the Mascoutah Kick-Off, I set to venture home and the next town over was Lebanon. Hold up! 'Lebanon?? I think this is the legendary Craig Virgin's hometown,' I wondered aloud. I immediately pulled over to the side of the road and looked through my phone address book for his number. It had been lost when I updated my phone several months ago. Ahh, but I had his social media handle. I reached out to him to let him know that I was in his town.

It wasn't too long before one of America's all-time great distance runners would reach out to me. We initially met outside of his former high school to talk some running but mostly it was a quick history lesson about Lebanon and the surrounding area as well as the state in general. Believe it or not, in the three-plus hours that we spent over lunch, we hardly discussed his iconic 13:50.6 that he ran in 1972. Virgin showed me an original handwritten recruiting letter from his idol Steve Prefontaine. Wisdom and general life knowledge are what I absorbed most from Mr. Olympian Craig Virgin.