But I wanted to say something else about a guy who was easily the most respected, knowledgable and admired person in online running circles. James A. Fortner, better known as "Jim2" in online running communities, passed away due to cancer on April 1st. His running page is one that I have had linked to my blog since I started writing here. It is a thorough collection of articles and research on all things running, from fact and statistic-based training information to personal anecdotes like one of my favorites, Sarah's Saga, about a fellow runner and friend of Jim's making repeated attempts to "beat the bridge" at the Marine Corps Marathon.
You could always count on Jim to pop in with his insight, wit and humor on a variety of subjects and questions that would pop up on the running forums. I can remember two specific questions I posted as a new runner that he answered and thus helped to steer me down the right path. He did the same thing for many a runner, always offering well-researched information coupled with his own opinions based on his vast experience and knowledge of running and racing. Even if the question had been posed a thousand times on the forums before, he would respond with respect and free of condescension. He even continued posting and offering his thoughts and advice after becoming ill. Despite being faced with a rare form of cancer that challenged some of the best doctors in the field, he kept his humor about him while facing a health crisis.
Jim always referred to each "running life" he experienced at different points in his life. As sad as it is for all of us in the running community who loved Jim's posts and will miss him greatly, and as devastating as his passing must be for his family and friends, I think there's a little bit of comfort in knowing that he's free of pain, and in a place where he can run free in his next running life. Jim, you will be missed greatly.