Track and field

There’s no quit in John Nunn

Forty-five years ago, at the Mexico City Olympics, a marathon runner from Tanzania finished dead last in the marathon. His name was John Stephen Akhwari.

Akhwari had fallen and hurt his knee. He was bloodied and bandaged by the time he straggled to the finish line, more than an hour after the winner. There, he was asked by the filmmaker Bud Greenspan why he had not quit despite obvious pain.

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Bud Greenspan, 84

It is standard practice in the world of journalism to write obituaries long in advance of the day someone dies. That way, when the day comes, you don’t have to wrestle with the emotion of the moment.

I never did get around to writing Bud Greenspan’s obituary. I simply couldn’t do it. He had been ill with Parkinson’s disease but I just could not confront the inevitable.