Saturday, February 22, was a great day to run outside. The temperature hovered in the mid to upper fifties, the weather was dry, and the Legacy Trail had just enough people on it to make it fun. I have been fighting a cold the last few days, and wasn’t sure how far I could go. My goal for the week was 20-miles of running. Pre-cold I had 10-miles under my belt for the week. I took a break from workouts Thursday and Friday so by Saturday I was ready to see what I could do. But something else was inspiring me, motivating me, and urging me on.
Last August 23-25, I lived one of the lowest and highest points of my life over 3-days. That Friday I learned my good buddy, Rick Corman, had passed away after fighting for many years against cancer. I knew it was coming. I did not want to believe it. Rick was the most gracious man I’ve ever known. A railroader through every cell of his body, a man’s man, but a lover of people. And not afraid to show it. More than once in the last couple of years he said, “Sam, I love you.” He had treated me and my family to some incredible memories. But we were not alone. He did that for thousands of people from all walks of life. More than once I saw him slip a big bill into the hand of a waitress. Not at some fancy restaurant. No, Rick enjoyed breakfast at the most common and low key places. He loved spreading around some of the wealth he had earned. I could almost write a book on the things this man taught me about life, about business, about fighting cancer.
So Saturday running on the Legacy Trail Rick was on my mind. I have signed up to run in the Railrunner 10-miler at his beautiful property on March 15th. Rick took great pride in the gorgeous asphalt running and cycling trails that meander through the RJ Corman land in Nicholasville. All those years with cancer, Rick kept running, walking, and cycling. It helped keep him alive. So when various charities and running groups came calling to ask if he would host a race, he said yes. He even built a race barn for the after race medal ceremonies complete with a stage, and plenty of seating. One race friend of mine remarked after seeing the red carpet (literally) rolled out by Rick for races, “man, this is like going to Disneyland.” It was. But even better. Rick supplied lunch hot off the grill, home made ice cream, drinks, tents, restrooms, huge cash awards, and much more…all for free. Remember I said he was gracious.
Rick passed on the Friday before my biggest race. Ironman Louisville. He was on my mind all weekend, and during the race on the bike I had long conversations with him. Cycling 112-miles gives you plenty of time to do that kind of thing. I had a great race for my very first Ironman, and Rick was right there with me. I crossed the finish line on Sunday night, and went to his funeral on Monday afternoon. This March 15th he will be very much on my mind. It will be the first time I’ve been back on his company property since his funeral. He’s buried right near the big sign out front. That’s Rick. He built the place, and damn it, he’s not going to let anyone forget he’s still around. I won’t forget. Every mile of that 10 on March 15th he’ll be running alongside. We’ll probably talk some on the way. That’s what buddies do. That’s what Rick and I used to do. See you on the 15th Rick.