Bowerman and the Men of Oregon Dedication

University of Oregon Pepsi Meet Remarks

April 8, 2006

Thank the announcer, Paul Swangard, and say…

1. Bill Bowerman would have you recall that marathoners don’t just run long. We carry the word. 2,496 years ago, the first one, Phiddipides, ran back to Athens after the battle of Marathon, yelled, “Rejoice, we conquer,” and fell dead. The Greeks had beaten the invading Persians. Athens had saved Western civ.

2. So I carry a message here today. (Point at Heidi clutching book) But no marathoner runs alone, let alone an author. I want Hayward Field to meet and reward my publisher, Heidi Rodale, of Rodale Books. Heidi was so struck by Bill’s life and import that she simply refused to let any other firm have a chance at his biography. You need more than water stations along the route of a book. You need a map. Heidi was there at every turn, renewing my courage and pointing the way ahead.

3. [Heidi’s remarks]

4. Heidi, thank you. All I have to do now, before I fall dead, is pass the first copy of the book to Barbara Bowerman. In truth, that’s not even necessary. She’s read it. She’s corrected it and given it grace and wit. One reason I’ve been calm over the years about whether I was capable of doing Bill justice was I‘ve always known what was in the notebooks that piled up during talks with Barbara.

5. But it is crucial in life that a promise be kept before ALL those it concerns. So now, before Bill Bowerman’s crowd, before Bill’s sons, Jon, Jay and Tom, we pass this baton.

(Heidi and Kenny BOTH contrive to give the book to Barbara together, and hug her.)

6. Barbara’s remarks.

7. Thank you Barbara. The torch is passed. I die content. But I cannot go without thanking two great forces of nature. One is Vin Lananna, who has so embraced the Bowerman legacy that he has invited us all here to celebrate in mid-competition. Thank you Vin. I owe you a lifelong debt.

8. The other is you, the crowd that Bowerman taught. You roar until talent reaches greatness. You enforce justice on Hayward Field. You already know the essential message in this book. And you know it comes right out of Phidippides’ mouth:

“Rejoice, we conquer!”

Rejoice in athletes conquering themselves and defining society through all-out effort.

Rejoice in Bill’s way of problem solving. He was pioneer stock. He combined Oregon trail stubbornness with his native wit and a fine Oregon education, and thought and RE-thought everything from our shoes to our training to the health of our citizenry.

9. He said you should attempt to OVER-solve your immediate problem. He over-solved our shoes and ended up with Nike. He over-solved our training and won four NCAA titles. He over-solved our unfit citizens and ended up with the jogging movement. Even the Bowerman Building was an over-solution. He was so mad that Bill Dellinger was moved out of the traditional track office (Bill Hayward’s office) by AD Rick Bay that he gave the University a whole building so that would never happen again.

10. And when he over-solved the need for thousands of fans to howl home Ducks in battle, he created you, the Hayward crowd. He made you out of mill workers, students, homemakers and professors and he gave you power. He gave you the power to take me from an awestruck kid gripping that fence to an Olympian of some tenacity. I owe you a lot more than a book.

Rejoice in that power and you will be true to Bowerman’s legacy.

Thank you.

TO ORDER The Author Runner's World Excerpt -
Dedication Speech
The Book Runner's World Excerpt -
Bowerman Cyber Wake