Kenny Moore, marathon runner and track writer, dies at 78

Two-time Olympic marathoner Kenny Moore, a Sports Illustrated track writer for nearly 25 years with a deep understanding of athletes, died May 4 at his home in Kailua, Hawaii. He is 78 years old.

His brother Bob confirmed his death. He didn’t know the reason, but said Mr Moore was weak.

Before his writing career began, Mr. Moore had such an experience in footwear history: he was believed to be the first test subject for a prototype running shoe designed in 1965. Bill Bowermanhis coach at the University of Oregon, and he has founded Blue Ribbon Sports, which later became Nike, with Philip Knight.

“Every time I put on a new prototype, I have the privilege of being a better runner,” Mr Moore told the Nike Blog in 2017.

Decades later, he wrote “Bauerman and the Oregonian: The Story of the Legendary Oregon Coach and Nike Co-founder” (2006).

Mr. Moore started working for Sports Illustrated in 1971, when he was a competitive runner. For the next 24 years, he wrote stylish and informative articles about sprinters, middle-distance runners, marathoners, pole vaulters, and decathlons.

“He’s not an equipment writer,” Peter Cary, former executive editor of Sports Illustrated, said in a phone interview. “He was a man with a real love of literature and a real sense of language. He was both economical and eloquent.”

During the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, South Korea, Mr Moore described Florence Griffith Joyner’s gold medal and world record victory in the 200m.

“Griffith Joyner came home with her hair flying and her left knee raised, as usual, an inch higher than her right hand, making her stride look like she was galloping,” he wroteadding, “She flew over the finish line and came home with a complicated and irresistible cry of joy, and then her head hit the track and began a prayer of thanksgiving.”

At those Olympics, Mr Moore was also involved in the magazine’s team report, which reported that Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson’s positive steroid test resulted in his being stripped of his 100-meter gold medal. As part of the report, Earlier that year, Mr Moore learned details of Mr Johnson’s steroid use on the Caribbean island of St Kitts.

George Hersheythe former publisher of Runner’s World magazine, which Mr. Moore wrote for after leaving Sports Illustrated, said Mr. Moore’s athletic experience increased his exposure to subject matter.

“I remember him interviewing people like this Bill Rogers or Joan Benoit,Mr. Hirsch said in a phone interview, referring to two elite marathon runners, “he would run with them and see who they were, and he couldn’t have done it if he wasn’t an elite runner.

Kenneth Clark Moore was born on December 1, 1943 in Portland, Oregon. His father, Melvin, was a metal salesman, and his mother, Marian (Smith) Moore, was a housewife who also worked in a women’s clothing store.

At the University of Oregon, Mr. Moore was a three-time National Cross Country Champion. After Mr Moore fractured his right foot in 1965, then-coach Mr Bowerman noticed he was wearing high jump training shoes with little padding or arch support.

Within six weeks of the foot needing to heal, Mr Bowerman designed and built a prototype, much to Mr Moore’s relief. Running painlessly through more prototypes, he further refined the shoe, leading Blue Ribbon Sports to launch it as the Cortez.

Mr. Moore received his BA in Philosophy in 1966.After graduation, he qualified for the marathon at the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico; Mamorwald of Ethiopia.

After two years in the military and a year at Stanford Law School, he returned to the University of Oregon in 1972 to earn a master’s degree in creative writing.

That year, he ran a marathon at the Munich Summer Olympics just days after 11 Israeli athletes and coaches were massacred by Palestinian terrorists.

“Until now, at the age of twenty-nine, I believed that the Olympics would not be threatened by the larger world,” he wrote in “Bauerman and the Oregonian.” “It was a hallucination, but it was the most intense of my life. I was shaking and sobbing as it shattered.”

Mr Moore stumbled early in the race but recovered well enough to finish fourth. Frank Shorter won the race and Mr. Wolde finished third.

“A marathon can do some damage if run well,” Mr Moore wrote. “I did it right, the approval of the crowd roared in my head, on the blood blister pad.”

In 1980, while writing for Sports Illustrated, he helped screenwriter-director Robert Towne obtain a license to use the University of Oregon track for part of the 1982 film “Personal Best Score.” (The two have known each other for three years.) The film, set in the heights of sports competition, centers on two female pentathletes (played by Mariel Hemingway and Patrice Donnelly) who are in a sexual relationship.

Mr. Towne then persuaded Mr. Moore, who had no acting experience, to play the lover of Mrs. Hemingway’s character after the women broke up.

“But I’ve never been… I’m shy, I’m embarrassed,” Mr Moore, who write down this experience In Sports Illustrated, the memories told Mr. Towne. “I became a writer so I didn’t have to talk.”

“You’re an athlete,” Mr. Towne said. “And the characters are easily embarrassing.”

The New York Times’ Vincent Camby wrote in a review that Mr Moore was “the biggest surprise” – “easy, charming, understated and confident”.

After leaving Sports Illustrated in 1995, Mr. Moore teamed up with Mr. Towne for “no limit” (1998), on the arrogant Oregon runner Steve Prefontaine, who held seven U.S. distance records when he died in a car accident in 1975. He and Mr Moore have always been close friends.

In addition to his brother, Mr Moore is survived by his wife, Connie Johnston Moore. His first marriage to Roberta Conlan ended in divorce.

Starting in the mid-1990s, Mr. Moore helped lead a human rights campaign to publicize the plight of former Army captain Mr. Wald who is accused of killing a boy during the reign of terror Ethiopia after the overthrow of Emperor Haile Selassie in 1974.

Mr. Wald acquitted himself in a case that was finalized in 2002, when a judge found him on a lesser charge, sentenced him to six years in prison, and then released him because he had already served nine years.

Mr Moore recalled in a runner’s world He said in an article published in 2018 that he spoke to Mr Wald on the phone shortly after his release.

“How is your health?” Mr. Moore asked.

“Hey,” said Mr. Wald, who died A few months later, “Give me a few months to recover and I’ll race anywhere you want, any distance!”