I knew him when?

OK, so I didn't so much know him as I did watch him, but still. I was a freshman in high school, brand new to the cross country team, of which I'd eventually become captain. He was, presumably, a senior at his own high school, which happened to be in our Big 8 conference.

Needless to say, we competed against him and his school often.

He was good. Super good. Fast. We watched him in awe, usually, and the guys on our men's team made it a goal to keep pace with him. He was tall, lanky, wild-haired.

"Oh! There he is!... and there he goes!"

That's generally how it went at each cross country meet. He was legendary.

I knew he'd go places. How could he not? And sure enough, I opened up the latest issue of Runner's World tonight, and there he was. The focus of one of the longest stories I've ever read in that magazine.

Gabe Jennings.

And, as expected, he's certainly gone places. Lots of places, like the OIympics. Whoa.

I wish I could say, "Oh, yeah. You know, we were pals. Hung out after school." But, no. Not true at all. Unless you count competing in the same cross country meet - after school - hanging out.