Sunday, September 26, 2010

Tom: thank you again, thank you always!

Tom, since I got to know you through our Stevens Creek Striders running club, five years ago, your kindness, support to others and passion for all the forms of running has never stopped to amaze me. And, certainly as the weekend showed, many others as well. You are not physically with us anymore but the way you left us is no less amazing. Since I heard about your sickness in 2008, every time I saw you was a highlight in my life or my run and I felt lucky to see you one more time, still always afraid it was going to be the last one. I was so thrilled to see you again at the start of Ohlone in May, volunteering with Stan Jensen. And even more to see you at Last Chance in June on my way to Auburn. It was so special and comforting to receive from you a piece of your grilled cheese sandwiches before plunging again the in the inferno of the canyons.
Saturday morning memorial was both moving and inspiring, between the eulogies of some of your dearest friends and colleagues and the powerful homily of your sister. No doubt you were among us with your usual care for all of us. And not just us present, but the broad community you touched and inspire through your rich life. I learned a lot about you and in particular your special relationship with Eric. I know you will be crewing for and pacing him for all his upcoming races, from above. He has the same fire than yours in his eyes and will soon follow your steps on the Western States trail! Eric is right, he is lucky to have had you as his father even if the relationship took some time to blossom.
The other highlight of your life memorial was Lew (Cramer)'s performance. Only a close friend and so engaged San Jose Fitter could mix so many memories and so much intimacy, emotion, drama and fun into a single eulogy! Lew came to the podium wearing a suit and tie and we were all wondering how his speech will turn out as he started pulling off both his tie and shirt... He was wearing underneath the finisher t-shirt of his first marathon which you helped him complete when Lew thought he was done by mile 23. Then he peeled off one more layer to uncover a Western States volunteer t-shirt to recount your ten finishes at Western States, for the coveted 1,000-mile buckle! Then another layer to uncover the bright yellow Team Tom t-shirt which we were wearing when we helped you finish your 2008 staged San Jose marathon.
Finally, and it was already a lot of layers for an afternoon during which the temperature went over 95F, another custom-made "Heaven Fit 09.09.10" t-shirt, a very special memorial edition. Tom, thank you for working with Lew on preparing this celebration of both your lives, the one on Earth and the one in Heaven!
Following the memorial, I asked Peggy what I could bring to the picnic this Sunday and she replied: "oh no, Tom has taken care of everything!" Tom, you again? So you really had planned everything, like you were for each of your ultras! Your friends did an amazing job to keep the spirit up with this "Tom's Fun Run" at a wonderful place in Campbell (Edith Morley Park, you know ;-) which looked like a piece of Heaven on Earth, all filled with joy and camaraderie, with you in our minds. The walk loop was short, yet included one aid station. Each participant got a special and official bib number and even a yellow water bottle. Then, like 100-yard markers, or the stations of the cross, we were reminded of you with some of your most famous thoughtful, humorous and wise quotes, the Tom-isms. (Tom, if you have Internet access, click on the picture below to enlarge it, and have fun with these pieces of wisdom you left us with!)
Tom, thank you again for your contagious love for running and pushing the limits, your passion for technology, cars, speed, flying, your smile, your fight against cancer, your life. They are all inspiration to us and we are lucky to have you watching over all of us. To Keep the Rubber Side Down...

PS: not that you need more pictures now, but for other readers who could not join us for this special weekend, check my Picasa photo album (memorial and picnic).

PPS: I heard that the ultra party is not over with more events to come such as your ashes being dispersed at your memorial bench on the Los Gatos Creek Trail, then at Last Chance next June. With that we should have plenty of volunteers to man our aid station in 2011!


Anonymous said...

Très émouvant, ce bel hommage

Anonymous said...


Very poignant and touching comments on the memorial. Tom would probably respond with a humble "Thank you, my friend."
I am running the Fall50 this weekend in Door County and I know he will be with me.