He Just Kept Running

Here’s to the soft-dying day, and to gathering what buddies ye may, for Old Time’s a-flying

    Today, you’d think, as in Keats’s ode, the warm days would never cease, and yet the autumnal sighing — a melancholy beauty — has begun.

    Here’s to the soft-dying day, and to gathering what buddies ye may, for Old Time’s a-flying.

    Enough: “Don’t stop,” Andy Neid­nig, the lifelong runner who was celebrated in a Sag Harbor race Saturday, told me on the occasion of his 90th birthday. “Nature takes care of that. Meanwhile, don’t think about it.”

    Okay, Andy, I won’t, I won’t.

    I do hope a place is found for his medals and trophies and awards that were left behind when his Glover Street house was sold, as is only fitting for the man whom John Conner — another competitor with notable credentials — has called “the best runner ever to come out of the East End.”

    Andy could be heard sighing at times too. “He was such a sweetheart,” Howard Lebwith recalls, “but he was also such a kvetch — always complaining about some nagging injury at the starting line. Then he’d go out and leave you in the dust! When he broke the record at the New York marathon he just kept running — he didn’t know how to get home on the subway.”

    He just kept running. . . .

    That’s as good advice as any, it strikes me. Good for the body, for we are meant to move, good for the mind, for it needs some rest, and good for the spirit, for it needs to take wing.