I met Suzy Favor back in the early 1990s when she was finishing her college running career at the University of Wisconsin.
I was writing a book called From Red Ink to Roses: The Turbulent Transformation of a Big Ten Program, about UW’s nearly bankrupt athletic department and the way it got itself into profitability and won the Rose Bowl in the process.
Favor and I had an appointment to meet at the baseball diamond on a lovely spring afternoon, and as I waited, I saw a distant figure grow from a speck to a human being. And there she was before me. Rather than drive or ride a bike or hitch a ride, Favor had simply run the mile or so across campus because it was so easy.
She came so we could chat, but also because her boyfriend, Mark Hamilton, was a UW baseball player, and his sport was soon to be cut in the athletic department’s vicious road to profitability.
‘‘I’m glad I’m in a sport where all you need is a pair of shoes and someplace to run,’’ she said as one of the final baseball games unrolled before us.
Wow. What a couple of decades it has been for Favor. She married Hamilton two weeks later, graduated from Wisconsin, won numerous national championships in middle-distance events, ran in three Olympics and then, in the last year, at age 44, became a high-class hooker.