"The greatest legacy Doc leaves today is the 4-mile race that is now named in his honor. The Grand Slam 4 Miler Run/Walk, now the Dr. Ed Morgan Grand Slam 4 Miler Run/Walk, isheld every summer in Louisville. Doc and I started this race back in 2003. His dream was to see the race grow to be one of the biggest in Kentucky. He used to obsess about how many participants we’d get eachyear. 'Graham, when are we going to get to 500 runners?' Perhaps the proudest moment of our friendship came when we named the race in his honor in 2008. Each year, Doc would wheel down to the finish line in his wheelchair and applaud all of the runners like a proud father. True to Doc's communal spirit, proceeds from the race have sent thousands of dollars to local charities including the Heuser Hearing Institute and Big Brothers/Big Sisters since its inception.
"This year, Doc won't be at the finish line. He passed away on February 7, 2011 at the age of 92. He leaves behind a lasting legacy as a family man, a doctor, a horseman, and last but not least a runner. At his funeral, friends and family gathered to tell numerous stories about Doctor Morgan. Not surprisingly, most concerned running. His son Mark reminisced “about running for hours with Dad while he had an obvious injury and was limping and trying to get him to wait until another day. His response was, 'Dammit, if I waited until I felt good to run, I'd never go. Let’s go!'
"Doc's was the only funeral that I have never been sad for the departed," says Honaker. "He got so many miles out of life, literally. Our friendship was ultimately a testament to the power that running has – a sport that reaches to all generations. It was only acceptable that Dr. Edgar Byron Morgan Sr. be buried with his running shoes on."
One of Doc's children, Tassie, was forever impacted by her father's will to accomplish his goals. "Dad never did anything halfway. He had the best work ethic, most determination, & strongest will I have ever seen! I can't remember how many times he broke a bone or was injured while running, but he never made a big deal about it or let it stop him. In fact, I was very relieved when he started wearing a helmet and knee & elbow pads, because then when he got hit by cars he would kind of bounce off! I used to love when my friends would mention seeing him out running. He was always easy to recognize in his helmet.
"To have started running at 65, run his first marathon at 67, and not quit until he literally couldn't walk anymore, [he] left his family with a great legacy. Dad also left a long line of runners in our family. [There are] three generations of which will be participating in the Grand Slam."
This year, Honaker is hoping to raise the most money he's ever raised for Big Brothers Big Sisters and the Heuser Hearing Institute. If you're interested in supporting this cause and running in the race, visit rivercityraces.com.
Photo courtesy of: Graham Honaker