Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Mike Fanelli, Revered and Famend Cultural Storyteller of Monitor & Discipline Athletics, Passes, by Peter J. Thompson

That is the official obituary for Mike Fanelli, written by Peter J. Thompson, which was authorised by his spouse, Renay Weissberger Fanelli.  This would be the first of a number of items we are going to do in honor of Mike Fanelli, an exquisite human presence within the sport that all of us love. Mike’s storytelling captured the imaginations of many and made the game alive. Mike Fanelli can be missed. 


Mike Fanelli, Revered and Renowned Cultural Storyteller of Monitor and subject Athletics, Passes, by Peter J. Thompson

The world of Monitor and Discipline Athletics is deeply saddened by the information that Michael ‘Mike’ Fanelli died on 25 November 2023 from glioblastoma mind most cancers on the age of 67. His spouse, Renay Weissberger Fanelli, shared that Michael handed peacefully at residence within the firm of family members.

Mike Fanelli was a real Renaissance man and wore many hats throughout a lifelong affair with Monitor and Discipline Athletics. He was an athlete, a coach, a mentor, an athletes’ agent, an elite athlete coordinator for nationwide and worldwide occasions, a sports activities advertising director, a coloration commentator, and an eloquent and achieved speaker. However above all, he’s remembered for being a historian, a ‘collector’ and a storyteller. As a collector, he operated in two distinct arenas. He gathered knowledge about his personal operating, and he collected important observe & subject artifacts relationship again to the beginning of observe and subject within the USA and internationally.

Mike Fanelli leads the pack, Crystal Springs, 1981

However Mike didn’t acquire only for the sake of amassing and ‘having’ one thing. He collected in order that there could be a file that instructed the story of the game he liked and that he might freely share, which he did with a boundless enthusiasm expressed in his common and compelling posts for his 1000’s of followers on Fb. Mike summed it up greatest when he stated, “I discuss with it as ‘cultural storytelling.’ When a selected tradition needs to move down their historical past over time, and it’s not one thing that may be transcribed in any other case, that is our alternative to do this.”

Michael Joseph Fanelli was born on 1 Might, 1956 in Philadelphia. On the age of 12, he was “glued to the tv” as he watched the USA observe & subject athletes compete on the 1968 Mexico Metropolis Olympic Video games. He fell in love with the game and began operating and amassing autographs and memorabilia in junior highschool. From the very outset, he stored a methodical and meticulous log of his operating coaching and aggressive performances, which is how he at all times knew and will proof his lifetime mileage.

In 1970, he made it onto the Bishop McDevitt Excessive Faculty’s cross-country crew as a freshman and launched into a operating profession that included over 800 races ranging over all distances from 400m to 100 miles and spanning 5 a long time. His aggressive achievements are too quite a few to record however embrace national-class performances of 4:16 for the mile, 2:25 for the marathon, and finishing a 100-mile race in 16 hours and 40 minutes. Fanelli gained the San Francisco Pacific Rim Marathon on two events, in 1988 and 1989. And at age 50, he might nonetheless run a mile in 4:56.

115,000 Lifetime Miles

Mike Fanelli’s consistency and his dedication to wholesome coaching and racing ensured that his lifetime mileage was really prodigious. Because the years handed, so he accrued milestones. The primary actually important considered one of these got here when he approached 100,000-lifetime miles. He predicted when he would possibly obtain this, and in 2012, Fanelli returned to Philly, to the place he grew up, and on November 18th, ran the Philadelphia Marathon. This was his 40th marathon, and in the course of the race, he joined the ‘100,000-Mile Membership’, a small and really choose group of runners who can proof that they’ve run at the least 100,000 miles of their lives. 

Fascinated by numbers and motivated by objectives, Mike achieved his subsequent goal of 114,411 miles one yr in the past on November 5th, 2022. The palindromic nature of 114,411 miles appealed to his sense of significance. His operating continued and Renay Weissberger Fanelli recollects Michael’s response to the analysis and subsequent remedy of glioblastoma, “By means of all of it, he continued to do the issues he liked, together with operating, after all. In October 2023, he achieved his purpose of reaching 115,000-lifetime miles run, the equal of circumnavigating the world greater than 4 occasions.” 

Mike Fanelli, picture by Paul Merca

Mike Fanelli was one of many early pioneers in athletics, with integral roles within the transition of observe and subject and operating from an entirely Corinthian, novice sport to 1 having a acknowledged and accepted skilled elite. Beginning within the late Nineteen Seventies, into the 80s 90s, and to as we speak, athletics is constant to evolve to fulfill the wants for each knowledgeable and novice aspect. And shifting to the West Coast in 1976, Mike was a part of that journey, each facilitating change and recording the cultural evolution.

He was related to the Bay Space’s most well-known race, the enduring Bay to Breakers, from 1985 to 2005 as a coloration commentator, and through this time, he was additionally Working Promotions Director at Reebok Worldwide Ltd. (1984-1987). Mike was an skilled and common coach and mentor, and within the decade from 1990 to 2000 was the pinnacle coach of the Impala Racing Crew, a Bay Space elite girls’s crew. Teaching post-collegiately, he skillfully guided 14 athletes to Olympic Monitor & Discipline and Marathon Trials qualification. He served because the USATF Nationwide Cross-Nation chairman from 1992 to 1994 and coached the USA Nationwide Crew at worldwide distance occasions in Japan (1992 and 1996), South Korea (2000) and as USA Nationwide Crew Chief for the IAAF World Cross Nation Championships in Spain, 1993. 

The Monitor and Discipline Storage

For 1000’s of Fb followers, Mike Fanelli was the famend keeper of the legendary however self-deprecatingly titled ‘Monitor and Discipline Storage’, the house for his assortment of 5,000-plus artifacts, magazines, and packages relationship again to the 1860s. Every day Mike would pull out and share some nugget from his assortment and eloquently recount its story and the context and significance of that story.

In a 2022 Runners’ World article titled, ‘The World’s Most Spectacular Monitor and Discipline Assortment May Be in This Man’s Storage’, Theo Kahler summed up Mike Fanelli’s affect on the game when he acknowledged, “For over 50 years, Mike Fanelli has stored the game’s historical past alive.” The ‘Storage’ comprises this system from the U.S.’s first indoor observe meet, held at a New York Metropolis skating rink in 1868. It additionally comprises each difficulty of the game’s foundational magazines, Monitor and Discipline Information (based in 1948) and Distance Working Information (1966), which later grew to become Runner’s World.

For these of you studying this and questioning, “What is going to grow to be of the contents of the ‘Monitor and Discipline Storage’?” Be assured that they’re secure. Earlier this yr, Mike entrusted his assortment to a buddy and fellow historian and collector, Jack Pfeifer. Jack is a long-time Monitor and Discipline Information correspondent and the present President of the Monitor and Discipline Writers of America, and, as deliberate, he transported the artifacts from the storage to secure storage in Oregon. Mike and Jack determined to hunt a everlasting location for the amalgamated assortment of observe memorabilia, naming the joint assortment the ‘Pfeifer-Fanelli Monitor and Discipline and Cross-Nation Library’. Search for an additional announcement at a future date.

Michael and Renay on the Purple Carpet as Patrons of the Alexander Valley Movie Competition, 2015.

What is probably most outstanding is that Mike Fanelli achieved all of his numerous and time-consuming avocational actions in and for Monitor and Discipline Athletics whereas sustaining a full-time and demanding skilled place. Since 2006, Michael Fanelli was a luxurious property specialist with Healdsburg Sotheby’s Worldwide Realty, specializing within the gross sales and advertising of nice wine nation residential properties all through Sonoma County and past. With a complete of greater than 25 years of actual property expertise, and a half-billion {dollars} in gross sales, he gained numerous nationwide business awards and was perennially ranked inside the high one p.c of all actual property professionals nationwide. Acknowledged as an knowledgeable within the subject, it was pure that Michael would grow to be a frequent lecturer on enterprise success methods and a visitor commentator on KGO radio, providing insights on the Higher San Francisco and Bay Space actual property matters and points.

Michael Fanelli possessed so many optimistic traits and qualities, together with a devoted loyalty. It was typical that this loyalty could be expressed in his relationships with household and mates and a seamless connection to and help of his alma mater, San Francisco State College. At SFSU, he ran on the varsity team1981-1983 and graduated in Enterprise Advertising in 1983. In 2011, Michael was inducted into the SFSU Corridor of Fame. He nonetheless holds the SFSU faculty file for 10,000m, set in 1981, has an athletics scholarship endowed in his identify, and in 2019 the varsity’s signature, 3-day distance carnival was re-named in his honor, changing into the ‘Mike Fanelli Monitor Basic’.

The worldwide household of Athletics passes on its sincerest condolences to Michael Fanelli’s household and mates. Michael is survived by his spouse, Renay Weissberger Fanelli, and pup, River. A service honoring Michael can be held in January 2024. Renay has steered that, in lieu of flowers, think about making a contribution to the ‘Mike Fanelli Scholarship Fund’ at his alma mater, San Francisco State College. Renay arrange this scholarship years in the past to honor Michael on his fiftieth birthday. Every year, the scholarship goes to a person who stands out as a pacesetter and an inspiration to others quite than merely being the quickest runner on the crew.

Right here’s a hyperlink to donate: Mike Fanelli Scholarship Fund

Relaxation In Peace, Michael Fanelli. You might have departed the earth as we all know it, however your presence and contribution shall by no means be forgotten.

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