SHORE AC AND FRIENDS SAY THEIR SAD GOODBYES. AU REVOIR, DEAR FRIEND, TEAMMATE AND WALKING PARTNER, COL. ALAN SHERMAN
By ELLIOTT DENMAN
It took Superstorm Sandy to keep Alan Sherman from doing the NYC Marathon in 2012.
Of course, he was in very good company. At least 50,000 others from around the world were kept on the sidelines, too, told to stay away when their obvious preference that November Sunday morning was to run 26.2 miles from the Staten Island end of the Verrazano Narrows Bridge to Tavern on the Green in Central Park, Manhattan, NYC.
But the 50,000 – Alan Sherman’s fellow entrants - were in very good company, too.
Alan Sherman was never a guy to back away from a serious challenge. He’d answered the call of the NYC Marathon 32 times previously and finished it respectably along with all his fellow racers from around the planet – all 50 states, everywhere else from England to Ethiopia to East India, Kenya to Croatia to Kazakhstan.
My good friend and training partner Alan beat back a lot of other serious challenges in his 85 wonderful years striding over this planet. I know about all this because we walked lot of training miles together all those years, getting ready not only for marathons but races of all descriptions, at assorted distances, at assorted places but most often the Monday evening summer 5Ks at Lake Takanassee in Long Branch, the gathering place of kindred souls for well over half a century, organized by our beloved home team, the Shore Athletic Club.
Our favored training miles came on the terrific boards of the Long Branch boardwalk and its great vistas – “who needed the French Riviera, who needed Waikiki Beach? We told each other. There was always a friend to be encountered, going North to South, And if not, South to North. Often joined by fellow “Boardwalk Amigo” Doug Friedman and sometimes by Norm Krueger, those outings were always filled with lively chatter about what’s going on around town. For a newspaper guy like me, it was like a gold mine of new info. But when marathon time of year rolled around, we had to up the distances we covered, and so we’d stroll out to Sandy Hook, or lope around Little Silver, or do The Tour De Rumson.
So much fun, so many memories.
With all that time on our feet, it was natural that we tell the other guy our life’s story.
I learned that Alan had experienced a tough boyhood, losing his father at an early age. But he was bright enough to overcome all of life’s subsequent challenges, moving on from Long Branch High School to Indiana University (where he’d been a contemporary of fellow New Jersey guy Milt Campbell, the Olympic decathlon champion and as such the world’s greatest athlete), then Rutgers University, then NYU, then Princeton, then Army War College, and then much more. He met Judy, the Freehold girl who’d become the love of his life, and they’d bring three wonderful children into the world.
He was a key man at CBS, before moving on to the US Army Command at Fort Monmouth as well as the Army’s reserve officer ranks, rising to full colonel. This once-upon-a-time buck private at Fort Benning never forgot to salute Col. Sherman, who might easily have become General Sherman, too. Amateur radio was his big thing, too, and a quick glance at his license plate number – W2NIR – told you where you’d find him.
The 50th Anniversary NYC Marathon was run on Nov. 7th, 2021. Neither Alan nor I was up to the five-borough challenge this time. But we never admitted to it being “never again,” either. “Maybe next year,” we smilingly told ourselves, as we took a brisk-as-we-could walk around a West Long Branch block several weeks ago. Our intentions were the very best, but we were overtaken by a greater power. And his name was not Billy Rodgers or Frank Shorter
Pictured Above: Col. Alan Sherman took great pride in his 32 NYC Marathon completions, and many other full and half-marathon finishes around the nation.