In many ways, Rick Reilly’s Runyon brought the award full circle.
Not since Jimmy Breslin accepted the first Runyon had there been a winner whose knowledge and appreciation for Runyon ran as deep as Reilly’s.
Reilly, a Colorado native who broke into sportswriting with the Boulder Daily Camera, was also the first local journalist to win the Runyon.
Despite all his accomplishments as a columnist for Sports Illustrated and later for ESPN, Reilly had to overcome a prejudice that comes with being “the local guy.” It was as if his local familiarity obscured the fact that he is just such a good writer.
That all went by the wayside when Reilly gave a funny and memorable speech on an ice-bound snowy night about the life of the sportswriter and the power of a well-written column.