The first time I met legendary New Jersey track journalist and historian Ed Grant was at indoor states at Jadwin Gym in the mid-1980s when I first became aware of his New Jersey Track annuals and newsletters.
I bought whatever his most recent annual was that day and was up till 3 a.m. at my apartment in Delanco that night studying every word, every list, every record.
Safe to say that very few people have influenced my work as a journalist as much as Eddie, who maintained a statistical and anecdotal history of New Jersey track that could have filled 20 encyclopedia volumes. I was once putting together an all-time Easterns performance list and asked him if he had any results from before 1970. To my shock, the next time he saw me, he handed me a list of winners going back to 1934.
So much New Jersey track history would have been lost forever if not for Ed’s annuals and newsletters. He dedicated his life to New Jersey track and field and the sport is so much richer for it.
Ed covered 74 consecutive Penn Relays, which is insane when you think about it. It was always fun to see young sports writers pepper him with questions at Penn. It usually went something like this:
“Hey Eddie, is that the first time Hopatcong has won a 4×4 class relay?”
“No, they won it in 1963! They ran 3:31.6 and their anchor, Arnie McNally, moved them up from 6th to 1st in the last 220! Arnie had never run quarter before! He was a javelin thrower, but one of their quarter-milers missed the bus and they threw him in there and he ran 51.9! He went on to run 50.9 at the Sussex County championships and then had a great career at Bimidji State and became an architect in Sweden. He designed the new capital building in Västerås. Have you been to Västerås? Let me tell you about Västerås …”
Etc. You’d never get any work done but you’d always learn something.
I have so many stories about Ed I wouldn’t know where to start.
My favorite was Penn Relays weekend one year probably in the early 1990s. I went back to the Burlington County Times office in Willingboro to write after the meet ended, and I looked in the library and Ed was sitting there writing one of his Star-Ledger stories on a typewriter. I asked what he was doing there and he said he didn’t have time to go back to the Ledger office so he was writing in our office. But he hadn’t asked anyone or set it up. He just showed up, went inside when someone opened the door and found a place to start typing.
My pal Jim Lambert wrote a wonderful look back at Ed’s remarkable life and career, which you can find here: https://nj.milesplit.com/articles/293899/legendary-ed-grant-is-a-new-jersey-track-and-field-treasure
We lost Ed this morning. He was 94. If you’re reading this, then you’re a huge fan of New Jersey track or a former or current runner, coach, official, parent or journalist. You’re connected to this sport we all love in some way, and that means Ed has touched your life in a positive way.
He was one of a kind. There’ll never be anybody else like him.