Township of Westfield, NJ

Somerset County Park System

The PRB Article, "A Living Legend", by NJRPA Member, Charles Hoffman

5 Aug 2019 12:06 PM | Joseph Cahill (Administrator)

PRINCETON, NJ - Below is a taste of the brilliant article written by, NJRPA member and the Director of Parks and Recreation for Red Bank, Charles Hoffman. As posted on the Parks&RecBusiness.com website.

I shake my head as I look around at a converted space that serves as a shrine to all-things parks and recreation. The walls are covered with awards and articles. Journals and research periodicals fill the spaces in between, along with pictures from successful projects throughout the country. One might think I am sitting in a university library or a college recreation room; however, I am in the research facility of a man endlessly dedicated to our industry—a true legend who has inspired thousands of individuals over the years.

Dr. Harold Nolan’s life reads like a Hollywood movie for parks and rec professionals. His accomplishments are endless, and his story is one that newbies to the industry and even seasoned veterans can benefit from hearing. He lives and breathes parks and recreation, revealing his contagious personality and passion for the industry.

Early Life
It all began in Middletown, N.J. The son of a World War II veteran turned local builder, Nolan spent his early life filled with traditional recreational endeavors that most children enjoy, including baseball and basketball. He also excelled in diving and surfing (and still can be seen riding waves today). But Nolan showed the most promise in running, and this passion would serve him well throughout his life.

As a high school runner in Monmouth County, N.J., he quickly formed a relationship with Dr. George Sheehan, a rival’s father from a nearby town. Sheehan is known as one of the godfathers of the running boom. He wrote books and countless articles on all aspects of the sport and became an enormous advocate of all-things running in the area, even serving as the medical editor for Runner’s World magazine. Sheehan took a liking to young Nolan and would regularly cram his Volkswagen with Nolan, Sheehan’s sons, Timmy and George Jr., and as many other runners as he could uncomfortably squeeze in for meets throughout New Jersey and New York. Nolan describes the legendary track guru as “certainly brilliant and yet somewhat aloof. [He was] a hard man to truly know.”

Follow the link to enjoy more of the article: PRB Article - "A Living Legend"


New Jersey Recreation & Park Association |  1 Wheeler Way  Princeton, NJ 08540

Phone: 609-356-0480 | Fax: 609-356-0475 | Email: info@njrpa.org

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