Monday, January 8, 2024
By: Josh Levinson, Founder & CEO Charm City Run
January 9, 2024 – It is with sadness that I report that Dave Cooley passed away on Friday January 5th. Dave was a legend, a friend and incomparable race director. He founded the Finished Product event management company and then merged it into Charm City Run and launched Charm City Run Event Management. When Kara and I thought about starting Charm City Run, everyone said that there was a “man to see” and that was Dave Cooley. We met him at Sam’s Bagels in Roland Park. He listened and nodded and listened and nodded and at the end of our meeting he said that he thought we could make a go of it. Nothing more. Measured and analytical as was his way.
As tragedy seems to lead to new beginnings, it did for us. On September 11th 2001, we all know what happened. I was determined to bring Baltimore together to provide an outlet for runners to heal, and to allow runners to lead the city in the healing process. I called city hall to tell them of our plans for the Run to Remember to be held on the one-year anniversary of the attacks. The mayor’s office referred me to then City Councilwoman Catherine Pugh. She asked me one question. Was I working with Dave Cooley. I replied that of course I was. Dave did not know he was working with me. As he often did, he questioned many of my ideas especially about a race that would start at 8:46am on a Wednesday morning downtown. Then he took over as he often did. It was an emotional day for all of those involved but we enjoyed working together quite a bit and discussions about joining forces quickly ensued.
With Dave’s help non-profits such as Race for the Cure, GBMC, Hopewell Cancer Support, the Arthritis Foundation and many others raised millions of dollars. He was a longtime member of the Baltimore Road Runners Club and the first race director of the Baltimore Marathon. He loved runners. He loved the community. He loved putting on events and Dave was a taskmaster on event day. He had a game face before sports coined the term. Runner success, runner safety and his customer service to non-profits were not to be compromised.
Our community has lost a running legend and the strength of the sport locally in many ways can be attributed directly to Dave Cooley. However, we have also lost a dear friend. He was tough, kind, compassionate and forever loyal. They just don’t make them like him anymore. He could care less what you did or what you accomplished. Your importance was determined by the quality of your character and the way you treated others. He was the kind of man that inspired you to be a better a person. Dave Cooley will be sorely missed.
Go for a run or walk. It makes everything better.