Way back in the fall of 1977, my wife and I were blessed to take a trip with a large group of business people. One of the training leaders for the group and I became friends. I was especially interested in his stories since he had recently done an unusual but strange thing: He had just run a MARATHON. For a long week, I got a pretty good dose of excitement just hearing about him doing something so bold, and unusual, something virtually unheard of in the Deep South in the '70s. So....despite no previous running experience for me, I decided I would check it out.
Early the morning following our return, Nov. 2, 1977, despite jet lag, I dusted off my tennis shoes....nice white Converse, stepped in cotton warm ups and a bulky sweat shirt and drove to the local high school, all of 4 blocks distant. There was a rough, dirt "track" surrounding the football field and I hitched up my sweats and set out to RUN....and I did....for an entire half mile!
When I returned home that morning, I remember the strange looks I got from my family... "What's the matter with Daddy"? "Moma, what happened to Daddy on the trip....?"
Later that morning, at the office, I took out a fresh yellow pad and on the first line, carefully wrote down:
"Nov. 2, 1977 CHS Track 0.5 miles"
Today, Wednesday, March 18, 2015, I returned to that same old football field and the same overgrown dirt oval and ran a couple laps, this with one of my best friends (and son-in-law), Stuart. There were middle school kids there today....children whose parents weren't born when I first ran it. Today's half mile, together with that first half mile, and the miles through those nearly 40 years, totaled up to exactly 50,000 miles, since that cool November morning back in '77.
Let me quickly say that...in the world of endurance athletes, 50,000 miles won't even get a raised eyebrow. And to me personally, running comes well down the list in importance relative to friends, family, faith and my job, but, after acknowledging all that, within my own little world, it represents a pretty significant milestone.
It's been an amazing journey, including 60 marathons all over the world, 13 Boston marathons, a single 70 mile run, and a 400 mile jaunt from the Tennessee State Line down to the Gulf of Mexico. However, the best part of this journey has been the hundreds/thousands of friends gained in the process. What a journey!
My friend, Chip, has been hounding me about where I've run, so here goes:
Marathons in these Countries:
Additional countries I can think of, where I have run:
So, tomorrow, when I lace up the running shoes, I'll set out again....not to run 50,000 more miles....but to thank God for every one of these 50,000 as well as for the additional miles I'm allowed to run in the future. And, speaking of that....never have I run to live longer....my running is all about living better.
Kenneth Williams, @MarathonKoach.
To find all my longer “Tips from @MarathonKoach,” click HERE.
And if you’re interested in stories about running the world’s greatest marathon, check out BOSTONLOG.com!