Back on Christmas Eve in 2011, I went for a run with Caroline. We had gotten to her brother’s house in Liverpool, New York, the day before to celebrate Christmas with their family. Caroline told me that she needed to run for an hour. The only way I knew to do that was to run six miles. We got up that cold (22F) Saturday morning and got ready to head out for a run . It was about a mile to Onondaga Lake so we ran for a couple of miles along the lake until we got to the marina. That put us at three miles so and the return back to the house would get us to six miles. We had to watch our steps a little bit since there was snow on the ground from the night before. It was such a serene setting for a run, especially for an Alabama boy who does not get to run in snow very often. It was also a great day for me because I do not get to run with my wife too many times.
I ran every day while visiting with Donny and Anica. When we got home, I kept going. Right at the end of the year, Runner’s World posted a challenge on Facebook to run every day in the month of January 2012. Several runners in The Village Runners decided to accept the challenge so I thought I would as well. When January started, I did not realize that I had already run eight consecutive days leading into the new year. Along with a few others, I was able to make it to the end of the month. That is when I realized I was actually at 39 consecutive days. Being a numbers guy, I thought that fifty days was a better stopping point and I could get there in less than two more weeks. So I ran another eleven days and got the streak to fifty days. That is when I wondered if I could make it to one-hundred days. I decided to try. Once I got to one-hundred, several of my running friends encouraged me to go the entire year. I did not think I would make it that long but decided to see if I could.
Not only did I make it the rest of 2012, I kept going until I had run every day in 2013 as well. I used to tell people that I did not know how to stop the streak without getting sick or hurt. It turns out that those reasons have not stopped the streak either. According to the United States Running Streak Association, “The official definition of a running streak, as adopted by the Streak Runners International, Inc., and United States Running Streak Association, Inc., is to run at least one continuous mile (1.61 kilometers) within each calendar day under one’s own body power (without the
utilization of any type of health or mechanical aid other than prosthetic devices).” That means it only takes a one-mile run each day to continue the streak. It has not happened often, but I have had to rely on the occasional one-miler to keep the streak alive. I have run through walking pneumonia a couple of times (not fun) as well as hobbling through runs with sprained ankles. Fortunately, those instances have been few and far between.
Somehow, I have found a way to run every day for much longer than I ever expected. In fact, this morning’s run with The Village Runners marked my 900th day of the streak. When people find that out, they automatically assume that I am some kind of super-runner. The reality is that I am just a regular runner that has a slightly obsessive personality. So I get up and run every day. It has become a challenge for me. How long can I keep it going? Can I continue to avoid serious injury or getting really sick? I certainly hope so. I do not have a goal to speak of. At this point, I would like to get to 1,000 days but I have no idea how far it will go. I know someone here in Birmingham that has a streak closing in on ten years. There are seven people on the running streak registry with streaks in excess of forty years. That blows my mind.
It has become somewhat of a challenge for me to keep this thing going. For now, it is still something that I do because I enjoy running. I enjoy spending time with my friends in my running group. I enjoy running races. I just hope I am still running when I am sixty, seventy, eighty years old and beyond.