Thursday, January 2, 2014

Day 277: Crazy Couple Completes 366 Days of Running

When I was in high school, I ran indoor track. I ran less than 300 yards per meet—the 40 yard dash and the relay. I wasn't a track star by any means, but I've always joked that if there had been a 10 yard dash, I would've been champion of the world—I was that fast out of the blocks. The speed usually petered out quickly which is saying a lot for a race that lasts five to six seconds.

The one thing I despised about running track was, well, the actual running. The endless laps on the suspended track in my high school's gym. The occasional jaunts around town. The forced participation in the Jingle Bell run. I did everything in my power to not have to run more than a couple minutes at a time and that included maybe a little window shopping around town while waiting for the proper amount of time to lapse before heading back to practice.

It probably sounds like I hated running track when in fact, I love it. There was just something about Saturday winter mornings at the Portland Expo. The sound of the shot put bouncing across the floor... or the high jump bar clanking to the ground. The sound of the starters' pistol and the thump, thump, thumping of runners as they hit the ancient wooden banks on either end of the track. The sound of the cheers from all corners—each containing a team and their fans. We always had the same corner...

Basically, all I knew was sprinting. Those high-stepping, quick-footed races that you could miss just by blinking. I found distance races boring. The gentle synchronized slapping of the sneakers as they continued to pass by. As I got older, I met more and more people (weird people) who were into running long distances just for fun. People who trained for and ran marathons as a hobby. People who traveled around the country to run marathons. It was bizarre to me, but also rather impressive. Definitely not something on my bucket list.

Recently, I came across a story of a couple in their 60's who decided to run a marathon a day for a whole year. Excuse me? I've been around people who run marathons and there seems to be lots of training and specific length runs for each day leading up to the event..and these two were running at least 26.2 miles every single day? That's just crazy talk. They could give Forrest Gump a run for his money!

Janette and Alan finished their 365th consecutive marathon on New Year's Eve with their children, grandchildren and a whole slew of others cheering them on. Then, on New Year's Day, as if for good measure, they ran another one—366 consecutive marathons is a world record. I'm surprised that someone has been crazy enough to run all those miles before them. Since setting out on their journey a year ago, they've run 9,776.75 miles all over Australia.

I wonder if their goal for this year is to spend the time they had been dedicating to running to maybe sitting around watching television and getting caught up on some shows? I would be on board for that challenge. Sign me up.

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