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Longest Us Streaker To Hang It Up

 
 
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catch22
post Mar 22 2005, 02:59 PM
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Date: Tue, 15 Mar 2005 05:36:01 -0800
Subject: longest US streaker to hang it up

From the Baltimore Sun.

Finishing kick near the road's end
--------------------

Putting his foot down, Bob Ray plans to end a 38-year streak of daily
running.

By Michael Reeb
Sun Staff

March 14, 2005
Bob Ray isn't ready to hang up his running shoes, but next month, for
the first time in more than
38 years, he just won't be putting them on every day.

"You could keep on going, but the older you get, the greater the chance
that it's going to stop in
the middle of nowhere," Ray said about his streak of running every day
since April 4, 1967. "It's
like trying to cross the desert on a half tank of gas."

Ray, who lives in Perry Hall, plans to stop his daily running on April
7 - his 68th birthday - in
what is believed to be the second-longest running streak in the world
and what has been sanctioned
as the longest such streak in the United States.

His decision to stop fits neatly into an amazing array of numbers that
he has amassed: 13,860
consecutive days, 114 pairs of shoes, 49 states he has kept his streak
alive in, 18 marathons and
99,876 miles. Detailed record-keeping and careful planning will allow
him to end on another milestone
number.

"Instead of stopping it on the anniversary date of my streak," Ray
said, "I'm going to stop it on
my birthday. On April 7, I will be 68 years old, and on that day I'll
stop the streak at 100,000
streak miles."

To do that, he had to curtail his running from the 52-mile weekly total
he had been logging.

"If I would have continued the mileage I was at, I would have hit
100,000 streak miles back in
February," he said.

The streak began innocently enough when Ray - then a U.S. Postal
Service carrier in Hamilton, now
retired - began running occasionally with a trio of women during his
lunch break.

"They were probably in their mid-50s to early 60s, except the youngest
one who must have been
close to 50," he said. "I actually would be delivering mail and would
see them out there running. I
just happened to be running with them one day when one of them said she
had run two weeks without
missing a day. I thought to myself, 'Now, isn't that something.'"

Before long, his daily running had acquired legs of its own.

"I didn't have any intention of starting a streak," he said. "It didn't
start out that way. It
started out to see if I could run two weeks straight. After two weeks,
I did a month. After a month,
I did two, then four and six and by a year I was hooked.

"Once I hit a year, I wanted to see how long I could keep it going. I
didn't call it a streak back
then. A streak was doing it in the nude. That's what the college kids
did."

But the streak became a constant in his life, through good times and
bad, through a variety of
trying conditions. It wasn't that he hadn't run before - he had been a
miler at Kennard-Dale High
School in southeastern Pennsylvania and had run a 4-minute, 18-second
mile in the Navy. It was just
that running had now become a part of his every day, and like the
anchor leg of a relay race, it
summed up who he was as a runner.

"The roughest time was keeping it from my first wife. She didn't like
me doing it," said Ray, who
was divorced in 1985. "We lived in Waverly, and I worked in Hamilton. I
would run during my lunch
break. It's something I never talked to her about."

Like any athlete who regularly trains outdoors, he also has been
challenged by nature in all its
fury and has run through heat advisories, natural disasters and
blizzards.

"As you get older, the roughest thing you have to face is the elements,
and as you get older, they
start getting to you more - or at least to me they have," Ray said.
"Usually it's an electrical
storm or the ice, because, as you get older, once you go down, it's
harder to get back up. And then,
all of a sudden, you find yourself on the side of the road and someone
says, 'Stay down. Why don't
you stop running?' It's easier to tell a priest to stop praying."

He has had to make concessions to age and attrition, though. His last
marathon was the 1995
Northern Central Trail Marathon, which he dropped out of at the halfway
point.

"The guy I was running with was trying to qualify for Boston and was 2
1/2 minutes to the good [of
qualifying]. When I dropped out, he said, 'Hey, how can you do this?' I
said, 'Go on. I'm going
home to propose,'" Ray said about his future wife, Cindy, whom he
married in 1996.

He doesn't race anymore, having stopped that part of his running on
Oct. 18, 1997, when he won the
60-and-over age group of the IND 5K.

"I thought, 'Hey, this is a good time to stop racing. I'm just out
there jogging now,'" said Ray,
who maintains a four-mile daily minimum. ("It takes me two miles just
to get warmed up.") For
anyone who doubts the veracity of the streak, Ray simply says, "Meet me
at my doorstep at 7:30."

The streak is generally recognized as the second-longest in the world
to that of British Olympic
marathoner Ron Hill, who began his on Dec. 20, 1964, and is sanctioned
as the longest in this
country by the United States Running Streak Association.

Ray's wife, Cindy, said about the end of the streak: "I knew it was
going to happen; until
recently, I just didn't know when. I said to Bob, 'Make it an easy day
to remember.' It never really
concerned me at first, but then he would tell me, 'I had to jump out of
the way today. Somebody was
driving down the curb lane and they were really on the curb.'

"He's had some close calls with all the road rage out there, and it
really makes you nervous."

Ray plans to run six miles on weekdays and four miles on weekends
through the end of the month.

"Going into April, it'll just be a series of seven days and four miles
[a day]. That'll bring it
right out to 100,000 streak miles.

"I'll still go out and run when I feel like it. But there'll be days
when I just go out for a
walk."
--------------------
Longest U.S. running streaks

Runner, City, Age, Starting date

1. Bob Ray, Perry Hall, 67, April 4, 1967

2. Mark Covert, Lancaster, Calif., 54, July 23, 1968

3. Jon Sutherland, West Hills, Calif., 54, May 26, 1969

4. Jim Pearson, Mead, Wash., 60, Feb. 16, 1970

5. Kenneth Young, Petrolia, Calif., 63, July 6, 1970

30. John Roemer IV, Parkton, 44, Nov. 1, 1978

42. Layne Party, Towson, 45, Jan. 1, 1980

64. John Strumsky, Millersville, 64, May 23, 1983

71. Matt Mace, Arnold, 44, Sept. 29, 1985

77. Ray Lorden, Parkville, 50, Oct. 31, 1989

82. John Roemer III, Parkton, 66, Aug. 1, 1990

100. Margaret Sherrod, Millersville, 49, June 2, 2000

Source: United States Running Streak Association; as of Dec. 1, 2004

"The moment we want to believe something, we suddenly see all the arguments for it, and become blind to the arguments against it."
"Reading made Don Quixote a gentleman, but believing what he read made him mad. "
"You'll never have a quiet world till you knock the patriotism out of the human race. "
George Bernard Shaw
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Akhtar
post Apr 23 2005, 06:57 PM
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catch22
post Apr 23 2005, 09:19 PM
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NON-COMPREHENDO

"The moment we want to believe something, we suddenly see all the arguments for it, and become blind to the arguments against it."
"Reading made Don Quixote a gentleman, but believing what he read made him mad. "
"You'll never have a quiet world till you knock the patriotism out of the human race. "
George Bernard Shaw
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