I first read about Paul Reese in Runner’s World Magazine in 1999. At the time, he was 81 years old, and was not about to let age or any physical problems get in the way of his active lifestyle as a long distance runner. He suffered from asthma and a bad back, but that was better than the prostate cancer and radiation treatments he had endured 11 year earlier. Three years after the treatments, at the age of 73, he decided to make a statement about aging and exercise by running 3102 miles across the United States in 124 consecutive days. In addition, from 1992 through 1997, Reese made runs across the individual U.S. states until he had logged all 50. His wife accompanied him in a motor home. “We got a little excited – and a little scared – everyday,” admitted Reese, who chronicled his runs with a series of books including Ten Million Steps and Go East Old Man. “We were always wondering what was around the next corner or over the next mountain.”
Reese offered four guiding principles that he learned from his adventures: (1) maintain your sense of humour, you’ll need it; (2) find your dream and live it; (3) live life intensely; and (4) always have an agenda. Reese passed away in 2004, at the age of 86.