Runners of Magnitude

Paul Reese ran across the United States at the age of 73
Rick and Dick Hoyt have been racing together for over 20 years

Paul Reese.  One runner of magnitude I have encountered is Paul Reese.  Reese, a long time runner, decided to make a statement about aging after enduring prostate cancer treatment at the age of 70.  Three years later, at the age of 73, he ran 3192 miles across the United States in 124 consecutive days.  From 1992 through 1997, Reese made runs across the individual US States until he had logged all 50.  He chronicled his running adventures in the books Ten Million Steps and Go East, Old Man.  In an article from Runner’s World Magazine I clipped in 1999, he offered four guiding principles 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’s death in 2004 was a huge blow to the running and ultrarunning communities.

Dick and Rick Hoyt.  Dick and Rick Hoyt are a father-son team who compete almost continuously in marathon races.  When they are not in a marathon, they are in Ironman triathlons – that daunting, almost superhuman feat of 2.4 miles of swimming, 112 miles of biking, and 26.2 miles of running.  Together, they have climbed mountains, and once trekked 3735 miles across the United States.  This is all the more amazing when you consider that Rick cannot walk or talk. Rick suffered cerebral palsy at birth in 1962 when the umbilical cord wrapped around his neck and he was deprived of oxygen.  When he was eight months old, doctors encouraged his parents to institutionalize him as they believed he would be a vegetable his entire life.  After the birth of two more children, Rick parents’ began to believe that he was just as intelligent as his siblings, and taught him the alphabet.  In 1972, they raised money to buy him a computer that allowed him to communicate, which is how they learned about his passion for sports.  Rick, in fact, was the catalyst for their amazing athletic achievements as it was he who encouraged his father to start running, and to learn how to swim.  Team Hoyt has now been racing for over 20 years, and has inspired countless individuals to live out their dreams of athletic achievement.

Who have you been inspired by?