Like me, I know a lot of Adventure Blog readers are regular runners. Not only is it a great way to stay in shape, it helps me to unwind and let go of some stress, while also being an excuse to get outside for an hour or so everyday. On average, I run six days a week, usually taking Sundays off for a rest. Probably the longest I’ve ever gone without a break is 35 days or so, as part of a fitness challenge. That’s not a bad streak for an amateur. It also isn’t anywhere close to the record set by Ron Hill, a former Olympic athlete from the U.K. who just saw his string of uninterrupted running days end this past weekend.
On Sunday, Hill took his first day off from running in 52 years, 39 days. The streak began back on Dec. 21, 1964 and continued through January 28, 2017. That’s 19,032 days for those keeping track at home. Hill said that he went out for his usual run on Saturday, but after just 400 meters his heart began to hurt, and that he final 800 meters of his 1 mile jog, the situation got worse. So, he decided to hang up his running to determine what went wrong, saying “There was no other option but to stop. I owed that to my wife, family and friends, plus myself.”
Over the course of his very impressive streak – which is a world record by the way – Hill ran at least one mile each and every day. For more than 52 years, no matter how he was feeling, what the weather was like, or what other events were going on in his life, Ron went out for a run. It must have felt incredibly strong for him to not do that on Sunday.
Streak runners are quite proud of their impressive string of days that they run at least one mile, and American Mark Washburne tries to keep tabs on the longer streaks that are underway in various parts of the globe. Now that Hill’s has come to an end, he says that the next longest streak belongs to Jon Sutherland, a 66 year old who lives in West Hills, California. His current streak sits at 17,417 days, which is about 47.5 years. He still has a long way to go to catch Hill, but at his age it could be done, provided he stays healthy and determined. Perhaps even more amazing, is that Washburne has averaged 11.2 miles per day over the course of those years.
I’ll be thinking of both of these men when I set out on my run later today. Both are definitely impressive. I know that after my 30+ day streaks that my body was fatigued and ready for a break. I can’t imagine going years without taking a rest day.