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100,000 Miles in Minnesota by Steve DeBoer Times have changed. When I finished college in the mid 1970s, there were few people in their 40s and 50s doing road races. And Bill Andberg, in his 60s, was ancient. Now it seems the majority of road racers are in their 40s, 50s and 60s, and plan to run the rest of their lives. For those who have kept running, going around the equator once (24,900 miles) wasn’t too difficult. In fact, most of us were focused more on getting faster at that point in our running careers and did not even recognize, much less celebrate, that milestone. But, after we have run the equivalent of more than four times around the equator, we are no longer getting faster, but slower, no matter how much effort we make to prevent it. Now, just continuing to run on a regular basis is what we celebrate. I remember reading about the Australian distance runner, Bill Emmerton, in the late 1960s, about the time I began running. At that

point, he was about 50 years old and had run over 100,000 miles. Being fascinated by round numbers, I wondered if that was something I might be able to achieve. I just learned that Bill died on July 11, 2010, at the age 91, having run over 150,000 miles, and possibly even 200,000, in his lifetime. Ted Corbitt, 1952 Olympic marathoner from New York, also ran in the 200,000 mile range during his life. In the last few years, I have been contacting other runners to see how many have reached the 100,000 mile mark. Among those who run every day (see: www.runeveryday .com), there are 25 who have surpassed the 100,000 mile mark, with 81-year-old Herb Fred, of Texas, now over 240,000 miles. I also got in touch with Amby Burfoot at Runner’s World, who began a blog for those who have covered that much terrain on the run (see: His list has 30 additional 100,000 milers, includ-

ing Darryl Beardall, 74, of California, who has possibly run more than 280,000 miles. A special thanks to RunMinnesota magazine for allowing me to query the membership as to how many have surpassed 100,000 miles of running. This list is preliminary, and I would encourage people to contact me at if they know of someone else who has reached this milestone. Many have gone 70,000 and 80,000 miles, and Danny Ripka is now at about 90,000. These numbers are approximate as of the end of November, though the more detail-oriented in the group could provide a more specific number with 99.9 percent accuracy. Paul Case is the newest member of the club. His sister, Sherry, is the only female I have found who has reached 100,000. Her lowest mileage year was 50. Steve Morrow’s highest mileage year was 6,570. Bob has not given me his actual mileage yet, but 170,000 miles is a conservative estimate. Most of the runners provided additional information about their careers.

How I Got Started Bruce: I started running in the summer of 1959 to get ready for cross country. I only went out for cross country after my gym coach, Roy Griak, suggested it after I almost beat one of the cross country runners in a gym class 440. Griak was the assistant basketball coach, so I thought that might give me an “in” to make the basketball team. I got cut right away, so I’ve been a full time runner ever since! Paul N: I started as a sophomore in high school because my friends were going out.


Minnesotan’s with 100k Lifetime Miles Name



Total Miles

Miles in MN

Lowest year

Highest year

Bob Wagner Bruce Mortenson Paul Noreen Steve DeBoer Steve Morrow Jerry Heaps Rick Kleyman Sherry Case Kerry Louks Steve Gathje Paul Case

63 67 75 56 46 55 71 51 61 55 52

Bemidji Minnetonka Blaine Rochester Eagle Lake Apple Valley Plymouth Richfield Duluth Minneapolis Richfield

170,000+ 160,000 140,000 134,000 127,000 122,000 106,000 102,500 102,000 101,500 100,000***

127,000 139,000 106,000 102,000 110,000 101,000 97,000 100,000 80,000 99,500

2000 500 330(1st) 1750 2000** 400* 50(1st) 500** 1619 250(1st)

4500+ 4995 3735 6570 4500+ 2734 3720 3299 4077 3720

*in high school ** 2010, due to injuries *** surpassed 100,000 on November 13




Steve D: I started in 1968 to get in shape for JV basketball, knowing the coach made you run a lot. After six months preparation, I was definitely in shape, but I still got cut from the team. Steve M: High School freshman in 1979. The summer before my senior year, I started to run every day in preparation for cross country and track that year. Jerry: Spring 1977 after right knee surgery for lateral meniscus issue, followed two months later by medial side surgery, so I was in a cast for several months. Once the cast was removed, I could not straighten the knee so started to “jog” as it was called then. One mile led to another and knee has never bothered me since.

Minnesota  Distance  Running  Association


January/ February 2011


January/ February 2011