Since Nov. 15, 2002, Roger Raymond has averaged running six miles a day, every day. That’s every day!
However, to the United States Running Streak Association that’s just warming up.
On its list he is ranked 143rd, a member of the The Proficient Club.
“Mark Covert’s The Man,” Raymond says. “He has run every day for more than 41 years.”
Covert and his college buddy, Jon Sutherland, both from California, are the only two in the Legends Club, for those who have run for 40-plus years.
Covert started first, beginning on July 23, 1968. He met Sutherland at college and Sutherland started running with Covert on May 26, 1969. Both are 58.
To qualify for the association you have to run at least one mile a day, every day. You can apply after you have done it for one year.
Samuel Johnston, 67, of Naples, is in The Masters Club, for runners who have run every day for more than 30 years. He began Aug. 26, 1977.
The top woman, a member of The Masters Club, is Julie Maxwell, 58, of Kasson, Minnesota. She began her streak on July 5, 1978.
“I didn’t start out with the mind set that I was going to run every day,” Raymond recalls. “I started running when my daughter Jessie was part of the Charter School’s cross country team and continued when she went to Lely.”
Raymond, Marco Island Charter Middle School athletic director, started cross country as a sport at the school 11 years ago.
He actually had a 200-day running stretch that he halted when he fell on one of his morning runs in 2002.
“I missed a day, but really wanted to run at Taylor Park in Largo when Lely competed in the regional ,” he said. Raymond ran the practice run with the girls who qualified for state at that race. A week later the Lely girls raced to second in the Class 2A State Championships, with Jessie a key team member.
“I had broken two ribs, but I really wanted to run that course,” he said. “I could hardly breathe. It took me around 31 minutes, a distance (3.1 miles) I would normally have run back then in around 19 minutes.
Raymond doesn’t have a set schedule as to when he will run. How could he? Raymond owns Morningstar Music in Naples, serves as athletic director and coaches cross country, basketball and track at the Charter School.
“I don’t necessarily recommend what I do,” he said. “It’s not for everyone. It takes a certain mentality. A person probably is better off if they run, ride a bike, even fast walk to break up the daily routine.”
Raymond suggests that starting out a person should go out three to four times a week.
“You might even start by fast walking,” he said. “You want to gradually build up. I wouldn’t increase my distance more than 10 percent each time out if I had a certain goal to reach.”
He lets his body control what he does. “My body will tell me if speed work is a good idea that day,” he said.
He keeps an ongoing record that includes mileage, shoe wear, pain at certain times and injuries.
In July, 2006, after running the San Francisco Marathon, he almost missed a day.
The family was flying home when the plane was diverted to the Albuquerque, New Mexico Airport.
“I had expected to get home around 6 p.m., figuring I would run then,” he recalls. “When we had to stop there I knew I wouldn’t get home until after midnight.”
So what did he do.
He put on his running gear and ran inside the terminal!
“We couldn’t leave because we didn’t have tickets for departure out of Albuquerque, he said. “It wasn’t a very big terminal, maybe a quarter of mile in length, so I had to run the distance a number of times. A lot of people looked at me a little funny. I was surprised airport security didn’t stop me.”
Raymond will run in January at the Disney marathon to qualify again for the Boston Marathon.
“My next goal is to make 3,000 (consecutive) days,” he said. He is over 2,564 days now, and has run more than 15,330 miles.
“Running has become part of me, it’s just what I do.”