Forty years ago today, June 11, 1978, I started off on my 80-day, 3,452-mile run from Medford, OR to Medford, MA. For the first month, I averaged about 43 miles a day and then upped it to over 50 miles a day as I miscalculated the distance using AAA maps and a ruler! Geez, now I am lucky if I can do just one of those days! Every breath seems like a cliffhanger! Guess I should just be happy I’m still waking up every morning. I always thought it would have been more exciting for all of us to be born, go to age 50, then turn around and go back to age zero again – then you get to do every year of your life over again…a second chance at every age instead of just getting older and older!! So cool. Ha.
Looking at a few of these pictures – I started ceremonially in the Kingdome in Seattle during a Red Sox / Seattle Mariners game and then flew down to Medford, OR to begin the run. In the group photo below, I am with the Mayor of Medford, OR, and a few members of the Oregon Sizzlers track club. My crew of Danny Carey, Jeff Donahue, Tom Kinder, and Kent Hawley were lifesavers. At the end of every day, I wrote a postcard and mailed it back to some friends at the Boston YMCA. Each card had the date, day on the road, weather and temperature, miles I ran and location I finished for the day, along with a brief message. No computers, no cell phones, no emails, no texting, no GPS, no nothing. Ran from phone booth to phone booth!
The one below says: “Started about 1:10pm from Medford, Oregon. The Mayor and a few guys from the area track club ran with me for a while. Was interviewed by area TV and newspapers. Only expected to do 20 miles today – very, very hilly and mountainous! Over 5,000 ft. in elevation. Stayed at a campsite for the night. 80 degrees and sunny. Dave"
Ran 30-miles that day and finished in Tub Springs, Rt. 66, Oregon, my shortest day because I started in the afternoon. I only had 3,422 more miles to go! What was I thinking??
I was 23-years-old and very naïve. That’s what probably got me through all this.