My first introduction to running was when I entered the tenth grade at Iroquois High School in 1967. They told everyone who was planning on going out for basketball that year that they would like them to run cross country to get in shape. I was planning to go out for basketball so I joined the cross country team.
Then when basketball season rolled around I tried out, and got cut. I felt like it was the end of the world. I still remember how sad I was. So I played a lot of basketball at the park, mostly Wyandotte Park. Sometimes I would pick up my basketball, run to the park, play ball, then pick up my ball, and run back home with it.
I kept pursuing the running, and found that I really loved doing it. I practiced a lot on my own the summer before my junior year and went out for cross country again that year.
My coach recognized me that year as the most improved runner on the team. My fondest memories of my high school career are tied to running cross country and my relationship with the coach. I can still hear certain songs on the radio from that era, and it transports me right back to high school, and being on the cross country team.
In those days a varsity meet was 2 miles. Our home course was the meadow on top of Iroquois Park. Then it was just a huge grassy field, not a wetland or anything. It was measured out to a mile, and we ran it twice.
Then as life went on I did not run for a number of years, but what I would do is go out and do a walk/jog, and go back and forth between walking and jogging. For some reason in my mind I had convinced myself that as I got older that maybe running wasn’t that great for your knees so wasn’t sure I should just run without mixing in walking.
However in May, 2012 at U of L where I worked they were going to have a “Run for the L of it” 5k on Belknap campus. I remember thinking, “I wonder if I could still run 3 miles? So I registered for it, ran the whole thing, and just really enjoyed it. That was my first 5k, and my introduction back to running. So since that time I have gotten back to running only without mixing in the walking.
In 1998 I signed up to run with the torch for U of L’s bicentennial. The torch was relayed to me at River Road and Zorn Avenue. Then I ran down River Road, and handed it off.
Favorite distance: I would say the 5k. I also enjoy the 10k’s. I am kind of a creature of habit, and I have not tried longer distances than a 10k. I have not done the mini or a marathon.
Running walking advice: I would mainly say to enjoy yourself, and never worry about what someone else is doing or how they are running. I don’t even use my GPS watch to pace myself. I don’t look at it during the run. I just run how I feel like running and try to enjoy the ride.
I enjoy running the River City Races events because everyone involved is so enthused about putting them on, and always makes them a smooth, fun experience. I feel like one part of a large family.
Anything else you’d like to share: I have met a group of people that I collectively refer to as my running buddies. It is always fun to see them. This is even more meaningful to me after having retired from U of L in 2017 after 40 years of service exactly to the day.
Since I first wrote this piece I have now participated in my first 15k, The Downtown Doubler. I was nervous never having done the distance before, but it went fine, and I enjoyed some beautiful scenery close up in west Louisville.