Many of us can’t imagine a day without coffee. Jon Simpson can’t imagine a day without running. On Tuesday, the Memphis, Tenn. resident became the sixth person who has run at least one mile every day for at least 40 years, according to the US Running Streak Association.
In the above interview, Bill Littlefield is joined by Scott Cacciola, whose article, “My Last Day Without A Jog: 1971” appeared this week in The Wall Street Journal, and by Jon Sutherland, one of the six runners in the elite group.
“They started this without any sort of organization,” Cacciola said. “They didn’t do it to break any records, they just started running.”
And these runners have logged an impressive number of miles. Sutherland, who owns the association’s second longest streak, has been running daily since May 1969. In that time he has covered some 185,000 miles, averaging more than 100 miles per week.
How do the members of the 40-year club prove they have run every single day without cheating? They don’t.
“It is the honor system,” said Cacciola. “There’s nobody out there who can notorize what these guys are doing. But I certainly believe everyone who says they have done this…I think these guys have a lot of respect for each other.”
Sutherland recounted one of several instances over the years in which his daily run was a struggle. “I had the stomach flu,” he said. “I decided, ‘I gotta keep the streak going.’ So I ran to this park about a mile away and I fainted.”
Neighbors noticed Sutherland and called the police, who soon arrived to investigate. Once they had revived Sutherland, the officers offered him a ride home. “I said ‘I’ve gotta run another mile to keep my streak going!'”
Now that’s dedication. “You do stupid things [to keep a streak going],” Sutherland added. “…None of us claim to be sane.”