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Run Crazy
Friday, 18 November 2016 - Written by scanner [profile]
I started running when I was stationed in Avalon Beach, FL in 1967. I lived in a small house on a dirt road across the bay from Ellyson Field. One day I was running down the road and passed a couple of snakes coiled by the side of the road. They snapped at me. Probably jealous of my legs.

Later, in Norfolk, VA, my running shoes were ThomMcCan Skippers. They were deck shoes! But hey, I was in the Navy. I lived about a mile south of the Hampton Roads tunnel and would run down Oceanview Ave. wearing one of those rubber sweat suits. This did prove useful one night when a couple of guys drove by and hit me in the shoulder with a large Icee and yelled,"Crazy Runner!". Nobody was running back then. Well, I didn't see anyone. Later that year I ran around Christchurch New Zealand and McMurdo Station, Antarctica.

In 1971 I set what I believe is a world record: I ran around the world 21 times! I had to fly out to South Pole Station and do some weather stuff. Well, it worked because I got snowed-in or blowing snowed-in coupled with a Com-Blackout so there I was with not a whole lot to do. So, I went to the barbershop pole at the geographical South Pole and ran around that sucker about 21 times. It's about 10,000 above sea level there and the temperature was -51 or something. After that the plane showed up and I went back to running around Scott's Hut at McMurdo.

On the Ice I ran in Bunny Boots. They are big, white and very warm. In Norfolk I ran in combat boots. Then I switched to the TM Skippers and lost a lot of toe nails. I was running about 9.5 miles a day. This was easy to track since the course was marked and it was basically the perimeter road of the Naval Air Station. I even earned a hoodie from the base running club. Then I left the Navy and went back to civilian life.

I kept running and I think it was 1972 when I bought my first running shoes. They were Adidas Country. White leather with green Adidas stripes and ugly, tan, gum-rubber soles with a funky wave pattern. I was the toast of the gym when I wore those babies. Running shoes were not that big in Cleveland, Ohio. When I moved to Pittsburg New Balance was the new kid in the market and I coveted them beyond reason. Why? They reminded me of my old Thom McCan Skippers and probably wouldn't make my toenails fall off.

Ah, the early years. How I miss the snowballs being hurled at me in North Park in Pittsburg, the insults from random drivers who were incensed by my running down the side of the road. Some would offer free coaching, "Lift up your knees dumb ass!" That was my favorite.

That was all before I moved to Florida about 39 years ago.

So, here I am and I am still a crazy runner.

Kev500 says:

Thanks for sharing these memories. Great stuff. I started about 10 years after you. I should start working on memoirs from my early days.

Four years ago some of my running buddies from the '70s had a reunion of our Gumby Striders club. It seems I am the only one still competing. The Gumbies were taken from the Monty Python skits. We had about a dozen members, kids from 4 or 5 high schools in the Tacoma, WA area. We wore on our heads bandannas knotted at four corners and ran in road races (including marathons which was not an uncommon distance for teenagers in those days) in the Seattle-Tacoma area. Typically, we ran in single file and would blow past people as a group. We were an irreverent running club that was pretty well known in the local running community. Depending on the person, we were either loved or scorned.

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