Around the World and Back Again

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My physical travel may be limited at the moment, but I did have an opportunity to celebrate with a friend running his 50,000th mile- enough running miles over his lifetime to do an out-and-back around the world.

On a recent Sunday morning, a few friends joined veteran runner Hap Miller in a 3-miler to share in running his 50,000th life-time mile mark. Hap and fellow runner Brad Colwell have kept copious records of their running mileage. They have traded places in lead mileage over the years, and as of that Sunday Hap was a few miles in the lead.

Both men are long-time members of the Harrisburg Area Road Runners Club (HARRC) having played major roles in its importance to the running community of Central Pennsylvania. The group that assembled to join in Hap’s 50,000th mile were primarily long-time members of HARRC. Several of them long ago passed their 100,000 mile mark. Most of those present have been long-time contributors to the running community through leadership roles in competitive racing, race directing, and almost every form of volunteerism.

We were off to join Hap in his 50,000th mile. Some started at a near-sprint pace, others set out in a deliberate jog, enjoying the opportunity to chat in a socially-distanced way as they ran along the wide path. A few of us settled for a glorified walk.

After moving to the area around 1980, I saw a notice in the newspaper inviting beginner runners to join HARRC for a Sunday run. I did just that. It was my first time running with a group. Several of those I met that day have been the mainstays of my running life since, encouraging my running and drafting me into volunteer service for club-sponsored events. I expect I am one of many who joined and found this club to be instrumental in their running development and furthered many friendships.

Where would Harrisburg running be without these three? Hap Miller, host and race director, author of Harrisburg Marathon: Four Decades of Running 26.22 Miles at Harrisburg Pennsylvania, founding member of HARRC, a 2:44 marathoner; Brad Colwell HARRC president for six years, host Tuesday morning runs, on the cusp of completing his 50,000th mile, a 3:04 marathoner; Nick Marshall, first president of HARRC, inductee in the American Ultrarunning Hall of Fame, a 2:41 marathoner.

The park was busy with other scheduled activities this day, so Hap thoughtfully kept the size of the group small. Munching on post-run bananas and muffins, there was discussion of making this an annual event – there will always be someone’s miles to celebrate.

Do you keep a record of your mileage, life-time or otherwise? Do you have a significant number coming up?

Do you keep a record of your life-time running miles? If so, are you about to reach a goal? Please share.


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