PROFILE--Bob Anderson has been running for 56 years
As the founding publisher-owner of Runner's World magazine ("Making Tracks Since 1966"), Bob Anderson played a pivotal role in the American running boom. Less well known: He has been, and at age 71 remains, a passionate runner and racer. In recent years, Anderson has thrown his creative energy behind a Double Racing concept ("Running with a halftime break") and a free Running News Daily Headlines service.
Career/profession? I was the founder and publisher of Runner's World magazine from 1966 to 1984. Also, founder/publisher World Publications (published over 100 books including 25 running books and a couple of years of booklet of the month), CEO/founder of Ujena (women’s swimwear and fashion) 1984 to present. We have had a website UjenaFitClub since 2010 to present. (It's a great place for runners to log all their races and more). Founder of Double Road Race Federation from 2010 to present. We have staged and I have run over
60 Double Racing events. Founded My Best Runs website (Featuring and following the world’s best, most interesting and unique races in the world.) Also I edit our Running News Daily column and have already published nearly 2000 stories since 2014 to the present.
When did you start running and WHY? I started running on Feb 16, 1962. My older brother went out for cross country because my dad ran some in the Navy and I wanted to give it a try. Could not run without stopping after a mile that first day.
How much did you run in your peak years? What is your estimated lifetime total miles run? I have never been a high mileage runner. In high school we would run about 50 miles per week. I consider my peak years was when I was in my 50’s. I averaged 42 miles per week but almost all of it was quality.
I have run about 75,000 miles and have run about 1000 races including our weekly fun run we held every Sunday at Foothill college we started in 1972 and continued until 1989.
Your best races and running achievements? One of the features on our Ujena Fit Club website is that it age grade all races. Five of my top races that I am most proud of would include when I ran a 1:25:24 half marathon at age 64. A 59:17 10 miler at age 53. A 17:09 5k at Carlsbad at age 49. A 3:32:17 marathon at Boston age 65. And a 2:08.5 880 at age 15.
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But my greatest running achievement has to be when I ran 50 races in 2012 at age 64. My 50-race challenge was not just about finishing a race each weekend but it was also about achieving an average performance which would be at least 80% age graded. I raced 350.8 miles and averaged 6:59 per mile. The really tough thing about this Challenge was that I could not have one bad race. It almost happened at the San Diego Half when I fell apart at 10 miles but somehow I kept going and finished in 1:41.
We made a movie covering the year event called "A Long Run." Working on this movie project with my son Michael and my wife to be Catherine just added to the whole excitement of the adventure.
Current running? Cross-training, strength work, stretching? I am currently running about 33 miles a week. I have never done much core training and very little stretching. Some push ups, sit ups and curls.
Any recent race results? The last couple of years I have been racing less but only because I have too many things going these days. On December 15 I ran our Double Road Race (10k+break+5k) and averaged 7:50/mile for the two legs. Averaged pretty much the same at our Pacific Grove Double Road Race September 29.
How do you deal with getting slower but staying motivated? I used to run faster but I also don’t put in the quality training as I did when younger. Also I love to eat and drink a little red wine, and my weight is 10 pounds more than what it was like in 2012. I could be racing around 7:00 to 7:15 pace if I got really serious again. I love racing so much, and I believe I still have some good races in me.
Diet changes, weight changes, supplements? My wife is an excellent cook and we eat very healthy. I just eat too much. I weigh about 152 but need to be at 142 to run faster.
What injuries or other health issues have you faced through the years? How have you dealt with these? I call injuries "situations" and I have had a few. When I was getting ready to run the Carlsbad 5000 at 52, I suddenly developed a case of sciatica. I could not run across the street. I found a group of fast milers who were getting deep tissue massage near Stanford. I laid on the table for an hour and a half three times a week. It was so painful but effective. Ten days later I was able to run again. That weekend I was able to race a 17:42 5k at Carlsbad,and I have never had that situation again.
3 key tips for successful lifetime running?
1--Run or walk each day outside covering at least one mile.
2--Don’t worry about speed unless you want too. Make this your choice.
3--Run at least a few races each year.
Favorite quote? Steve Prefontaine: “To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift.”
What are the biggest lessons (life lessons and running lessons) you have learned from running? Running is magical and makes everything possible. My day is not complete without a run. Running is just part of my DNA. If I had not found running, I can not imagine what kind of life I would have had.
Age is only a number and even through the number is getting larger, I just don’t let a number tell me what I can or cannot do. We only live once, so why not enjoy it to the fullest? Running helps add meaning to every day.