PROFILE: Jon Sutherland has run every day for the last 50 years

Sutherland began his serious running at
Cal State University Northridge,
and set six track records there.
(5-2019) On Sunday morning in West Hills, CA, Jon Sutherland will celebrate his 50th year of running every single day. In fact, he's done way better than that, averaging 10 miles a day through the duration of his streak. According to Streak Runners International, his streak is now the longest in the world, and the second-longest ever, after only Ron Hill's 52+ years (19,032 days). On Sunday, Sutherland, 68, will hit 18,263 days in a row. People told him he was crazy to undertake his running streak. To which Sutherland responds, "I've never been happier than I am now because I trusted my instincts and my heart!" (If you live nearby, you can join the run and celebration of Sutherland's achievement at the Victory Trail Head in West Hills.)

Career-profession? I spent most of my career in the music business which is toxic to distance running. I was probably the top heavy-metal journalist in the U.S. for a decade. I've been to more than one thousand rock concerts, including 179 in 1991 alone. People ask what I did in the music business, and I say, "Everything except for making money and doing drugs."

When and why did you start running? I was a baseball pitcher with a nasty curve ball! And I thought running would help my ambition to last longer on the mound. I started running 2-3 miles a day the summer of 1969, and then in September I met Laszlo Tabori and Mark Covert, and I went to 100 miles a week in a month. I often wonder if anybody else has ever done that.

How much did you run during your peak years? I was a big mileage guy 100 miles a week for thirty years. 120 when I was at my best. We were the volume generation!

Top races or running achievements? My best race probably was Bay to Breakers in 1977. I made the podium! I got third. In February 1979 I ran a modest 29:32 10,000m on the track, and it was the best time in the country. It lasted about a week after all the big league runners from the east coast got out of the snow. My PRs are 13:51 5K, and 28:51 10K.

Estimate of your total lifetime miles? 198,000 miles over 51 years.
Running on a favorite local trail.

Do you prefer social running or solo running? I've run most of my miles alone. But I've also run with Mark Covert, Dave Babiracki, Steve Prefontaine, Frank Shorter, Gordon Pirie, Ron Clarke, Peter Snell, Jim Ryun, Ron Hill, Dave Bedford, Jos Hermens, Rod Dixon, John Walker, Dick Quax, Garry Bjorklund, Bill Rodgers, Tom Fleming, Don Kardong, Craig Virgin, Marty Liquori, Alberto Salazar, Lasse Viren, and a few more.

Current running, cross-training, stretching, strength work, etc? I run 3-5 miles a day. I'd like to run more but West Hills is very hilly. It's not called West Flats. I stretch a lot--that's what lions and tigers do to stay strong. I'm convinced there are no gyms in the jungle.

Any recent race results? I'm 68 now, and the last race I ran was a 3K when I was 62. It was a tribute for a runner on my Notre Dame HS team. Mark Covert was the timer. I got second and yelled at Mark--"Did I win my age group?" I've run 619 races, and figure that's enough.

Does getting slower bother you? Yeah it sucks. I really miss fast workouts and the burn you feel afterwards!

Dietary and weight changes? Supplements? Not really. I've weighed 160 lbs. at 6'4" for 45 years. I eat real smart, but I admit I drink bad. I have never tried coffee so I drink 8 oz. of Dr.Pepper to wake up. And I confess I'm a big Sam Adams fan!!

Injuries and/or health issues? During my soon to be 50-year streak I've had three surgeries and 10 broken bones and I ran through them all. As we used to say, "Where there is a will, there is a way."
Any favorite inspirational quotes? "Great is the victory but the friendship is greater", Emil Zatopek.

"Speed is a gift, endurance is an achievement." Herb Elliott

"The only tactics I admire are do or die." Herb Elliott

Three short tips for those seeking a lifetime of running?
1--Take you time.
2--Measure your effort.
3--Every years--at 40, 50, 60, and so on--wipe out your PRs and start new!

How does running & fitness improve your life? I owe all I have--my life, my career, my job, my reputation--to doing something that most people told me not to do. I've never been happier than I am now because I trusted my instincts and my heart!

What's your philosopy of life, aging, and running? That's easy--Just go do it.