PROFILE--Married couple Don and Tammy Slusser have logged over 300,000 miles combined

(Jul. 2020) In all likelihood, Don and Tammy Slusser are world-record holders. It's just that their record is nearly impossible to research and prove. What is it? It's the record for most miles run by a married couple. And where do they stand? At more than 300,000 miles and counting. Kick your spouse in the butt if you want to go after this one. A former 2:17 marathoner, Don, now 68, has been slowed by injuries and surgies; he does a lot of race walking these days. At 55, Tammy is still motorin' along strongly, logging close to 3000 miles a year. The couple, from Monroeville PA, likes to race. A LOT. They raced on their wedding day, and twice on their honeymoon. "It's as much a part of our lives as getting up in the morning," says Don. [Below he answered the questions for both of them; it was just simpler that way.]

When did you start running? I started as a high school sophomore in January, 1967. Tammy’s parents did some running, so she finished

her first 10K in 1979 when she was 14. (I happened to win that race, but we didn’t actually meet until a few years later.)


What were your biggest running years? I ran high mileage from 1974 through the late 1980s. My biggest year was 1981 at 6263 miles. Tammy never ran that kind of high mileage, and probably reached a peak of about 3500 miles. However, she has been very consistent through the years, and is still running close to 3000 miles per year. 


Best races? My best marathon was probably the 1980 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials where I ran 2:17:43. I also placed ninth overall in the 1976 Boston Marathon. Tammy won the 1994 Pittsburgh Marathon in 2:37:14, and won the Sydney Marathon the same year. In college, she won the NCAA Division II National 10,000 in 1986 with a 33:46.


Total lifetime miles? At the end of last year, I was at 196,299 total running miles. In addition to that, I’ve covered about 22,000 miles race-walking. At the end of last year, Tammy had a lifetime running total of 105,156 miles.


I have run 1882 lifetime races, including 139 marathons. Tammy has run 114 marathons.


Current cross-training? We both cross-train several hours on most days. We do biking, kayaking, and hiking outdoors in addition to our running and race-walking, and use indoor equipment in winter. We both do daily push-ups, pull-ups, sit-ups, etc, but rarely go to the gym for strength training. 


Injuries and other obstacles along the way? Yes, very much, especially for me. I’ve had nine knee or ankle surgeries, five of them major. I’ve gone from a racer to a back-of-the-pack guy, though I can be competitive at race-walking. I haven’t missed a day of running since Dec, 2018.


Tammy’s still competitive in her 55+ age group. Her last half-marathon was a 1:28+. She has been mostly healthy with injuries, though she’s had calf issues the last several years.


Diet and weight changes? I weigh almost 10 pounds less now--112 or so--than I did in my best running years. Tammy is within a pound or two of her 1980s weight of 110. We both consume far more fruit and vegetables now, with very little meat. We both like our sweets occasionally. We probably consume about 3000 calories a day. I take a multiple vitamin and iron. Tammy rarely takes vitamins. 


Tips for other lifetime runners?

1--Just make running part of your daily schedule.

2--Vary your workouts, mixing some quicker running into a consistent training program.

3--Race to see where your training has you. 


Running philosophy? Running a lifestyle for both of us. It’s as much a part of our lives as getting up in the morning. We both still race with the goal of giving everything during the race, and train to put ourselves in a position to be competitive. In my case with knees and muscle damage, my times have slowed to a crawl, but I still find it very satisfying to push to the limit.