PROFILE: Nancy Ditz has been running for 42 years, including one Olympic team


(July 2021) Nancy Ditz is one of those rare runners who can say that she won her first marathon. In her case, it was the 1982 San Francisco Marathon, where she clocked a strong 2:44:34. Three years later, she ran 2:31:36 at Cal International, and in 1988 she qualified for the U.S. Olympic Team in the marathon, finishing 17th in Seoul, South Korea. After 22 years away from running, Ditz started up again in 2014 to enjoy running with her daughter, Emily. Since then, she has tried

PROFILE--Jeannie Rice has been running for 37 (very fast) years


(June 2021) Jeannie Rice, now 73, holds the single-age world record for a marathon by a 71-year-old woman. She set that mark, 3:24:48, at Berlin in 2019, improving by 3 minutes on her 70-year-old time (3:27:50) the previous fall in Chicago. “I’m more competitive than ever,” says Rice, who laughs that she gets faster as she gets older. She also knows there are no short cuts to training and works hard, putting in the weekly miles and the speed workouts to meet her goals. This October's Tokyo Marathon (her 124th overall) is next on her list. It will give her all six of the Abbot World Marathon Majors. Rice, who was born in Korea and came to the states as a 19-year-old, splits her time between Ohio and Florida.

Career-Occupation? I am a semi-retired real estate agent. I like to keep busy and also keep my own schedule so I can get in my training.

When did you start running and why? I started running in the summer of 1983 when I was 35. I had been visiting family in Seoul, Korea, for 3

PROFILE--Don Chaffee has been running for 61 years

Winning Dipsea, 1979
(June, 2021) Don Chaffee has run, biked, and swum in California, Kenya, Uganda, and Michigan. He may be the only person on earth who can claim the following: He has won the Dipsea Race and been congratulated after a Kenyan marathon by the legendary Kip Keino. He has also served as a guide runner for Harry Cordellos, run a 2:43 at Boston, and been competing in triathlons for 30+ years. Chafee, now 81, appreciates Walt Stack’s credo: “Start slow and taper off.” On his current runs and bike rides, he makes sure to “loudly thank whatever deities have blessed me.” That’s never a bad idea.

Career-profession? I spent 50 years trying to inspire college students to think like economists starting with graduate school at the University of California, Davis. Besides Davis, I taught at Middlebury College (undergraduate alma mater); University of South Carolina; Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda; San Francisco State University; Golden Gate University; and for the last 24 years of my career, Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. 

When and why did you start running? In spring 1959, my junior year in college, I began jogging

PROFILE--Rob Hadgraft has been running for 40 years

(May 2021) Rob Hadgraft is a British runner, journalist and book author who has written books about historic runners quite a bit faster than he (Alf Shrubb, Deerfoot, etc). Now 65 and living in Colchester, U.K., he reports that he has a half-marathon best under 1:20 but "never had the patience or aptitude to do well for the full 26.2." Instead, he chose to run 20 to 30 miles a week and enjoy various club and regional races. Like the one where he suited up next to Seb Coe. He'll also happily tell you about the benefits of beer for runners.

Career-occupation? I worked as a news and sports reporter, sub-editor and editor for UK and European regional newspapers and briefly in corporate public relations before turning freelance to write books and features on sports history.

When did you start running and why? It began for me in 1981 when

PROFILE--Hal Goforth has been running for 50+ years


(Apr. 2021) Hal Goforth has a particular fondness for the Boston Marathon, which he has completed 39 times. He set his marathon PR in Boston in 1981 with a 2:28:33. In 1998, when 53.5, he won the 50-59 division. He has also been an eight- time winner of his age-group in the BAA Half Marathon. Now 76, Goforth lives in El Cajon CA, but also spends a month or two each year deep-sea fishing off the Florida Keys. Despite injuries and a heart-valve replacement in recent years, he continues to train regularly with his running partners in San Diego. "Build relationships that will last a lifetime," he says.

Career-profession: I served as a US Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal Diver (EOD)for 26.5 yrs (i.e., 4.5 yrs active duty and 22 yrs reserves), a Navy Marine Mammal Trainer in Vietnam, and retired as a Navy CAPT. I received a

PROFILE: Frank Bright has been running for 59 years

First race post heart attack
(Apr, 2021) Last November Frank Bright ran a sensational half-marathon--a 1:51 at age 76. But the Shreveport, LA, runner had a few bad races as well in the following weeks. He was puzzled. Then things got worse. In early January, he learned that he had suffered a heart attack, and would need surgery and stents. Okay, you do what you gotta do. By March, Bright was running again, and in April he raced, modestly, in a local 5K. He hopes to be marathoning again later this year. He says running has taught him not to obsess over where you are on the race course ... or the life course. In another mile, or a few more weeks, a dark outlook often looks much brighter.

Career-profession? I spent 6 1/2 years studying Chemical Engineering (B.S. and M.S.), 3 1/2 years working in the field for Dow Chemical in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and then turned to law (LSU-Baton Rouge). While in engineering graduate school, I coached the LSU

PROFILE--Bill Rodgers has been running for 57 years, with a few wins and many friends along the way

(Mar., 2021) Bill Rodgers is known around the globe for his many road race and marathon wins during the first running boom of the late 1970s and early 1980s, and frequent appearances even when he didn't win. Just as important: His affable personality won him many fans throughout his career. He has a wide-eyed charm  and friendliness that made some competitors think him "spacey." They usually finished behind Rodgers in races, where he displayed a razor-sharp focus and determination. He likes to quote himself: "If you want to win a race, you have to go a little berserk." At 73, "Boston Billy" does much of his running with his partner, Karen, and looks forward to entering races again later in the year. He retains both is deep passion for running, and his kid-like appreciation for it. He'll chat with anyone at any race about any topic. He's one of the sport's ultimate champions, on all levels.

Career/Profession? Professional runner, motivational speaker. Prior to that I got my MA in special education at Boston College and taught for three years in the Boston School system.


When did you start running and why? I guess you could say I started running as a kid with my brother and

PROFILE--Roger Robinson has been running for 62 years


5K road race, 2016. Photo by Bob Kopac
(Mar, 2021) Roger Robinson is a runner with many years, races, and wins under his belt. He is also a writer who keeps the history of our sport alive and well through his deeply researched, witty and thoroughly enjoyable books. He is well known on the speaker circuit and is a stadium announcer. Robinson has a sense of humor, too. When we asked him if running has helped him deal with the aging process, he responded, "I'm only 81 so it's too soon to say." He splits his time between Wellington, New Zealand, and New York State with his wife, Kathrine Switzer.
 

Tell us about yourself.  I like to live a balanced life. With a career as a professor and writer, I've also always been active as a runner. I'm no rustic but I couldn't live an entirely indoors life. Running on all terrains and in all weathers is part of my being. (Hence no treadmills or gym workouts). I was born in England, moved to New Zealand in my twenties, and ran world championship cross-country for both countries. First marathon was at age 41, and I ran well as a master (marathon PR 2:18:45; 2:28:01 at 50). World titles (10K and Cross-Country) at 41 and 50. 


Went well again late 70s, after knee replacements (10K, 47:38 at 77, 54:11 at 80).  Married for 34 years to Kathrine Switzer (they said it wouldn't last), we divide our lives between

PROFILE--Dick Rapson has been running for 65 years

(Mar., 2021) Dick Rapson has been running and coaching in northeast Philly for longer than most. He says his athletic credentials aren't special, but how many people do you know who are still running strong 65 years after starting? "I’ve tried to combine my fitness with my coaching career," says Rapson, 81, from Lansdale, PA. "Back in the 60’s-80’s I used to run with the guys and explain the biology of fitness as we ran." A true coach-educator; we can never have enough of those. "I've always tried to use our sport to help kids feel good about their achievements," he adds. [LifetimeRunning.net co-host Amby Burfoot can attest to this. Burfoot's wife, Cristina Negron, got her start in running on one of Rapson's mid-1970s cross-country teams.]

Career-profession: I began teaching in 1961 and retired in 2006. (43 of those years at Lower Moreland- mainly teaching AP biology). I continued to coach track (about 40 years; beginning in 1966) and cross country (51 years until my Covid “sabbatical” in 2020; I began the LM program in 1969). At this point I’m up in the air about returning to XC in 2021. 

When did you start running and why? I begin running in HS as track was the only spring sport. It was a terrible

PROFILE: Shawn Chillag has been running for 43 years

Chillag in costume in hot dog race.
 (Mar, 2021) Shawn Chillag doesn't say much below about his life's work, but he's an MD who has been teaching at medical schools for many years. He spent a good part of his career at the University of South Carolina, with its well-known exercise super heroes like Russ Pate and Steve Blair. Currently, Chillag, 72, is a dept head at the West Virginia University School of Medicine. He's been running for 43 years, figures he's logged around 110,000 lifetime miles, and appears to have a talent for dressing in costumes. Another fun fact: His son and excellent runner, Ian, works with runner Pete Sagal on NPR's well-known "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me" show, and also hosts a podcast with the catchy title "Everything Is Alive" in which he interviews inanimate objects. Chillag sr. reports a great benefit of aging: "
I can’t move quickly enough now to injure anything."

Career-profession: Mostly a learner and teacher. 

When did you start running and why? I read at age 29 that if you don’t get fit by age 30, then it never happens. My brother had challenged me to do a race; we did it and I was hooked. 

How much did you run in your peak years, miles/week, etc? I averaged about 50 miles weekly. This got me

PROFILE--Sam Cox has been running for 49 years

Finishing a marathon last November.
 (Feb. 2020) Sam Cox started running in 1972 to get in shape for football, but soon realized that a running-focus made more sense for him. Six years later, he completed his first marathon, and almost qualified for  Boston. The next year, he did qualify, running a 2:48. He would eventually reduce that time all the way down to 2:30:58. Now 62 and living in Greensboro, NC, he still logs 40 to 45 miles a week, and races marathons despite foot problems (Haglund's) and a history of atrial fibrillation. "I am grateful to be out there running, slow or not," he says. "Nothing clears my mind, reduces my tension, fosters my creative side, allows me to think, to ponder, to pray, or to imagine quite like a good run."

Career-profession? I graduated Wake Forest University in 1981 with my BS degree, where I walked on to the cross country and track teams and ran my sophomore and senior years, and was on an Army ROTC scholarship. Following graduate work at the University of South Carolina (MS) in 1983, I served five years in the army in San Antonio and Germany. I then began a career in education (while working part-time in the Army Reserves, retiring in 2002), picking up additional graduate degrees at Oregon State University (1991) and The College of William & Mary (1993) while teaching history, coaching cross country and track, and then moving into educational administration. I spent the past 25 years

PROFILE--George Hancock has been running for 47 years


(Feb. 2021) George Hancock is the honorary founder of the U.S. Streak Running Association, and has a couple of impressive streaks to his name. One lasted 24+ years, another 15+ years. And when he required disc surgery in 2018, did that stop him? Nope. His latest streak is 2+ years and counting. He's learned how to stride smooth and back-pain-free, and figures he'll continue doing the same well into his 70s. Now 67 and living near Johnstown, PA, Hancock notes: "I can look back and say, 'Yes, you can. One simply has to try.'"

Career-profession: 1975 graduate of the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown (UPJ). Worked in retail from 1976 through 1993 for a local retail firm, no longer exists, company was purchased and closed in 1993. Since then,

PROFILE--Ronald Johnson has been running for 57 years

(Feb. 2021) Ronald Johnson began running at age 14 in 1963, graduated from St. Olaf college, and achieved a lifetime marathon best of 2:31:07. Now retired and 71, he lives in Searcy, Arkansas, where he continues his devotion to running and high-level fitness despite hamstring and foot issues. "I always end my run feeling excellent," he says.


Career-profession? I have had several occupations, but I retired in June of 2019. I was an actuary and a financial analyst. However, my primary occupation was as a mathematical statistician for the Bureau of Labor Statistics in Washington D.C. I worked on the Consumer Price Index. 


When did you start running? I began running seriously as a high school freshman at age 14 in 1963 when I joined the cross-country team. I did this because I had been one of the best runners in junior high school at long distances. I didn’t especially enjoy running at the time, but I certainly wanted to be good at some sport.


Peak running? At my peak in my senior year in college and during the following summer, I was probably running

PROFILE--Tom Perri has run more than 70 marathons since his stage 4 cancer diagnosis two years ago

(Jan. 2021) LifetimeRunning first profiled Tom Perri in 2018--a few months before he received a cancer diagnosis. (See this page.) At that time he was averaging 40 marathons a year and was a four-time finisher of the Fifty-States Club. He’s now working on his sixth go-round as a Fifty State finisher and just finished his 536th marathon on New Year’s Day 2021. Perri still paces marathons when he can find one, and is still thrilled to bring first-time marathoners across their finish line. Now 59, Perri is looking forward to a new age division in April of 2021.

How did you find out you had cancer? I had a complete physical on 12/21/18, and was told that my PSA was well outside the normal range, which was a strong indication that I probably had an aggressive form of prostate cancer. This was confirmed by the prostate biopsy. At that time it appeared

PROFILE: Harry Nolan has been running for more than 50 years

(Jan. 2021) New Jersey's Harry Nolan has been a top U.S. runner in one event or another since the mid-1970s. He started on the track, moved up to the marathon (PR of 2:22), and then moved back to the track in his 40s and beyond. At 41, he ran a 1:59 800 and 4:15 mile. At 73, he's still running 50 to 60 miles a week despite triple-bypass surgery two  years ago. "Every day above ground is a good day," he says. He also believes that "Life is not a dress rehearsal" and we should live every day as if it might be our last. 

Career/Profession? I have had a somewhat split career, within two different professions. I spent 45 years in higher education as a professor, department chair, and associate dean at five different universities, but most at Georgian Court University, where I was a tenured full professor and department chair for thirty years. My other profession was as an administrator within the recreation, park and tourism industry, where I worked as director with different governmental agencies (overlapping with my university positions) and directing my own tourism based research consulting company. 

When did you start running and why? I started running track in my freshmen year of high school, originally as

PROFILE--John Fixx has been running for 51 years

Fixx and daughter before a run.

(Jan. 2021) Yes, the name is familiar. John Fixx is the son of Jim Fixx, famous in the late 1970s for his international best seller, The Complete Book of Running. And then, a few years later, for dying from a heart attack on a run. John began running with his dad at an early age, and tagged along to enjoy many trips and famous-runner meetups. Eventually he outpaced his dad, and achieved a marathon best of 2:42. He had another famous author connection in college, competing on the Wesleyan University team where Sebastian Junger (The Perfect Storm) was a standout. Now 59, John serves as headmaster and cross country coach at a private day school in Connecticut, The Country School, where he still logs 3 to 5 miles a day. He has only been arrested once while running.

Career profession: I've worked in admissions or administration at a number of private schools, mostly in Connecticut, where I grew up. For the last seven years, I've been headmaster at The Country School in Madison CT. We're a K-8 school with a little over 200 students.

When did you start running and why? I actually know exactly when I started running, because my father was a runner. From his log, I can see that I ran a 3 mile race in Westport CT when I was eight years old. The next year I remember

PROFILE--Hugh Biggin has been running for 40 years

(Jan 2021) Hugh Biggin appears to be one of those quiet, engineer types. He's not loud, not banging a gavel to get anyone's attention. He just goes about his business, day after day after .... He's methodical. He's got running logs dating back to 1980, and when a covid pandemic slowed down life a bit of late, he took the time to convert hundreds of pages of paper to a digital spreadsheet. The 65-year-old resident of Berwyn PA enjoys "streaking" too. His longest every-day run streak reached 9+ years, and he's currently working on 3 years, 11 months, and counting. For some reason, he runs 8 times a week. Hey, why not? "Just be consistent," he tells other runners. "Never get too high, and never too low."

Career-profession: I worked as an engineer for a large construction management firm

When did you start running and why? To get into shape.

How much did you run in your peak years? I have averaged 2480 miles per year. Always tried to maintain