PROFILE--Bill Shreffler started running, lost 70 lbs, and is going strong 100,000 miles later

(May, 2022) Bill Shreffler started running for a typical reason: He didn't like the way he looked in the bathroom mirror after stepping out of the shower. Seventy pounds later, he was off and entering marathons. His personal record isn't sensational--3:34--but his consistency is. Now 68 and living in Coumbia, MO, Shreffler is still running every day of the week and logging more than 50 miles per week. His attitude is world class: "I know that every day I have over an hour of quiet time early in the morning," he says. "I can reflect on yesterday, think about the day ahead, forgive myself for the many mistakes I have made in my life and get excited about the future." 

Career-profession? Managing Member of BridgeWorx – medical device distributor.

When did you start running and why? I was 70 pounds overweight and bet a co-worker that I would lose more weight than he did. I won the bet. 

How much did you run in your peak years?  Peak years I ran 100 miles/week as I trained for marathons. 

Best performances? After living in Colorado Springs and training at an altitude of 6,500 feet I ran my 7th Chicago marathon and had a PR of 3:34:00. Before I had my PR at Chicago I ran the Los Angeles Marathon in March 1992 after training through a harsh Chicago winter and finished in 3:50:26. 

Total lifetime miles? I passed 100,000 miles last October (all well documented with some commentary about the run) 

How much are you running and cross-training now? I run 54 miles/week – 8 miles Monday through Saturday and 6 miles on Sunday. I also lift weights

6 days/week. I do “pushes” (bench) 3 days and pulls (curls) 3 days. Additionally, I ride a stationary bike for 30 minutes after I lift (right after I complete my morning run) and ride again at lunch time for another 45 minutes.

Any recent races? I hung up the racing shoes due to wear and tear on my body preparing for races. I choose to focus on my daily run instead. I get much more value that way (mentally and physically). 

Does it bother you that you are slower now? I am slower and it does not bother me too much. I am glad that I can still run 54 miles/week 52 weeks/year. I love leaving my house in the dark, normally by 4:20 am, and getting home in the dark. It provides great solace and quiet. I use the first half of my run to pray, and the second half to allow the endorphins to help provide potential solutions to business problems and general life issues. I have always wondered what is around the next corner and that desire to see things that most people don’t get to see (like a brewing storm with high winds and rain slapping my face) keeps me going. I run every day in every type of weather.


Diet weight changes through the years? My running has allowed me to eat most of what I want to eat. I eat steel cut oat meal several times/week and take vitamins and CBD gummies. I also take a packet of Immune+ everyday to get vitamin D and zinc. I admit to eating too much chocolate but I believe in quality as well as quantity of life. 

Injuries or health issues? I have had problems with both knees and no longer have any cartilage left. One knee caused me to miss almost 6 months of running as I had to rehab the knee. The day after I hurt my knee I jumped on my bike and logged 10 miles/daily in the neighborhood. These miles are not included in my running miles. I run with adjustable Velcro knee braces and they are a life saver for me. I have had no real problems since I began using them 10 years ago. I also wear compression shorts to reduce any potential hernia issues.

A favorite inspirational quote? Henry Ford said “If you think you can’t or you think you can, you are right”. I coined the “Evolution of Winning” when I ran a large organization and our team had great success (I wrote about the methods I used for success in my book “Execute Like a Pro” available on Amazon). The evolution of winning is 1) I can’t – most people think they can’t run or exercise. I often hear “I wish I could but list reasons why they can’t”; 2) I can – overcome the objections and get folks to believe that they can do something ; 3) I will – this is the fun part. When someone believes in the mission they will do whatever they have to be successful; and finally 4) I did it– this is the euphoria we all have when we finish a race, hit a goal, lose the weight – whatever we set out to do. 

Three short tips for other hopeful lifetime runners?

1--Hydrate during the day.

2--Change your shoes at least every 350 to 400 miles (pay attention to the soles and identify what type of shoes you need aka under pronator, over pronator, more cushioning, etc.) and

3--Find the fun in running. You don’t have to run a preset course. Learn your pace and run by your watch. Go places, see things. 

How does running & fitness improve your life on a daily/weekly basis? It is built into the fabric of my everyday life. My wife jokes that I am not easy to live with if I miss a run. I am healthy with few issues into my late 60’s, and my doctor wants me to keep running. My son is a college football offensive lineman and I have been able to teach him how to breathe and run.

What are the biggest lessons you have learned from running? 
I know that every day I have over an hour of quiet time early in the morning. I can reflect on yesterday, think about the day ahead, forgive myself for the many mistakes I have made in my life and get excited about the future. I love the preparing for my run – running clothes, braces, flashlight, etc. I love opening the front door at 4:20 am and seeing a deer run across my lawn. I love seeing Christmas lights in the dark. I love watching the donut guy open his kitchen as he prepares for the day. I love watching the early morning deliveries at the local grocery store as they stock up for the day. I am aging, but I feel I am still strong and life is good. I owe a lot of that to running. I am not afraid to look in the mirror and see what is staring back at me. I have accomplished many things in my life and I have more to do.