Man celebrates 10,000 consecutive days of running
MENDHAM, N.J. (AP) — Mark Washburne was up with the sun and running through his neighborhood Wednesday morning, the same thing he’s done every day for more than 27 years.
Washburne recorded his 10,000th consecutive day of running Wednesday, a streak he began on New Year’s Eve 1989.
“It started after I wondered how long it had been since I missed a day and I went back into my logs to check,” Washburne told the Daily Record of Parsippany (http://dailyre.co/2rESrBQ). “My longest streak to that point was 52 days, and I decided to beat that. Once you get into one of these streaks, you tend to keep going.”
And going, and going, and going.
Washburne, 61, of Mendham, ran at least three miles every day for nearly three decades, culminating with his 10,000th run Wednesday morning.
“The association requires I run at least a mile a day, but I like to do three,” Washburne said. “Treadmills are also allowed but I always run outside. Even in a blizzard.”
Washburne joined the United States Running Streak Association in 2000, officially logging the streak he was privately counting for a decade and a half. He is now president of the group, which lists - along with Streak Runners International, which he founded in 2012 - more than 800 active running streaks worldwide.
“We’re not obsessive,” Washburne said. “We’re dedicated.”
Washburne said he doesn’t consider himself an exceptional runner.
“I am just an OK runner,” Washburne said. “The key to starting a streak is to stop asking if you’re going to run and changing that to when you’re going to run.”
Among his accomplishments, the “O.K. runner” has logged 13 consecutive Boston Marathons.
Washburne said he started running for the health benefits and credits “a lot of luck” for keeping the streak alive.
Still, the years weren’t without injuries, including a couple pulled hamstrings, one of which landed him in the hospital with a broken nose and concussion after completing a marathon in 2015.
“I think I must have fainted,” Washburne said. “All I remember is waking up in the hospital that night.”
He was back running the next day. A history professor at County College of Morris, Washburne also credits his streak with 25 years of perfect attendance.
“I’ve worked there since 1992 and never called in sick,” he said. “I think they might question if I didn’t show up to work but still did my daily run.”
Washburne ran with his wife, Diane, at 5:30 a.m. Wednesday, making sure they completed his momentous run together before she left for work.
He also logged his 790th race that evening, a 5K in Madison, where he planned to celebrate the achievement with some of his running friends.
“But I wanted to run with my wife first this morning,” Washburne said. “She has her own streak going.”
The Washburnes married in 2015, and Diane picked up her husband’s hobby very early into their relationship; their first date was after a 5K.
“Today was day 1,519 for me,” Diane Washburne said. “For me it’s as much about exercise as it is the streak, but I actually enjoy it more than I thought I would when I first started.”
But Wednesday was all about her husband.
“It really shows his perseverance and dedication to the sport,” Diane Washburne said. “And I love it because it keeps him really healthy.”
For the record run, they ran out of their development, down the road past Kings and to Mendham High School, before turning around and heading home, an exact three mile loop.
As they returned to their home, the pair celebrated and embraced, basking in the accomplishment before preparing for the rest of the day.
“I think of Malcolm Gladwell, who said you need to log 10,000 hours to become an expert in something,” Washburne said, jokingly. “I can finally call myself a master of running.”
Washburne is gearing up for his 34th marathon this fall, but the immediate challenge is day 10,001.
“No plans to stop the streak,” he said. “My next goal is to run tomorrow and the next day.”
Information from: Daily Record (Parsippany, N.J.), http://www.dailyrecord.com