The U.S. Running Streak Association lists over 50 members who have been running daily for 30 years or more. At the top of the list is Jon Sutherland who hasn’t missed a day since he was 19. He is now 65.
The USRSA defines a running streak as “running at least one continuous mile within each calendar day under one’s own body power.” This can occur on either the roads, a track, over hill and dale, or even on a treadmill. Running cannot occur through the use of canes, crutches, or banisters, or in a pool. Some began their streaks for the health benefits of losing weight or keeping cholesterol and blood pressure under control. Others “streak” for the regular sense of order it bestows on their hectic lives. And some just love the slap, slap, slap poetry of one foot in front of the other . . . day after day after day.
Every experienced runner should give consideration to running every day for a full year -- then, take a break. Otherwise, you could find yourself years into a Cal Ripken-like streak you may have trouble ending. Sure, running on the day of your wedding or the day your wife gives birth is one thing. But consider the runner who kept his streak alive by jogging in a plaster cast after a bunion operation. Or the “streaker” (not to be confused with the naked variety) who ran several days with severe chest pains before realizing it was a heart attack rather than indigestion. Alas, the USRSA’s official newsletter typically includes an article lamenting the end of a streak that had become an integral part of a runner’s life, such as “Breaking Up (A Running Streak) is Hard to Do,” “Thanks for the Memories,” and “Ding Dong , the Streak is Dead.”
Your running streak, whether active or retired, entitles you to USRSA membership. Once your streak reaches a year in duration, you qualify for a permanent USRSA listing. No doubt such a streak will be cherished as much as that dusty running trophy you have on the bookcase, and will be an accomplishment you can happily share with your friends and grandkids, as well as your podiatrist.