Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Terry Hitchcock's Run

In this space I have written about the feats of well-known runners like Dean Karnazes, Michael Horton, and Marshall Ulrich.  These men are world-class ultramarathoners who have run big miles, setting them apart as ultra-elites.  Joining this small group is Terry Hitchcock, whose mega-marathon run is documented in My Run.  Unlike those other runners, Hitchcock could scarcely have been considered a runner before he decided he would run a marathon a day for 75 days.  But that's exactly what he did, running from Minnesota to Atlanta, arriving in time for the start of the 1996 Olympics.

Hitchcock's wife died of cancer in 1984, leaving him to raise 3 kids on his own.  Shortly after she died, he lost his job.  A decade later, at age 56, he decided to draw some attention to the experiences and challenges of single parents, so he came up with his plan to run to Atlanta.  Although he had not run marathons before, he found a trainer to help him prepare.  He was slow (at one point he said he ran about 8 hours a day), but his endurance held up and he seemed to stay strong.

Besides the painful process of running that far, the other painful part of the film was the dissolution of his team.  He started out with a support team in an RV, but they fled, so he was left with only one of his sons to support him for much of the run.  They did get some free hotel stays, though.  The focus of My Run is more on the runner than the run himself, following his personal journey.  Runners who see the film will probably be asking, How did he do that?  Karnazes, Horton, and Ulrich are seasoned runners with impressive running resumes.  Hitchcock is just a guy.  Which is really the message of the film: regular guys can do the seemingly impossible, whether it's running 75 marathons or raising 3 kids on his own.

Here's his web site:

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