Ogden Ironmen have logged many miles
WHEELING — Ogden Newspapers Half-Marathon Ironman Larry Jones continues to run at least 40 miles per week preparing for the annual race over each of the past 42 years. When multiplied out, he has trekked a distance equal to more than three trips around the world.
And retired Ironman Mitch Toto may have him beat. He estimated he may have run as many as four times around the equator during past decades.
The Ironmen — both active and retired — gathered Wednesday at Generations Pub in Wheeling to share their experiences participating in the race as they prepare for this year’s 42nd event, which will be May 26 in Wheeling.
There are eight active Ironmen who have run in all 41 Ogden races since 1977. They are David Claypool, Tim Cogan, Pat Cronin, Dave Fiorilli, Steve Habursky, Dr. John Holloway, Larry Jones and Michael Lemaster.
Jones, a former superintendent for Ohio County Schools, has calculated just how many miles he has run since the race’s inception. He continues to run 40 miles a week, 52 weeks a year in all seasons. That comes to 2,080 miles annually.
When multiplied by 42 years, he has run a cumulative distance of about 87,360 miles. By comparison, the circumference of the earth is estimated at 24,901 miles.
Jones said he has experienced no major medical issues resulting from his running, except for arthritis.
“I walk more than I run now, and I don’t care,” he said.
Toto, now retired from the race, said he previously ran 80 to 100 miles each week preparing for the event. He estimated he has run more than 100,000 miles in his life.
“I’ve had heart surgery, arthritis and problems with my foot,” he said. “These days I’m more into walking and biking.”
Cronin said people have to run year-round if they want to participate in marathons, although he said he has never run as much as Jones or Toto.
“I never ran 40 miles a week,” he said. “I never kept track but I know I didn’t run that. Maybe I ran 20 miles a week.”
Holloway said he couldn’t possibly figure out how many miles he has run over the past 42 years. He doesn’t run year-round, but has always started preparing for the race in Wheeling in early spring.
“There is no consistency to my running,” he said. “After the race, I would just quit until the following spring. I wouldn’t start again until a few months before.”
Lemaster said he always used to run 40 miles per week.
“Now I run about 10 to 15 miles less,” he said. “I enjoy it a lot.”
Fiorelli said he used to keep track of how much he ran, and he estimated running 40,000 miles during his life. He said at one time he ran 80 to 100 miles each week.
“Now I run less than 10 miles a week,” he said. “It’s more like I walk and run.”
Cogan wasn’t certain as to just how many running miles he has trekked. Cogan said he used to run 50 miles a week when running marathons.
“Runners always lie,” he said. “I mostly walk now and build up to running.”
(King can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)