The Family That Runs, and Runs, Together

"Run streaks" are one of the weirder and more fascinating artificialities of running culture. And no one does them like the Pearsons.
Share |
Sure it looks like fun, but... oh, wait.

Image via Flickr user Kharied.

On September 3, 1994, eight-year-old Joel Pearson laced up his sneakers and went for a mile-long run. Every day since—more than 6,500 total—the Bellingham, Washington native has covered at least 5,280 feet, battling bumps, bruises, illness, the weather in his home state ("Three hundred days of rain," he says.), and other obstacles that would deter a less determined or, perhaps, simply normal human being.

Pearson's nearly 18 years of daily running is impressive. It is, however, nowhere near the longest active streak. There are more than one hundred so-called "run streaks" longer than Pearson's. The 26-year-old coach understands this fact. He's confronted by it every day, in an unusually intimate way—one of the names high on the list bears the Pearson surname. Joel's father, Jim, sits third. The former national champion and American record holder in the fifty-mile run began his run streak on February 16, 1970 and hasn't missed a day in nearly 16,000 twenty-four-hour periods.

"Just after college, my coach told me that I had to get more consistent. So I did. I kept a diary [of the miles I ran]. I put in a zero in on February 15, 1970. I didn't want to put a zero in again," he says over the phone while riding shotgun in his son's truck. The two are remarkably close. They coach together, the son now taking the lead with his 68-year-old father adding the lessons he's learned during a life spent running.

Jim and Joel are bonded by a love of their chosen sport and their strange, daily quest. Younger Pearson may never have started, however, if it wasn't for the influence of his older brother, Hopper, who currently boasts a run streak of almost three years. "I was looking at my dad's trophies in the basement," Joel says. "My brother told me that if dad continued to run every day until that February, he'd have his twenty-five years. That was the spark. I wanted to run with him to hit twenty-five years. I don't know if I was thinking clearly. I talked to dad about it and he wasn't too thrilled about it."

"I didn't want to do it," Jim says. "I was a teacher, and I'd run to school. Then, I'd run with the kids I coached, and then I'd run home. I told Joel I didn't want to wait a half hour and then go out again. He said he'd be waiting. I wanted to run at least a mile, because we live down a steep hill and I wasn't going up it unless we ran at least a mile."

"I didn't think he was going to do it for very long. I guess I was wrong," the elder Pearson says, laughing. Joel keeps driving.

***

Run streaks are a weird phenomenon. They are an entirely created entity. Jim didn't even know there was a name for his accomplishment until more than five years had passed. He ran, figuratively, into Ken Young at the fifty-mile nationals and the pair started talking. Pearson told Young he'd been going out every day, and Young said he'd been doing the same. Running streaks, gradually, became a thing with Young, who ran—again, figuratively—the national running data center, leading the way. He told Runner's World when he reached his 15-year mark, and the discipline gained more legitimacy at least among the subset of distance runners. Earlier this year, Young tore an adductor muscle near his left groin and ended his streak after forty-one years, 204 days. He's back running today.

The increasing popularity of run streaks mirrored the growing popularity of the sport. The United States Run Streak Association, Inc.—www.runeveryday.com, of course—currently boasts 334 people on its USA active list and another 231 on the retired list, including two Pearsons: Joel's uncle Don and his sister Paige. One of Joel's ex-girlfriends and his current girlfriend are also members of the club. "That wasn't planned," he says. "That just happened."

Officially, a person only needs to run a single mile a day to continue the streak, but neither Pearson adheres to this philosophy. Joel says he decided very early to run at least five kilometers every day, and he's pretty much done so ever since. His father estimates he's run over 175,000 miles during the past 42 or so years, averaging hundred-mile weeks for an 11-year stretch in the middle.

Both Jim and Joel have seen their streaks almost end. While the son's near-misses are the type of difficulties one would expect to have to overcome—a battle with pneumonia, a particularly scorching day in New Mexico—his father's tales are more dramatic. He hurt his knee helping out at Paige's play and couldn't stand the next day. Jim tried to run six times with increasing amounts of tape on the joint, but nothing worked. He accepted that the streak over until Joel came home and urged him to try once more. After protesting, the elder Pearson agreed. "I was swinging my arms wildly and holding my breath," Jim says. "We got through one-point-one miles."

A few years later, he was in Spokane, Washington running in a race. It was fourteen degrees, and winds gusted up to 55 miles-per-hour. Jim was struggling to breathe and found himself in last place. A race official asked him if he was okay. "I said yes, but I'm thinking, 'If I die, this is going to put a really bad name on the race, but if I don't get past the mile mark, I'm going to have to drive four hundred miles home and go running again,'" he says. "I kept going." Joel met him at the point-eight-mile mark and the pair finished together. They later found out the winner was blown off the course at one point.

Jim's closest call, however, came a month before the forty-year anniversary of his streak. As it turned out, the major reason for his troubles in Spokane was blood clots in his lungs, a symptom doctors diagnosed during a hospital visit weeks later. The nursing staff—a few of whom he had coached as high schoolers—were (understandably) reluctant to let him run, but Jim was determined. "[Joel and I] went for a walk and I found this really long hallway. I paced off the hallway and I figured five and a half trips would be a mile. I still didn't know what I was going to do it. And I was in my hospital gown," Jim says. "I went back to my room. Joel brought a long-sleeve shirt, and we snuck by the nurses' station. When we got to the hallway, I took off the gown, put on the shirt, and ran. At one point, there was a nurse in the hallway, so I hid. I ran six times down and back, just in case I mis-measured."

***

The thing about run streaks, of course, is that it's impossible to catch a person ahead of you until he or she stops running every day. Mark Covert and Jon Sutherland sit ahead of Jim by roughly 603 days, and they don't appear ready to give up soon. "The sad thing about moving up is the guys ahead of me are significantly younger. The leader looks like he could topple over any day, but Sutherland is tall, mean, and lean, and still races pretty well," Jim says. If a Pearson is going to hold the run streak record, it will likely be Joel. But first, he'll have to catch his father.

Can he? "I don't know. I'm going to keep adding days just in case. … He could catch me," Old Man Pearson says. "My dad lived until 79, but shoot, that would only put me at 53 years. But my mom's alive at 90, so I could go a few more."

The observation isn't morbid; it's fact. Son follows father follows son, running out and running back again.


Share |

Comments

I truly inspired after read this on account of some quality work and educational musings . I just wanna express profound gratitude for the author and want you to enjoy all that life has to offer for coming!. HVAC repair

How Millennials Use Dropbox to Organize Online Coursework
Masters Degree

This is extremely fascinating substance! I have completely appreciated perusing your focuses and have reach the conclusion that you are right about a significant number of them. You are extraordinary. http://revit.aedsoftware.info/

That's what makes you the best. You should keep publishing more articles and you will Such Become One of the best writers ever
pacquiao vs horn

Much thanks to you a cluster for offering this to every one of us you really acknowledge what you are discussing! Bookmarked. It would be ideal if you additionally look for exhortation from my site =). We could have a hyperlink change contract between us! Fencerepair.kinja.com/

Much obliged for setting aside an ideal opportunity to examine this, I feel emphatically about it and affection adapting more on this theme. Webhosting

Mod Apk
To say the truth I am very impressed by what you told. You share tons of interesting info, neat and excellent design you’ve got here. It’s certainly one of the most informative stuff on this topic I’ve ever read.

Upvc Windows
upvc Windows, Double-glazed windows, Two-piece PVC windows, Sale of old iron furniture replacement, Sale of double-glazed windows

I appreciate what you have done here. I like the part where you say you are doing this to give back yet I would expect by every one of the remarks this is working for you too. cheap 55 prints

This is really the sort of data I have been attempting to discover. Much thanks to you for composing this data. tatuaggi piccoli

I truly inspired after read this on account of some quality work and educational musings . I just wanna express profound gratitude for the author and want you to enjoy all that life has to offer for coming!. carpet protector

A debt of gratitude is in order for this extraordinary post, i discover it exceptionally fascinating and extremely well thoroughly considered and set up together. I anticipate perusing your work later on. affordable postcard printers

It is a free versatile application which has a large number of dynamic clients over the world.get free instagram followers | get free likes on instagram

دانلود قسمت 11 یازدهم سریال عاشقانه رایگان, دانلود رایگان سریال عاشقانه, دانلود سریال جدید عاشقانه ایرانی دانلود سریال عاشقانه با لینک مستقیم, دانلود فیلم های جدید و برتر, دانلود رایگان فیلم و سریال با لینک مستقیم
دانلود قسمت 11 یازدهم سریال عاشقانه رایگان

"Boredom is a killer—which is why a cure for boredom can be a lifesaver.

The truth is, portable Bluetooth speakers have been the handheld solution to elevate the moment, whether at the beach, the middle of a party, or a lazy afternoon at home for years now—and your brand can get in on that excitement.

Right now—with C2BPromo.com, you can put you logo on a wide array of Promotional Bluetooth Speakers, in all different shapes and sizes, from waterproof to resilient wood—with models coming in at 6-7 dollars all the way up to high-end luxury designs. Multiple surfaces on almost every customized Bluetooth speaker can showcase your logo—so no matter which way it’s turned, your name is always center staged." Branded Bluetooth Speaker

It"s proper time to make a few arrangements for the future and the time has come to be glad. I have perused this post and on the off chance that I might I be able to wish to propose you few intriguing things or guidance. Maybe you could compose next articles alluding to this article. I yearning to peruse considerably more things about it! cheap designer dresses online

The author of your blogs and articles and contents is appreciating.world dreams

sbobetonline
I’m excited to uncover this page. I need to to thank you for ones time for this particularly fantastic read!! I definitely really liked every part of it and i also have you saved to fav to look at new information in your site

As the power of PageRank is getting lower, flow metrics matter. Google gives a huge importance to metrics like domain authority, trust flow or citation flow as a ranking factor. trust flow

The caliber of collection that you are providing is but marvelous.Homepage - crasharenaturbostarshacks.com

It feels great to feature much revealing and unequalled articles on your websites.sound amp and subwoofers

As the power of PageRank is getting lower, flow metrics matter. Google gives a huge importance to metrics like domain authority, trust flow or citation flow as a ranking factor. high trust flow backlinks

io games list

I am genuinely thankful to the holder of this web page who has shared this wonderful paragraph at at this place

I'm happy I discovered this site, I couldn't discover any learning on this matter former to.Also work a website and on the off chance that you are ever inspired by doing some guest composing for me if conceivable don't hesitate to tell me, im dependably search for individuals to look at my site. Basement Waterproofing Middleton NJ

I felt exceptionally glad while perusing this site. This was truly extremely enlightening site for me. I truly preferred it. This was truly an agreeable post. You rock!. adu q

This is a fantastic website and I can not recommend you guys enough. I really appreciate your post. It is very helpful for all the people on the web.
italian designer brands

txts.ms
You have done a great job. I will definitely dig it and personally recommend to my friends. I am confident they will be benefited from this site

I needed to thank you for this phenomenal read!! I unquestionably adored each and every piece of it. I have you bookmarked your site to look at the new stuff you post. window repair

I went over this site and I trust you have a considerable measure of superb data, spared to my bookmarks home care in Anderson

Yes i am completely concurred with this article and i simply need say this article is exceptionally pleasant and extremely instructive article.I will make a point to be perusing your blog more. You made a decent point however I can't resist the urge to ponder, shouldn't something be said about the other side? !!!!!!THANKS!!!!!! Domino Online

I definitely enjoying every little bit of it and I have you bookmarked to check out new stuff you post.amour

This is great work from your side, my friend. I just hope that you can continue this in the future as well amazing selling machine

content from being healthy to apply your own designs, warm Print u.s. also gives man or woman templates you could use on your tatty ebook printing supplement layout. affordable flyer printing philippines

I guess this message is totally unparalleled. schambergs disease

You completely match our expectation and the variety of our information. Mikrowelle Test

This applies especially to the rural areas which are attached to their cities where people work.freetourstockholmcity

Unbelievable job mates, I enjoy going through your articles.FFXIV Guide

his article. It's exceptionally comprehensible and exceedingly wise. You have even figured out how to make it justifiable cartomancie gratuite

Your contents are wonderful and advisory. Charleston SC Water Heater Repair

Also great blog here with all of the valuable information you have. Keep up the good work you are doing here. www.signalboosteruk.co.uk

This is cool post and i enjoy to read this post. your blog is fantastic and you have good staff in your blog. nice sharing keep it up.
buy instagram views

Awesome web journal you have here. You'll find me taking a gander at your stuff regularly Electricians Crawley

Likewise help you to figure out how to get more twitter devotees, so as to pull in more individuals.redmi 4 pro

You make such a variety of extraordinary focuses here that I read your article several times. Your perspectives are as per my own generally. This is extraordinary substance for your perusers. fruit

WordPress themes
This is cool post and i enjoy to read this post. your blog is fantastic and you have good staff in your blog. nice sharing keep it up.

Your contents give me more creational ideas that I can possibly use on my web page too.jane

Goodness, cool post. I'd like to compose like this as well – requiring significant investment and genuine diligent work to make an incredible article… yet I put things off an excessive amount of and never appear to begin. Much appreciated however. porn cccam server

Super site! I am Loving it!! Will return once more, Im taking your food additionally, Thanks. affordable flyer printing leeds

They’re also accumulating quite a collection of third party 4K movies and shows and now also offer a limited but growing selection of 4K ultra HD HDR content for compatible HDR TVs like Sony and Samsung’s 2015 and 2016 4K TV models. popcorn flix movies

Awesome post, and extraordinary site. A debt of gratitude is in order for the data! soundcloud likes