I walked stride-for-stride with Jim Simpson for about 10 minutes Wednesday morning. I turned back when we were done chatting. He kept going, on and on. He’ll keep going, on and on and on.
Simpson has completed 1,051 marathons. He was in Warwick’s City Park on Wednesday morning with 42 other marathon adventurers who are part of the New England Challenge, a string of five marathons in five states in five days. It’s not glamorous – I’ve seen high school cross country races with more excitement – but it’s incredible nonetheless.
I spent part of the morning with them – Simpson and a man attempting a world record and two wheelchair racers and the guy who brought them all together.
I concluded that they’re all a little bit crazy. When you decide to do 160 marathons in a year like Trent Morrow or you drive a camper around the country running marathons for 25 years like Simpson, that word is part of the deal. It goes with the territory.
But it’s a good kind of crazy. It’s the kind of crazy that has you believing, firmly, that anything is possible.
We could all use a little more of that kind of crazy.
Morrow is raising money for cancer research by attempting to set a new Guinness World Record for marathons completed in a calendar year. He’s done 52 already but you’d never guess. I looked more tired than Morrow did.
Simpson has finished more than 1,000 marathons. He brushes it off like it’s not such a big number, saying that it just adds up eventually. He has seen the country, 26.2 miles at a time.
Aaron Roux and Grant Berthiaume are wheelchair racers, one a paraplegic the other a quadriplegic. Nothing in life is easy for them, and yet they’re doing 50 marathons this year to raise money for the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation.
Chuck Savage, who organized the event, has run more than 300 marathons. He’s done all 50 states three times and is working through a fourth go-round.
He says it’s been a joy – a chance to see the country, a chance to meet great people, a chance to challenge himself in a way most people would never dream of.
This marathon habit is clearly not for everybody – physically or in terms of lifestyle.
But the attitude that fuels it can be an example for all of us.
It’s hard not to get swept up in it. In between laps, I grabbed Morrow for an interview. He asked me if I wanted to run with him and talk as we went.
“I don’t think I’d make it very far,” I said.
And I wouldn’t have, but for a split second, I wanted to do it anyway, just to give it a shot. Just to see what was possible.
Yeah. It’s a good kind of crazy.
William Geoghegan is the sports editor at the Warwick Beacon. He can be reached at 732-3100 and williamg@ rhodybeat.com.