| (Note: This article appeared
in the May/June 2002 issue of Inside Texas Running. It is updated
here through November 22, 2002.)
As most of you know, streaking back in
the 70’s meant that you ran across a stage, ball field or
some other public place in your birthday suit. While this
fad passed, there is a new fad among some runners – streak
running. This means that you run every day without missing
a day. Some runners have been streaking for years, but only
in the last couple of years has streak running taken on a life of
Thanks to the effort of a dedicated group of streak runners on the
east coast, the United States Running Streak Association (USRSA)
was formed in November 2000. The USRSA initially published
a list of 128 streakers. However, early in 2002, it was discovered
that some on the list had not run at least a mile on each day, which
had always been understood to be the standard. By majority
vote of those on the list, it was decided that to maintain a streak
you have to run at least one mile each day under your own body power,
without the use of any type of health or mechanical aid other than
prosthetic devices. Based on written statements from each
streaker attesting that they met this criteria, the USRSA published
a new list in March 2000 with 86 streakers. The current list
has 90 streakers. While any streaker can join the USRSA, they
cannot get on the list until their streak is at least one year long.
The longest streak in the United States belongs to Bob Ray, 65,
of Baltimore Maryland. He started his streak on April 4, 1967
(35 + years ago). Seven other runners also have a streak over
30 years. The longest streak in Texas belongs to Walter Byerly,
72, of Dallas. His steak started on November 5, 1974, over
28 years ago. The longest female runner streak belongs to
Margaret Blackstock, 58, of Atlanta, Georgia, who started her streak
on September 9, 1979.
Streakers are grouped in five-year increments by the length of their
streak. These range from the “Masters” (30+ years)
down to the “Neophytes” (less than 5 years), like myself.
Here are the 8 Texas runners on the list, starting with the
place number on the national list.
||William R. Anderson
||Roger H. Nelson
||Ronald K. Kallinen
||Susan L. Jones
||Mark K. Hall
Why do people run everyday?
I never heard a doctor recommend such a thing. Most
reasonable people will tell you that you should rest at least a
couple days a week. I cannot speak for other streakers, but
I do it because it forces me to run on a “regular basis.”
I hate to run and streaking forces me to overcome all the reasons
(excuses) I used for skipping days. Now, if I skip a day it
would be like smoking another cigarette after quitting so many years
ago. I would be hooked again and would go back to my old
ways of skipping too many days. Streaking is like going “cold
turkey.” You build up increments of time. The
more time you build, the more motivated you are to keep it going.
I have never been to a streaker convention or had much interaction
with other streakers. However, from what I have read in the
USRSA newsletters and on the Internet, most streakers are just addicted
to running and are probably half nuts. There are stories galore
about streakers running under unusual circumstances. One even
ran a mile in the hospital on the same day he had prostate surgery.
That’s determination! While on most days it is
easy to get in a run, there are days when you have inflamed feet
or knees, a fever or other physical problems. Then, there
are days that it is almost impossible to find time to run.
The worst are the days when you have a mental block against running
and you just do not want to run. Obviously, besides building
in motivation to run on a consistent basis, there are other benefits
to running everyday. I have found that streak running builds
strength and endurance for those late miles in the marathon or ultra-marathon.
I am also convinced that the daily exposure to the elements
builds resistance to the flu and other ailments.
If this article motivates you to start you own streak, join the
United States Running Streak Association, get your lower extremity
surgeries out of the way and then consult with your doctor (psychiatrist
UPDATE: On December
15, 2002, the day after running the Sunmart 50K Trail Run and two
weeks short of a 5-year streak, Ken had an emergency appendectomy.
After surgery and recovery, he started a new streak on December
28, 2002. That streak is still going, but he is at the bottom
of the national streak list.