NEW PALESTINE — The inside lane of the New Palestine High School track was full of water. The thunder and lightning overhead had stopped, but the rain continued to fall.
Still, the foul weather didn’t keep Chuck Myers, the New Palestine High School cross-country coach, from running at least a mile around the track late last week.
In fact, nothing keeps Myers from running. Nor rain, nor sleet, nor snow or sore muscles. Myers is the running man, literally, and has run every single day for the past 13 years.
“I’ve got no desires to stop anytime soon unless something should happen, so I’ll just continue going on,” he said.
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Thursday marked the 5,000th consecutive day Myers has run at least a mile and on many days it’s been further distances.
It all started back in 2003 when Myers, a runner since youth, woke up on New Year’s Day and decided he wanted to set of goal of running every single day for the next year.
Not only was he able to achieve the goal, he’s still running to date.
Myers, 41, of Indianapolis, admitted he’s got a great love for running, something he did for Ball State University; but he’s also a little quirky when it comes to the sport and keeping the streak going.
It hasn’t always been easy, fitting in a run every single day, particularly one night when time was running out and Myers was stuck in an airport overseas.
He actually had to run in the parking lot of London’s Heathrow Airport when a flight connection was delayed in order to keep the streak alive.
“I went through customs, did all of that, got out, ran in the parking lot and came back in,” Myers said with a laugh.
Myers has not only run every single day since 2003, it means he has to run every where he goes, including on vacations, birthdays, holidays, and sometimes in odd spaces.
There are tales of Myers and his best friend, Ben Staab, running on a landing strip in the middle of the bush in South Africa where they had to be guarded by a man with a gun, so wild animals wouldn’t get them.
“Only somebody crazy would run 5,000 days straight,” Staab said.
His wife, Valarie Myers, said she knows how much running means to her husband. She said it’s been “neat” watching him achieve his goals.
“When he sets his mind to something, he gets it done,” she said.
Valarie and friends printed up T-shirts listing all the places in the world he’s run, including Iceland where it was freezing cold. They passed the shirts out to the school’s cross-country team members who ran with their coach on his special 5,000th day.
Gabe Eckler, a senior runner, is inspired by his coach’s dedication to the sport. Eckler remembers meeting the coach 10 years ago when his brother ran cross-country for the school and Myers was an assistant coach.
“He’s taught me consistency and perseverance through the years,” Eckler said. “You just know he hasn’t felt like running every single one of those days.”
While Chuck Myers is glad to hear his runners look to him to learn leadership skills, he wasn’t even coaching back in 2003 when he started on his quest, he said.
He simply started running because, he liked it and he could.