Ray fails to break stride in 25-year daily marathon Everyday schedule began in April '67

RUNNING

March 31, 1992|By Michael Reeb | Michael Reeb,Staff Writer

In terms of distance, Ronnie Wong and Bruce Holtman are Baltimore's ultra-marathoners.

And in terms of numbers of events, Bailey St. Clair and Ben Mathews have run more marathons.

But in terms of longevity, Bob Ray is Baltimore's marathon man.

This Friday, barring catastrophe, Ray will reach 25 years of running every day.

Friday, he will reach the 25th-year milestone of a streak thabegan April 4, 1967. It is believed to be the second longest such streak in the world -- second to that of Ron Hill, a native of England and a former Maryland Marathon winner.

Along the way, Ray will have logged 65,114 miles and 9,131 dayof running every day.

For those without calculators, that's an average of 7.13 miles a day, but Ray, being the copious log-keeper he is, is quick to point out that that is average only.

"They vary," says Ray, a letter carrier with the U.S. Postal Service who will turn 55 next Tuesday. "When I'm training for marathons, I go up quite a bit -- to around 80 miles a week -- but it's about 3,000 miles a year."

To celebrate, he'll be doing . . . . what else?

"I'm going to do 10 miles that day with my teammates," he says.

Ray is getting ready for April 20th's Boston Marathon, but surprisingly for someone who has accumulated so many miles, it will be only his 13th marathon.

He says his toughest running days aren't influenced greatly by the weather.

"Working in the weather, you get used to it," he says. "The fiercest time is during an electrical storm."

The easiest running days have come after a marathon.

"You're usually so high coming off a marathon because you've just come off 26 miles that it's easy to go out and do a nice, easy 4-miler," he says.

For future designs, Ray says, "I'm just taking it five years at a time now. If I say I'm going to do another 25 [years], that might be stringing it out a bit. You have these little goals within a goal -- such as 30 years or 1,000 miles."

And for those of you who have trouble summoning motivation when that long training run is waiting but not summoning, the marathon man has this to offer:

"On those certain days, when it's damp, when it's tough to get going and you're scheduled to do a 20-miler, I say, 'We'll start out by going out a nice, easy 10 miles from the house.' That way, when you get back, you'll have your 20 miles."

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NOTES: Packet pickup for Sunday's Oriole Advocates 8K will be held Saturday from noon to 6 p.m. at Memorial Stadium. A pickup truck will be available to take gym bags from Memorial Stadium to Oriole Park at Camden Yards Sunday for the point-to-point race. The race is subscribed fully. Those lucky enough to get in, remember to set clocks ahead one hour the night before for the start of Eastern Daylight Savings Time. . . . The Tri-Maryland Triathlon Club has added two running interval training sessions to its schedule: Thursdays at 6 p.m. at Parkville High School and Wednesdays at 6:30 p.m. in Bel Air. For information, call Brad Jaeger at (410) 882-6103. . . . There were 4,100 finishers in Sunday's Fritzbe's 10K in Rockville.

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