Jared R. Beads, 68, 'running machine' who ran his way into Guinness book


For Jared R. Beads, the Westport marathon runner known as the "human running machine," taking a daily 26-mile run was as much a part of his normal routine as eating breakfast, going to work and spending time with his family.

Mr. Beads, in "The Guinness Book of Records" for five years for having the longest nonstop run, died Saturday at Frederick Villas Nursing Center in Catonsville of complications from a stroke suffered several years ago. He was 68.

The familiar runner, who seemed to be all over the city at once in his running prime, was known not only for his unconventional approach to the sport but for his persistence as well.

His 121-mile, 440-yard nonstop run completed in 22 hours and 27 minutes in 1969 at Dulaney High School on a humid, 96-degree day landed him in the Guinness book. The record lasted until 1974, when Australian Tony Rafferty set a new endurance mark by going 140 miles in 30 hours and 15 minutes.

Far from being angry that his record had fallen, Mr. Beads was jubilant. "This is beautiful. I'm happy for him. That's what records are for -- to make other men strive to equal or surpass them," he said.

Mr. Beads had just completed his daily run in 1992 when he suffered a stroke that ended his running days.

Nationally known, this quiet man competed in six Boston Marathons. Twice he completed the 80-mile round trip from Baltimore to Washington and then celebrated by taking his wife out dancing.

Mr. Beads didn't have a coach, trainer, fancy running gear or sponsor. His footwear was often a pair of rippled-soled street shoes or a pair of work boots. His attire was a T-shirt and an old pair of shorts. He often wore out 12 or more pairs of running shoes a year.

His practice tracks were the city streets, Druid Hill Park and, more often than not, the exhaust-shrouded shoulder of the Baltimore-Washington Parkway or the Beltway.

"He even ran with arthritis in his right knee. He wasn't about to let that stop him," said a daughter, Myra L. Iler of Reisterstown.

He was still entering marathons in his 60s and came in third place in the over 60-division of the Tour Baltimore Marathon in 1988.

Mr. Beads was born and raised in Mount Winans, Southwest Baltimore, and was educated in city schools. He was employed for 33 years as a maintenance worker at Maryland Glass Corp. and retired in 1978.

Mr. Beads, who lied about his age to get into the Navy as a teen-ager during World War II, began running after he abandoned a budding career as a pugilist.

He was 6 feet tall and weighed 140 pounds, and followed a diet that would make a regiment of Johns Hopkins physicians wince.

He ate raw beef, raw eggs, apples, grapes and orange juice. Before running to Washington and back, he breakfasted on six raw eggs, a glass of milk, two fried eggs, two pork chops and a slice of toast, and washed this feast down with a cup of tea.

"It makes your wind last longer," Mr. Beads said at the time in an interview, "and you'll notice that I ran a mile every 7 1/2 minutes."

The father of eight, Mr. Beads and his family would run a mile together each evening after dinner. He attributed his desire to run to the fact that it made him "feel good."

Mr. Beads married his wife, the former Mary Smith, in 1959. They reached an agreement about his running early in their relationship.

He often liked to run all night before returning to work the next day, but Mrs. Beads, who was busy raising a family, had a different idea. The couple compromised on the 26-mile figure.

A popular figure in his Westport neighborhood, Mr. Beads liked to relax over a couple of National Bohemian beers and hang around the Faidley's Seafood stall in Lexington Market, where raw oysters were his favorite lunch.

"Running is one of the best medicines there is, and if I could live to be a thousand years old, I'd still be out there running. Keep running and keep living, believe me, that's it," Mr. Beads said.

He was a member of the Harbor City Striders and the Road Runners Club.

Services will be held at 11 a.m. today at Mount Winans Methodist Church, 2501 Hollins Ferry Road, where he was a member.

In addition to his wife and daughter, other survivors include four sons, Carl E. Beads and Jared R. Beads Jr., both of Baltimore, Don J. Beads of Catonsville and Jared Curley Beads of Maitland, Fla. three other daughters, Vanessa R. Beads and Valerie Beads, both of Baltimore, and Shelia Jackson of Hamilton; three step-daughters, Carlotta Robinson of Columbia, Janice Miller of Baltimore and Helen Mitchell of Las Vegas, Nev.; a brother, Calvin Beads of Severna Park; a sister, Geraldine Brady of Baltimore; 28 grandchildren; and eight great-grandchildren.

Pub Date: 7/10/96

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