Where Are They Now?

The other day I started wondering about some of the people I have written about in my blog posts.  I decided to find out what they had done since I wrote about them.  It was interesting to learn who was still swimming, running, cycling or whatever.  I continue to find their stories interesting and inspiring.  (In case you forgot the details or missed the original posts, I provided links back to them.)

Lewis Gordon Pugh was the focus of a post back in August (Ultimate Ice Water Challenge).  Lewis is famous for swimming in freezing water in places like the North Pole.  In 2014 Lewis became the first person to complete a long distance swim in the 7 seas – Mediterranean, Adriatic, Aegean, Black, Red, Arabian, and North Sea.  During his swims, he saw no sharks, no whales, no dolphins, and no fish longer than 11 inches, a testament to declining marine life.  Lewis hopes his swim motivates the countries bordering these waters to create more marine protected areas.  For everything he has done to bring attention to the health of the world’s seas, National Geographic named him one of its 2015 Adventurers of the Year.

I wrote about William Trubridge back in October (Week 7 of Recovery).  William is still free diving at Dean’s Blue Hole.  In December 2014 he went to break his own record and, despite diving 102 meters on a single breath and without fins, his dive wasn’t officially recognized.  William forgot to remove his goggles on arriving on the surface – disappointing I am sure.  Besides free diving, William has taken up the fight against seaborne plastic, which is having a devastating effect on all kinds of sea life.  Even coral is consuming micro plastic with fatal results.  William has kicked off the #PlasticChallenge to raise awareness and get people involved to save our oceans.

Reza Baluchi appeared in a post about his failed attempt to run from the US to Bermuda in a big bubble (October’s Bubble Running).  His bubble bit the dust when it was being towed back to the US.  Undeterred, Reza is working and saving money to build the next generation of his running bubble.  You have to admire someone with as much determination as Reza.  I just hope the next time he attempts this feat that he has a support boat following him.

Sadly Steve Abraham (January’s 365 Days of Commitment) was only able to bike 3 months, just shy of 17,000 miles in his attempt to break the record for biking over 75,000 miles in one year, one of the longest standing records in any sport.  Steve was cycling 100-200 miles a day when he collided with a moped and broke two bones in his ankle.  He is working on rigging a recumbent trike so he can pedal with one leg.   From someone who crashed and burned while running, my advice to Steve is to sit back and heal.  The record will still be there when he is back to full strength.

Meanwhile, Kurt Searvogel, an American who started his own attempt 10 days after Steve, is still going.  Kurt has covered over 19,000 miles and is averaging over 200 miles a day.  Looking over his progress, I think Kurt is a serious contender to not just break the record but shatter it.

I haven’t heard any more stories about races being disrupted by trains in the middle of the course (October’s Trains and Volcanos).   The volcano part of that post was about the Mt Cameroon Race of Hope.  This year Yvonne Ngwaya won the race.  She has won the race six times – five times consecutively –  and is getting closer to breaking Sarah Etonge’s record of seven wins.  Sarah, known as the Queen of the Mountain, is a local hero in Buea where the race is held.  It will be a sad day when her record is broken.

I have written a couple posts about people who run a lot – as in every day – called streakers.  Take Hal Gensler (July’s Going the Distance).  Back in July he had run 9,000 consecutive days.  Well, now Hal is up to 9,260 days (or 25.35 years).  In January (365 Days of Commitment) I wrote about Robert Kraft who has run over 14,711 days in a row (or 40.28 years).  Robert is still running too.  But neither of them holds the record for the longest streak, according to the US Running Streak Association.  That honor goes to Jon Sutherland with a running streak of 16,759 days (45.88 years).

Kayla Montgomery (November’s Gratitude for the Gift of Movement) finished her first collegiate cross country season last fall as a freshman at Lipscomb University.  Kayla who has MS must still have someone at the finish line to catch her.  She inspires her teammates who realize that Kayla isn’t guaranteed anything, especially the ability to move.  It was an adjustment for her to go from high school competition to NCAA D1 level competition.  But Kayla loves to run and she is going to keep on running.  Take THAT MS!

Holland Reynolds (March’s Pain and Inspiration) is a sophomore now at Colgate.  Holland is doing well both academically and running (outdoor and indoor track).  She has earned a few career bests at Colgate.  Coach Jim’s influence was undeniable when she was in high school.  I bet every time she toes up to the start line, Coach Jim is on Holland’s mind (and I think that Coach Jim is watching her from above too).

In my first post back in June (Observing National Running Day) I wrote about Harriette Thompson who had completed her 15th Rock ’n’ Roll San Diego Marathon and set the US record for the fastest marathon in the Women’s 90-94 category.  Harriet is still running.  In the last year, she has completed some shorter distance races – 5k, 8k, and 4 Mile.  I am interested to see if she will run her 16th San Diego Rock ’n’ Roll Marathon next month.

I also wrote about Reinhardt Harrison in that first post.  Reinhardt is 11-years old now and still tearing up race courses.  The two events where he seems to perform the best are the 5k (where his PR is 19:01) and the half marathon (with a PR of 1:31:33).  His claim to the world record for 10-year olds in the half marathon was rejected (because the original race course was altered after it was certified).  I don’t think it would have lasted long though.  That is one very competitive age for half marathoners.  Who knew?  On March 7, 2015, Jack Butler, a 5th grader who trains with his Boston Qualifier mom, broke the half-marathon record for 10-year olds with a blazing 1:31:08 in the Lucky Run in Davis, California.  Jack didn’t get much time to savor his achievement because two weeks later, Elliot Daniels broke Jack’s record by almost 2 minutes running the Oakland (California) Running Festival in 1:29:14.  Afterwards Elliot said, “It was pretty hard at the end.  I got pretty tired.  But I did it.  I’m happy.”  Funny.  That is how I feel after my races.

While reading about all these 10-year old half marathon phenomenons, I found stories about other young runners (boys and girls, some as young as 6) setting world records in 5k, 10k, 10 Mile, and half marathon distances.  It almost took my breath away.  Hey, US Olympic Team – we got some real contenders on the horizon!

I plan to keep following these people – Kurt and his quest for a cycling record, Reinhardt, Kayla, Holland, Jack, Elliot, and the streakers.  They remind me of what I can do when I put my mind to it.

Interested in the fight against seaborne plastic?  William Trubridge has a contest to see how committed and creative people can get in the fight against seaborne plastic.  See how you can get involved and maybe even win a prize at  #PlasticChallenge