A reluctant runner conquers his world

How many people who don’t enjoy exercise manage to trick themselves into running 19,000 miles?

To keep himself interested in running, he devised projects such as running every road and street in Wells County and running in all 50 state capitals. (And that's just a fraction of the accomplishments you'll find in his notebook.)

To keep himself interested in running, he devised projects such as running every road and street in Wells County and running in all 50 state capitals. (And that’s just a fraction of the accomplishments you’ll find in his notebook.)

Retired principal Jim Schwarzkopf, the topic of this week’s News-Sentinel column, figured out a way to make his workouts more interesting. And now he’s not only still at it, 34 years later, but at 77 he’s an energetic advocate for creative self-discipline.

The other interesting thing about Schwarzkopf’s project is that he provides a plausible model for  runners who worry about building up too much oxidative stress. I’m still not convinced that’s much of an issue myself, but even if I was worried about the possible effects of overdoing it, I’ve had trouble imagining how running could be as interesting if you took away speed or endurance goals.

Schwarzkopf doesn’t fret about how fast he goes, and he never runs more than 3 miles every other day. But he’s built something tangible with his running, and it’s become somewhat of a passion for him. He’s also way more energetic than you’d expect for a guy his age, which is kind of funny when you think he got into running because he was tired of being tired.

Jim Schwarzkopf adds another 3 miles to his goal of running every road and street in Wells county -- for the second time.

Jim Schwarzkopf adds another 3 miles to his goal of running every road and street in Wells county — for the second time.

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