On May 15, Bruce Sherman will do the same thing he’s done every day since May 16, 1978: wake up and go run at least three miles.
The difference on this day will be, assuming all goes as planned, that run will mark the 40thyear of a running streak for him. Sherman, an exercise physiologist, president of GymValet/B & D Specialty Concepts, Inc. and assistant track coach at Beachwood High School, will have run at least three miles a calendar day, every day, for 40 years, and Sherman has no plans of slowing down anytime soon.
The records are kept by Streak Runners International and listed on its site, runeveryday.com. Sherman, 63, ranks 19th overall in active running streaks and he’s tied for the fourth-youngest runner among the top 19. He has a way to go to reach the top active streak, owned by 67-year old Jon Sutherland of West Hills, Calif., who has been running for nearly 49 years.
The rules for a running streak require a run of at least 1 mile every calendar day, though the run can be on roads, a track, on hills or even a treadmill. Sherman said he keeps his own set of rules in addition to the official rules, running at least three miles every day, though he says most days he runs at least six miles. He also has a sub-streak going, running at least 40 miles every week for more than 30 years.
He said the streak started innocently enough, as the last day he didn’t run was the day after he first competed in the 10k for the Revco-Cleveland Marathon, now called the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon. He skipped the day after the 10k due to some graduate school classes, and then started running again.
“After a month I realized I hadn’t missed a day, and it kept on going,” Sherman said. “I almost quit at 1,000 days. At about 9:30 that night, I realized, ‘no, can’t do it.’ And I went out and ran.”
Sherman has run while sick. He once ran after a July 2000 trip to Peru left him with a gastrointestinal bacteria and “sick as a dog.” He said he took a few Advil and went for a 4 1/2-mile run, “praying” he didn’t pass out during the run. He didn’t, though he did end up in the emergency room and required an IV. The next morning, he went out, ran six miles, and found himself back in the ER. The next day, the doctor found an antibiotic to help with the issue. But the streak continued.
He said he’s run with a broken toe – twice – and run at more than 15,000-feet-altitude. He’s run in 124-degree heat helping people run across Death Valley in the middle of the summer, ran at temperatures as cold as minus 24 degrees and run seven miles in 4-degree weather to his own wedding – his tuxedo and shoes were waiting at the ceremony for him. He’s also raced up the stairs to the Empire State Building in New York City, though he said that didn’t count because it was stairs, so he ran three miles later that day to preserve the streak.
When asked why he continues to run as much as he does, Sherman said it’s part of his every day routine and he simply doesn’t know how to go without exercising.
“I’m a professional in the health and fitness field,” he said. “When I train people and tell them to exercise at a certain regularity and say to eat in a certain way, if they came back to me and ask if I ran today and how much weight I’d gain, I’d be able to say ‘yes (I did run today) and zero (pounds gained).’”