Going the distance: runner from Verona to hit 50,000 lifetime miles

Nathan Strutz has been logging his runs since 1991.
Published: Sep. 1, 2021 at 5:15 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 1, 2021 at 6:35 PM CDT
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VERONA, Wis. (WMTV) - Nathan Strutz didn’t necessarily set out to be a runner. The sport is something he more or less stumbled into as a child.

“I was a hyper kid and we lived in a cul-de-sac, and every so often my mom would say you’ve got too much energy, run down to the end of the street and back,” Strutz said.

Strutz, now 50 years old and working as a pastor in Verona, is still running, even if it’s not through his Racine childhood neighborhood.

From his cul-de-sac, Strutz moved on to his high school track team. When he saw the sign-up sheet for the 3200 meter was relatively empty, he put his name down, thinking it would mean less competition. Little did he know he was volunteering to run a distance of about two miles.

Despite coming in last place at his first meet, he didn’t give up, running long distance through high school, and continuing on into college where he eventually started running even longer distances, including marathons. At that point, it became clear running would be part of who he was.

“I would say in high school, I was somebody who ran,” he said. “But when I got to college, that’s when I became a runner, running all year round, watching what you eat, really tracking times.”

For Christmas of 1990, Strutz received a running log to keep track of his miles run.

“Since 1991 I’ve written down how far I ran on every run,” he said.

It was looking back on those notebooks of miles when he realized that if he continued on his pace, at 50 years old, he would hit 50,000 lifetime miles run.

“I’m a very competitive person and I found that running was a good outlet for that, you could always compete against yourself at your own time,” he said. “No matter where you are at, fast or slow, or old or younger, there’s always that ‘how did I do against myself?’”

Strutz plans to hit his 50,000 mile mark at the Verona Hometown Hustle Twilight 5k run on Friday, Sept. 3.

Through the years, Strutz hasn’t slowed down, continuing to run nearly every day. That also means he hasn’t yet paused to consider his accomplishment.

“I guess I haven’t often stopped to think back about what a blessing it’s been and how cool to have all these years and all these miles and all these shoes and all the bib numbers and everything else,” he said.

While his years of marathon running are behind him (Strutz ran 10, including the Boston marathon), he said he will continue running as long as he can.

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