RAINSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) — It can be hard to get into the groove of running regularly — but could you imagine running 1,000 days in a row? That’s the feat one pair of Rainsville runners have achieved.
Runners Jerry Clifton and Pam Willingham started running in April 2020, just as the COVID-19 pandemic swept over the world, shuttering places like gyms and other fitness facilities. The global virus didn’t stop the pair from exercising though.
“What I told Pam was, ‘let’s run until the end of May’ and just see what happens,” Clifton said. “She reluctantly agreed!”
They started out with three or four days per week before Clifton learned about “running streaks.”
According to the National Running Streak Association (NRSA), to achieve a run streak you must run one mile every calendar day. The run counts no matter if it was outdoors or on a treadmill.
Clifton asked Willingham to join him in the effort, but she said no more than 100 days. Now, it’s been 1,000 and counting. No matter rain, snow, or shine, they’ve kept the run streak going.
“She said, ‘Okay, I’m not going to run any more than 100 days,’ then she said ‘I’m not going to run any more than 200 days,’ and then she said, ‘Okay, I’ll run one year with you and that’s it’,” Clifton explained. “Now here we are, and this April, if we make it, will be three years.”
Clifton told News 19 he’s been active for the last 17 years — but running was a more recent exercise for him. He was first invited by a group of women from a Pilates class at Body Vision.
“I told them, ‘You know that’s something I’ve never done is run,’ and so they immediately said ‘Well come run with us’,” he said. “I remember I ran probably about a mile and a half before I had to stop, and then we walked and talked, and ran some more.”
“Jerry’s Crazies” also became part of Clifton’s running routine.
The “Crazies” are known for doing, well… crazy runs. Clifton says the most insane runs his group has ever done include a 12-mile race in Helen, Ga. that was uphill for eight miles, the Big Sur marathon in California, and the “Crazies Trifecta,” or three half-marathons in three days.
In addition to his daily running and the “Crazies,” Clifton also manages the Rainsville Freedom Run, which celebrates 15 years in 2023. This year’s race will be held on Saturday, June 10.