MASSENA Fifty-two years ago, Bob W. White ran his first mile on the track at Massena Central School.
Mr. White returned to his hometown last weekend for the class of 1962s 50th reunion, and he ran what he estimates was the 50,000th mile of his life.
I started running in the spring of 1960 when I went out for track, he said. I ran the half-mile, so thats when I ran a mile for the first time without stopping.
Since that spring day in 1960, Mr. White has run enough miles to circle the world twice. Mr. White acknowledged that his numbers may be off by a little bit, but not much.
I didnt become as fanatical about logging everything until several years later, he said, admitting that the number of miles he ran in high school is estimated based on the number of track and cross-country meets he participated in.
Based on those estimates and his logs, which date back to the early 1970s, Mr. White said, he ran his 25,000th mile in 1988.
At that point I set a goal of doing 50,000 miles in my lifetime, he said.
As he continued running over the years, the miles kept piling up. When he reviewed his running logs in December, he realized he would run his 50,000th mile this year, likely sometime this fall.
Ive been running about 400 miles a year, he said, adding over the past several years most of his running has been in two-mile increments.
The idea of running his 50,000th mile on the track at his alma mater while in town for his 50-year reunion didnt come until spring, when he realized he was closing in on the milestone faster than he had anticipated.
I didnt think about the two coming together until March, he said.
His accelerated pace came as the result of a decision he made earlier this year to begin another streak.
Over the course of my running, Ive kept track of what I call streaks, and I decided I would start another one, he said, explaining a streak consisted of consecutive days of running.
My goal was for a month and I ended up doing three, he said. In the past Ive had streaks of a year or longer.
Mr. White also said there was a time when he ran distances much greater than two miles.
I was in good shape in the mid-70s through the early 90s and in that time I ran in five marathons, including Boston, he said. When I got back into running seriously in the 70s, I went to a lot of races and I couldnt get enough of them, so I organized a bunch of my own.
Among his creations was the Trans New England Relay.
Mr. White and a team of five friends made their way across New England, running in each of the six New England states starting at midnight with the goal being to complete the run within a calendar day.
We made it with an hour to go, he said. After that I thought, What is the most states we could do?
The answer to that question ended up being seven, as he again set out with five friends in a similar run that started at midnight and ended before the next day began.
For that run, Mr. White said, they ran in portions of New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont and New Hampshire.
While some relay members took portions of those two trips in a car, the baton itself was never in a car, with a member of the team running at all times.
Another of Mr. Whites creations, though, did require the assistance of an automobile.
The IDIOTS run brought Mr. White and a friend, Harry Truitt, together for another 24-hour adventure, this time involving running a mile in each of the original 13 colonies, plus Vermont, which was the nations 14th state.
IDIOTS, he said, stood for Independence Day In Original Thirteen States.
According to Mr. Whites logs from that run the day began at 12:02 a.m. in Livonia, Ga., and ended at 10:07 p.m. in Brattleboro, Vt.
Mr. White said he does not have any other adventures planned or any more running goals.
He is the son of William F. and Vera White. He no longer has any family in the Massena area and said his visits to Massena are few and far between, making his 50,000th mile perhaps the most special one hes ran to date.
I came up for my 40th reunion and this is my 50th reunion, he said. This may be the last time I come to Massena.