PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Former high school basketball coach Les Shoop doesn’t know how many paths he’s traveled. But he does know that he has run at least a mile on 12,420 consecutive days.
“I coached at Punxsutawney and I gained some weight,” he recalls. “I was up to 192. And I said this can’t continue to happen. So I began actually running to lose weight.”
That was 34 years ago. It’s the 38th longest string in the nation, according to the United States Running Streak Association.
He has fought through illness and injury, and the most intolerable running day ever.
“It was at Punxsutawney,” he says. “I remember the Bengals played the 49ers on a Sunday, and it was minus-61 wind chill. And that was cold. I’ve run along the Hudson River in New York City. I’ve run on cruise ships, 42 times around the upper deck, and that is a mile.”
On Sunday, he and his daughter, Lindsay DeFelice, will team up with his other daughter and two friends, to run a relay in the Pittsburgh Marathon.
They have a special reason for running that day. The front of their shirts will honor his youngest son, Jordan, who has multiple sclerosis.
“Makes him feel good that we care enough about him to raise money, and to put his name on the front of his jersey and to run and raise money, knowing that he has MS,” his father says.
Meanwhile, the streak continues.
But has Les ever considered taking a day off?
“No,” he says. “Because I’m afraid if I do that, I will never run again.”