BALDWIN, Pa. (KDKA) – The coach of Baldwin High school running programs has run at least 1 mile every day for almost 30 years — until today.
The running streak of coach Rich Wright will be broken on Christmas Eve as he prepares to have surgery.
Runners he has coached came out to join him for that last mile run on the 10,736 day of his streak.
Wright started the streak back in 1990 and fell just a few months short of 30 years.
During that time, Wright faced all kinds of weather and it never slowed him down.
It could be minus-10 degrees and he’s running inside our school,” Baldwin High School Athletic Coordinator John Saras said.
Wright is facing severe back issues that don’t allow for him to have feeling in his right foot and he needs to have surgery.
“It weighs heavy on my heart. I’m feeling the emotion. I really am,” Wright said at Baldwin High School.
The impact of Wright’s coaching was evident when dozens of runners filled the Baldwin track to run alongside him on Tuesday.
Even runners from other schools stopped by to honor the running legend.
“I don’t think you’ll find a single person he’s come in contact with that he hasn’t touched in a really positive way,” Paul DeGregorio from the Baldwin Class of 2011 said.
Wright went around the track with some assistance but during the last 100 meters, former runners DeGregorio and Andrew Kuchta helped him go across the finish line standing up.
“It’s really emotional because I’ve run on this track,” Kuchta said. “Run races where I’m sprinting down the finish and seeing him there at the end and give him a hug at the finish.”
“It’s kind of fitting and comes full circle that I can help him through his last 100 meters,” DeGregorio said.
Wright is not sure is he will be able to run again but he certainly hopes to try.
“If they can brace me up, I will run again. I want to from the bottom of my heart,” he said.
Wright’s streak is impressive for non-runners, but it’s also incredibly impressive for athletes. The United States Running Streak Association keeps track of running streaks like Wright’s and he’s sitting at 67th place in the top 100.
Coach wright will be ending his 10,736 day running streak due to an upcoming surgery. He will be running with his athletes tomorrow at the BHS track at noon to end his streak. We hope that past and present athletes, friends, and family can join!💜💜
— Baldwin Cross Country💜🏆 (@bhs_xc_) December 23, 2019