"...I was about 29 and about 60 pounds overweight...on most days, I didn't know if I would make it back home."
Roger on his initial 1.5 mile runs.
"I was at a 10K race in the late seventies in Minot and ran a 32:14 and got eigth. I couldn't even see some of the leaders!"
Roger on the deep fields in ND in the "old days".
North Dakota Runner
1/2 Marathon 1:12
I started running in high school, but after graduation, I fell way from it for many years. It really wasn't until I was about twenty-nine and about sixty pounds overweight that I decided to start running again. I started running about a mile and a half each day and on most days, I didn't know if I would make it back home. My poor wife would sit at home on standby timing me, staying close to the phone just in case a quick call had to be made to the paramedics. Like most things in life, the more time that I put into it, the easier running became and the more weight came off. I don't know if it was the enjoyment of being outside, seeing the sights, or just the feeling of getting in better shape, but it was then that I can say that my passion for running started to develop.
After about three months of running, I started to feel good about myself and got a little over-ambitious and decided to run a marathon in Grand Forks. After the first couple of miles, I questioned the wisdom of my decision and around the ten mile mark, I realized that I had bitten off more than I could chew. I didn't finish. I didn't let that discourage me, though. I kept running, entering smaller races, and increasing my times and distances. The next year, I finished the marathon. From that point, until I was about thirty five, my running skills kept improving. When I was in my prime running condition, I would runn about seventy miles a week. A vast improvement from the mile and a half that I had begun with.
Currently, I occasionally enter a track race or a 5K. Some of my favorites are the Prairie Rose Games or the Senior Sports Games. I mostly run for fun and to keep in shape. I try to run about twenty to twenty-five miles a week.
One of my favorite memories about running is the friendshis that I acquired at the different events. It is almost like a big family held together with the common bond of running. At each race, I had come to know who would be there and looked forward to catching up with them. The other thing that I enjoyed about running over the years is the opportunity it gave me to travel to places that I would never have visited. The excitement of running in the Boston Marathon, the sights in the Black Hills, and the hot weather down in Tucson all offered different scenery, different challenges nad different people.
To a certain extent, running has ruled my life. My family planned vacations around races. Most summers, we were in a different town every weekend. It allowed my children to see much of North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota. So, it have also been one of the most fulfilling aspects of my life.
My favorite race to run is the Spearfish Canyon Run. I enjoyed the beautiful scenery in the canyon and the cool, November weather. My favorite workout is on the track. I do repeat 400's and repeat 5 minute runs.
Some other last tidbits about my running career:
I won the first "I made the Hill" race in Bismarck
I won the ND marathon and the Minot 1/2 marathon in 1979
I was a member of the Prairie Dogs running team
Editor's Note: Roger apparently had an influence on his son, Barry, as Barry is a very good runner in his own right. He was frequently seen on the ND running circuit, but has recently relocated to MN.