Roger Nelson has run 102,344 miles (May 31, 2023)

Roger Nelson

Colleyville, TX

Roger Nelson (right) with 
Steve DeBoer

Born: June, 1950


Growing up in northern Wisconsin, I was a good athlete (captain of the football, basketball, and baseball teams). I did not run other than as “punishment” associated with the athletic teams. I did not pursue collegiate sports, but continued to be involved in recreational leagues. In 1978 while living in Lincoln, Nebraska, my wife convinced me to go out for a run with her. 

That first night I ran 1 mile. The next night I ran 2 miles. The third night I ran 4 miles. On the fourth night I ran 8 miles. On the fifth day I drove to downtown Lincoln to the Pheidippides store and bought a pair of running shoes in hopes of relieving the shin splints caused by the Nike Blazer high top basketball shoes I was running in. 

After running in an organized race, I found I could be successful in age group competition. I ran more and began to train seriously. For the next ten years I would run 1 or 2 marathons a year and several shorter races. Having moved from Lincoln to Omaha to Denver to Minneapolis I found running communities in each of those locations. I started “streak running” on 8/1/81, and was number 19 on George Hancock’s original list. 

While in Minneapolis, I was a sponsored member of Steve Hoag’s Marathon Sports Racing Team (1986-87). In 1988, I ran my last and fastest marathon at Twin Cities (2:40:46). When I moved back to Denver in 1988, I started cycling seriously in preparation to be a competitive Master’s Biathlete (later name changed to Duathlete). I also continued to get faster on the run and on the bike. In 1992, at age 42, I ran 16:14 5K, 26:54 5 mi., and 33:59 10K. That year I finished 6 th at the Coors Light National Biathlon Championship in the Masters classification and was rated in the top 10 U.S. Masters Duathletes by Triathlete Magazine. 

Small nagging injuries contributed to a decline in performance, along with not wanting to break my streak running. In retrospect, some time off probably would have been beneficial. I now participate in one race a year…..the 4 th of July 5K we sponsor at our summer cabin in Wisconsin. 

I am now in my 4 th running streak since 8/1/81. The first lasted 25.5 years and was broken due to a hip impingement. The 2 nd streak lasted 10.5 years and was broken due to ruptured L3-L4-L5 disks. The third streak lasted 4.5 years and was broken due to a quadruple bypass heart operation in January, 2023. (none of those injuries were experienced while running). My fourth streak started on March 1, 2023. 

I crossed the total lifetime running mileage threshold of 100,000 miles in September, 2021. I have detailed daily training logs from 1979 through the current day. In addition to running mileage, since 1998, I have cycled 103,000 miles; and, since 2011 I have ridden an Elliptigo 43,000 miles. (every day is a triathlon). I credit my fitness level as being key to a recovery from the bypass.