“People know this, I’ll go up and back and up and back. They’ll go out for errands, come back hours later, and I’ll still be here counting off the miles.” Marking off his neighborhood into one mile increments, Rob Kriegshaber spends his early mornings training for half marathons and marathons. At the age of 69, Rob has raced in 13 marathons and currently has his eyes set on number 14, which will be his first race back after recovering from a 2020 diagnosis of Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma.
It’s Rob’s mile mentality that has propelled him through several decades of racing, overcoming meniscus tears, hairline fractures, the Boston Marathon Bombings, and his 2020 diagnosis. “It was my mentality as a runner, my quirky thinking, how do I make this into some type of race. So I split up my chemo into a marathon calendar, dividing my treatment days by 26.1. It has made everything I’ve ever done easier, chopping it up into little pieces, even if I’m just raking leaves I look at sections. Maybe a psychologist would have some fun with that.”
His training approach is relaxed in nature, “You can fake a half marathon, but you can’t fake a full. I say take it one step at a time and build up your increments, it’s not how much you run but the quality of your runs.” His easy-going training philosophy translates into mowing the lawn for recovery after a run or even racing in the sneakers he wears to play tennis.
Looking forward, Rob’s goal is to complete a half marathon in preparation for the 2022 Boston Marathon as a fundraiser for the Leukemia and Lymphoma society. “I was supposed to have run my last marathon, I’ve lied a few times about a race being my last, but now I’m trying to lie again.”
This feature is written by GetSetUp Journalism Fellow Karissa Schumacker, student at the University of Wisconsin Madison.
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