Sunday, May 05, 2002

Stump, 65, is on the road again
- for the 177th time



By Michael Perry, mperry@enquirer.com
The Cincinnati Enquirer

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George Stump takes a break from running in Sharon Woods last week.
(Brandi Stafford photo)
| ZOOM |
        George Stump can't pick a favorite marathon. Can't decide on a favorite course or location or experience.

        That is understandable. He has so many choices.

        The 65-year-old Sharonville resident has run in 176 marathons since 1993. Today's Flying Pig will be No.177.

        He has run in small marathons such as Juneau, Alaska, (“I think we had 32 finishers”) and big ones in Chicago, New York and Boston.

        Stump has run at least one in every state (Utah in 1998 completed that task). He has run the JFK 50 Miler, an ultra-marathon near Hagerstown, Md. He has run as many as 27 marathons in one year (twice), and he has run marathons on back-to-back days roughly 10 times.

        Heck, he just ran three in April (Nashville, Tenn., Toledo and Ellerbe, N.C.).

PIG OUT
  • Complete race details at Cincinnati.com/flyingpig
  • Watch the race at wcpo.com
  • Race results will be posted this afternoon at Cincinnati.com/flyingpig
        “You just get rolling on them,” Stump said. “It got to be kind of a habit.”

        It's the running and the sightseeing he likes. He visits zoos and parks and museums in other cities.

        In 1997, at the suggestion of a friend from Sharonville living in England, Stump went overseas to run the London Marathon. He also ran in Paris and Rotterdam, The Netherlands. Three marathons in three weeks.

        Stump once did six in six weeks. His best time was three hours, 28 minutes (Erie, Pa., 1994).

        Only once has he started a marathon and not finished. That was in Port Huron, Mich., the day after a 15-mile race in Charleston, W.Va., after which he drove directly to Michigan.

        “I probably should've just signed up for the half (marathon),” Stump said.

FLYING PIG MAP
map
Click to view zoomable map
(24K Acrobat PDF file)
FLYING PIG HISTORY
    2001 winners: men's, Rudolf Jun (2:28:07); women's, Rebecca Gallaher (2:50:50); wheelchair, Vern Achenbach (1:53.47)

    2000 winners: men's, Jun (2:23:04); women's, Gallaher (2:49:31*); wheelchair, Franz Nietlispach (1:35:07)

    1999 winners: men's, Elly Rono (2:21:15*); women's, Sommer Settell (2:58:10); wheelchair, Saul Mendoza (1:30:46*)

    * Record-

        Stump keeps results of his races in a worn manilla folder. Marathons, ultra- and mini-marathons, 15Ks, 10Ks, 5Ks, 10-milers, 15-milers ...

        He said he has competed in 1,079 races, including last week at Kettering. The most was 38 in 1990.

        He started running in 1982 when he did three races. His first marathon was in February 1993 in a small town west of Dayton. He got off the path and went 2miles out of his way. Stump finished in 4:45.

        Three months later, Stump ran in Pittsburgh.

        “This isn't too bad,” he thought.

        Two weeks after that, it was Cleveland, where he qualified for the Boston Marathon at age 56.

        Stump is a Pennsylvania native who taught English and history in Cincinnati for 28 years before retiring in 1990. He spent four years at Mariemont High School, eight at Princeton and 16 at Sycamore.

        He thought his distance-running days might be over when he had surgery on his left knee in December 2000. Part of his cartilage was torn, and another part was disintegrating, he said. Doctors encouraged him to find another recreational activity.

        He ran last year's Flying Pig, five months after his operation. Today is his 14th marathon since the surgery.

        His only complaint: “I haven't had a respectable time in a year and a half.”

        Stump is not impressed by his marathon and race totals and said he has come across people who have run more. He has trouble explaining why he is able to races race so often. His best explanation is that he sleeps well, which allows him to recover well.

        When he talks about what he loves best about the marathons, he mentions the people he has met and the crowds cheering.

        “It's putting you against the course and the elements,” he said. “It's a challenge. You exert yourself, hopefully not beyond your limits.”

       



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