Tumbleweed Smith
Tumbleweed Smith

Running is like breathing to Dave Dial, who lives on the family ranch near the community of Grovetown, just outside of Crockett. In terms of lifetime running distance, Dave ranks number nine and is moving up. He has run more than 203,000 miles. The top runner in lifetime miles is 85 years old and lives in California. He has run over 300,000 miles.

I had no idea there was even a running category for lifetime miles, nor did I know there was a ranking among the top 10. Only 10 people in the US have run more than 200,000 miles.

Dave has been running since he was five and started keeping records at age 16 after getting acquainted with Running Magazine. He runs twice a day:

10 miles in the morning, eight miles in the afternoon. He has not missed a day of running in13 years and has the records to prove it. He keeps a notebook of his miles and puts down time, temperature, where he runs and how long it takes to run a mile.

“I usually run a mile in 7 or 8 minutes,” says Dave. “In the morning that takes me about an hour and 15 minutes. The afternoon run takes just over an hour.”

Although Dave gave away all his trophies and ribbons there is one record he is proud of. In his earlier days, he entered the Boston Marathon.

“When I was 19 I set a record that still stands for the junior class. That’s for runners 20 years old and under. I ran it in two hours, 24 minutes and 18 seconds. That’s averaging five and a half minutes per mile for 26.2 miles.”

Dave turned 60 this summer. He weighs 130 pounds and stands just under 6 feet. He has planned his running schedule based on previous years. When he was 38 in 1998 he reached his first 100,000 miles. Here it is 22 years later and he has added another 100,000 plus miles. At that rate he’ll reach 300,000 miles at the age of 82, He says he doesn’t feel his age.

Skechers Sport Shoes provides running footwear for Dave. Prior to reaching his 200,000-mile mark Skechers made him a special pair of shoes with the number 200,000 on them. He was wearing them when he reached that milestone.

“I was really kind of depressed after that because that had been my goal for such a long time. So I thought I would reward myself. I bought myself some ice cream, something I hadn’t tasted in 40 years.”

Dave was a math major at Lamar University in Beaumont, then went into actuarial consulting and later coached track. He writes Haiku poetry because he likes the math required (five syllables, seven syllables, five syllables). He created this while running:

I seek shade-cloaked roads
To fill them mile after mile
With summer’s footfalls.