John Devereaux runs during the winter. (Photo/submitted)
By Dakota Antelman, Contributing Writer
Hudson – John Devereaux logs his daily runs in notebooks which he keeps in his Hudson home. Those notebooks, some almost a decade old, now form a large collection chronicling over 3,500 runs through Hudson.
The 51-year-old has been running at least one mile per day every day since Jan. 1, 2008. His feat, known as a “run streak,” is controversial among runners, some of whom fear its health effects. For Devereaux, however, health is the very reason he keeps running.
“You turn 40 and you have to start worrying about things like high blood pressure, heart disease, and things like that – and the constant battle of weight gain,” he said. “Without the streak, it might have been very easy for me to fall off the wagon for my running. My streak makes it so that it’s not a matter of if I’m going to run on any given day. It’s going to be when.”
Devereaux started running regularly in October 2006. He said that, after losing his job that year, fitness became an aspect of his life over which he realized he had absolute control. Though he did not run every day, he logged over 1,000 miles between October 2006 and October 2007.
He then started his streak at the beginning of 2008 with the goal of running every day that year.
On Jan. 1, 2009, however, he decided to simply keep running.
“I’m surprised that it’s continued,” he said. “It’s kind of taken on a life of its own.”
Devereaux’s is one of hundreds of documented run streaks in the U.S. In fact, the U.S. Run Streak Association (USRSA) tracked 786 streaks, ranging in length from just over a year to more than 48 years, on its website as of Oct. 15.
Though enthusiastic about streaks, even the USRSA website acknowledged criticisms of run streaking that say the practice can lead to injuries from overuse.
Since starting his streak, Devereaux has himself dealt with injuries. He suffered a partially torn meniscus when he slipped on ice in January 2015. He ran through the pain of that injury every day even as he delayed seeing a surgeon until November of that year.
He considered stopping his streak as he finally walked into his appointment with that surgeon. He walked out, however, having heard he would not need surgery and that he could continue to run on his knee without causing permanent damage.
“That was good enough for me,” he said. “It was the start of my rehab and the start of my marathon training.”
Though he said his primary reason for maintaining the streak is still fitness, Devereaux indeed began racing more frequently after his knee injury. He placed second in his age group in this summer’s Thomas Clardy Memorial 5k in Hudson and has completed two marathons since the beginning of 2016. As of Oct. 15, he was also preparing for the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, D.C., Oct. 22 where he hoped to qualify for next year’s Boston Marathon.
As he approaches a decade spent running, Devereaux wants to continue his streak and better his performances in races. But, aware of the dangers of streak running, he also said he hopes he can stop if his streak begins to hurt him.
“I think people can easily carry these streaks too far and do things detrimental to their health,” he said. “But I feel like I haven’t done that yet.”