By Beau Seegmiller
Running has been a big part of Duane Evan’s life from childhood to retirement. It has contributed to his health, well-being, and most significant relationships. Out of all these benefits, running has taught Duane the value of persistence.
“I remember as a kid running because walking was too slow.” Growing up in The Dalles, Oregon, cherry orchards lay on the mile long path between Duane and his friend’s home. He started walking and realized it was taking forever. “So, I ran.”
There were not a lot of organized sports for kids living outside of town. That left running and hiking in the hills. “Running was something that we just ended up doing…Mom would ring the cowbell and we had to be home by the second bell.” Climbing around up in the hills behind the house meant that when the bell rang “we had to run!”
Duane runs now more for well-being and the relationships he creates in running. “I feel a lot better when I run than when I don’t.” He misses a couple of days of running and knows he needs to get out there to feel right again. Running also makes relationships more significant. “You can’t run with someone very long without getting to know them. All pretense is gone…you end up being who you are.”
While running in high school cross country Duane encountered a major hurdle to running: injuries. During his senior year he developed micro tears in the meniscus of his knee. This injury stopped his running and he was not able to compete in college. He was not sure he would ever be able to run.
Eventually, symptoms cleared and he started running socially and considered competing his senior year of college. He kept running. “I ran into my late thirties and that is when I set all of my PRs (personal records).” Then those micro tears emerged again in his forties and stopped him. He did not run from 1999-2012.
Then Duane ran into an old training partner and got inspired to run again. Now he was a bit older and overweight. On this journey back into running Duane developed injury after injury. Instead of just stopping he discovered the key to overcoming injuries: “Persistence, persistence, persistence…keeping after it. Everyday I am going to do something…I am going to ride a bike, walk, do what I can do. I gradually came back.”
Of the process Duane says, “It was so hard…Now I am 45 pounds lighter and feel a ton better than I did about six years ago.” Persistence was and is the key.
Duane has also learned to appreciate being able to run. He reflects on running and thinks, “I better enjoy this because it can get taken away from you pretty quickly.” He celebrated this ability by running in the Boston Marathon last April. To say the weather conditions were not ideal would be an understatement: cold rain and a fierce headwind tested Duane’s enjoyment. He missed his goal time by just ten minutes but was able to qualify for next year’s marathon, which he will be running.
Duane has pursued running with persistence and the key has been “learning patience with injury and how to really keep after it and persevere to figure out what you can do” to get back to running. “I can’t run the way I want to run. I can’t run where or how I want to run. But maybe I can cycle a day or two” or run on a treadmill or elliptical. Like Duane’s former running partner, he certainly inspires Boise Area Runners to keep after it and persist!
See you out on a run!