Corum Hughes has explored many aspects of running across his life and has come to the stage where when I asked him what was the most significant peak of his running he said, “I think I am in my high point.” Corum recently completed his second marathon this last May in the Famous Idaho Potato Marathon with a 3:37:09 after training consistently through Boise’s most brutal winter in years. He has learned many lessons and experienced many aspects of running; his story goes all the way back to his childhood.
Running started in the fourth grade in Fredericktown, Missouri. The intermediate school he attended had an old dirt track next to it. For PE class all the kids would run laps around the track and collect a straw for each lap completed. Most kids walked and socialized as they went. Corum collected the most straws out of all his classmates. His PE teacher encouraged him and later told his parents that he had a lot of potential as an athlete in life.
When Corum reached high school he ran the two mile in track. He liked the challenge and that few others were willing to run that event even though he would consistently get lapped in races. Corum was a lineman on the football team in the fall, so it was no surprise when, in Corum’s words: “Coach came up to me and said, ‘I don’t think running long distance is your thing.’” Corum finished out high school track with some successes throwing the shot put and discuss.
It wasn’t very long before Corum was inspired to run again when he became interested in an attractive cross country runner. He ran with her, and he ran outside of running with her, so that he could get in better shape and impress her more. It must have worked since she later married him!
After high school, Corum ran a lot more and lost a lot of weight. “I liked the challenge of running from one town to another.” The idea of competing with himself on runs began to take hold. He enjoyed seeing how far his body could go. The high point at this stage was to run all 16 miles to a neighboring town.
His first inspiration for running a marathon came from an English professor who was in the middle of pursuing a goal to run a marathon in all 50 states. Corum learned from her that a marathon is a technical distance (26.2 miles) and the seed was planted. Later, while attending school in Chicago, Corum signed up for the Chicago Marathon. Woefully underprepared, Corum did complete the entire marathon but everything from mile 16 to the end was agony. He swore he would never run another marathon without adequate preparation.
Eight years later and a move to Boise, Corum joined the Boise Area Runners – The BAR and discovered the power of a community of runners who hold similar goals. Marathon training is much more effective when done with others with similar paces, sharing different phases and stages of a training cycle. “A lot of the lessons I have learned about running have been slowly learning how to do it correctly.” Whether that be the idea that shoes matter or overstriding slows a runner down, Corum has drawn a lot from the runners around him.
Today, Corum still runs for the health benefits and to see if he can do that next marathon faster yet (he is signed up for the California International Marathon in December). But, he is also running more in the now. Instead of focusing on what will happen in the next minute or when his run is over, he takes each moment and struggle in to make the most of it. Running consistently and feeling the improvement his body makes through conscientious training, Corum is pleased to say, “I am a runner.”
See you out on a run!