I train, if you can call my jogs training, in the Rockies of Colorado. Much of my running is on the dusty mountain roads of the backcountry, and it is not unusual to come across deer, coyotes and occasionally even a bear or two. But mostly it is all pretty benign.

So I was pretty much unprepared for the wild animal show I got this week during a run in Maremma on the Tuscan Coast.

I was staying in a town called Riotorto and decided to head to the highest point I could find so that I could get a view of the Mediterranean Sea about 3 miles away. As I ran through the streets up to the top of town, it was over 90 degrees, but a wind was blowing from the sea and cooling it a bit. When I got to the top the view was magnificent, as the Island of Elba loomed just off the coast. I stopped to admire the scene and spied a fire road that went even higher, so I headed out once again.

Not more than 100 yards up, I heard a commotion and, just to my left, there was a passel of eight enormous, I mean HUGE, pigs, or wild boar, and a bunch of babies. They were, thankfully, scurrying away from me, so I stopped and stood as still as possible as they ran away.

I was reminded of an encounter my friend Cathy Jahnke had a few years back in Phoenix, when she came across a large wild pig. Had it not been for the prompt action of her dog, Jagger, it is not inconceivable that she could have been seriously injured. Unfortunately, I was without Jagger.

Of course, all is well that ends well, and I was able to retrace my steps back to Riotorto and proceed to my hotel.

And then that evening in Suvereto, at the superb l’Ciocio restaurant, I had the last laugh. I ordered Cinta Senese, or, Tuscan pig, served in seven ways.


Pig- Seven Ways 

Pig- Seven Ways 

A Tuscan Pig gives a serious glance

A Tuscan Pig gives a serious glance


Please go to to donate and help purchase a Bionic Exoskeleton Suit

Please go to to donate and help purchase a Bionic Exoskeleton Suit

When I was a freshman in college at the University of Colorado, forty-two summers ago, I had a girlfriend from Columbus, Georgia, named Peggy.

She took me home that year to meet her parents and, while there, she told me she wanted to go say hello to her dear friend, Jimmy, and asked if I would mind coming along. I didn’t know their relationship so, with some trepidation, I said sure. And on a scorching hot Georgia afternoon we took off and drove through the town to a community hospital. I thought as we got out of the car, ‘maybe Jimmy is a doctor or something,’ but I refrained from asking. I just felt that if Peggy wanted me to know she would tell me.

As we walked in, everyone at the front desk greeted Peggy as an old friend. “How was college? How’s your mom and dad?” It was clear she’d been here many times before. She kissed everyone, answered their questions and then smiled and said, “Lets go see Jimmy.”

We climbed a flight of stairs and walked down a long hall. Some of the doors were open and I could see patients inside. When we got about mid-way down the hall, Peggy turned into one room and shouted, “Hey Boy!!”  As I walked in, I saw Jimmy. He was lying in a bed with a tracheal tube in his neck, weighing in at about 100 pounds, under a thin white sheet, obviously immobile.

II was beyond shocked. And at that moment, I remember being very, very afraid. How do I handle this? What do I say? Should I shake his hand?

It turned out Jimmy was a star on the Columbus, Georgia, football team. After his junior season, he and some friends went for a late-night swim in a pond. A shallow pond.  Jimmy dove in, hit a rock and never played football again.

In fact, he never took a step again.

At that time, that type of injury was it for Jimmy. Though he greeted me like a long lost friend, I could see in his eyes that he wanted nothing to do with me. As I said, I knew not what his relationship to Peggy was, but I was standing there with her and he was going to be in this bed for the rest of his life.

I don’t often think about it, but occasionally it comes back to me. And it did as I slept this weekend. The look of resignation on Jimmy’s face was one of the most disturbing things I have ever seen.

But that was then. This is now.

Today, I know young people who have survived horrendous accidents. Young people who have been immobilized by spinal chord injuries from skiing accidents, car accidents and other seemingly innocent endeavors. But today they are filled with hope. Hope that they will walk.

For the first time in the history of man we are on the verge of providing technology to those with spinal chord injuries that will allow them to step up and stand tall.. This is the first generation that may one day look forward to escaping the clutches of their injuries and actually take steps.

So it’s funny how things come full circle. Four decades later, I still remember the “Hey Boy!” and seeing Jimmy for the first time. In some ways it may have shaped what I’m doing now with “The Running Decathlon.”

Help us purchase a bionic exoskeleton suit for the Bridging Bionics Foundation.

Helping someone walk again is as simple as lifting a finger.

Donate now.


7:05.76. One for One in Rome

This is the 1,914th consecutive day that I have run and it was as fulfilling as the previous 1,913 combined.

The first race of “The Running Decathlon,” the Mile at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome, was an imposing opening. And I crushed it.

My 7:05.76 was more than 20 seconds better than what I needed to reach the “half as fast” goal I had set in my Quest to run “twice the time” of Hicham El Guerrouj when he set the world record. On the same track, literally in the footsteps of where Guerrouj set the record, I ran the fastest mile of, well, my life.

I am off to catch a train and will post more later, but I must acknowledge the entire crew from the Stadio Olimpico who helped make this possible. From Andrea Santini to Tommaso Sagramola, and my “rabbit” Gabriele Pattumelli, who dragged me around the track, the Roma contingent could not have been more hospitable.

Now is the time to make a donation to the Bridging Bionics Foundation and help us further the Quest to raise the funds for a Bionic Suit. Mille Grazie to the Kitchen-Kovachs and the Cheezelady and the Poetess and the Frequent Flyer and others (you know who you are) for their generous support.

Next week: The 1500.



A little hot, a lot jet-lagged, and more than a bit nervous, I find myself in awe of what I am doing tomorrow.

The Opening Ceremony of the 1960 Olympics in Rome's Stadio Olimpico.

The Opening Ceremony of the 1960 Olympics in Rome's Stadio Olimpico.

There is no earthly reason why a 60-year-old recreational runner should be rising at dawn to run a Mile race in the footsteps of the greatest miler ever on the track of Rome’s Stadio Olimpico. But…here it goes.

My hotel is just down the block, literally, from the Coliseum, which was the site of one of the epic Olympic events from 1960, when Rome last hosted the Olympic Games. There, Abebe Bikila ushered in the era of the African runners when he won the Marathon, in the darkness of the night, after running 26.2 miles barefoot.

This was the Olympics where, in the stadium in which I take the track tomorrow, Armin Hary of Germany ran a 10.2 to set a World Record in the 100m.  Wilma Rudolph won not one, not two, but three Gold Medals in the sprints. Herb Elliot of Australia crushed it in the metric mile with a dominating performance. And this was the Olympics where Cassius Clay, at the ripe age of 18, won the Olympic Gold Medal as a Light heavyweight.

All are inspiring.

Rome is bidding to host the Games again in 2024, and the Stadio Olimpico is destined to play a key roll in the Games if they are awarded to Rome.

I hope to run well tomorrow in a stadium that may once again play host to the Olympic Games. 



I have to come clean.

A few months ago, when Kelly told me about his idea to run the top 10 most-contested running races … half-as-fast as the current record times … on the tracks that the records were set …

And that he would do so to raise money to buy a bionic suit (a what?) for Amanda Boxtel’s Bridging Bionics Foundation …

And that he was doing it in honor of his 60th birthday...

And that the first race would be in Rome...

I rolled my eyes.

It was typical Kelly.

After all, there was the winter he skied every run on all four Aspen Mountains. The summer he ran from Glenwood Springs to the top of Independence Pass (in intervals, but still). He’s run the Big Sur Marathon a couple times. And he has a 1,910-day running streak (and counting). Oh, and then there was the day he skied Aspen Mountain at dawn, hopped a plane and surfed Waikiki at sunset.

But here we are in Rome.

And, Thursday, July 7, Kelly will run the Mile in the Stadio Olimpico, on the very same track and on the very date that Hicham El Guerrouj set the world record of 3:43.1 in 1999.

He’s been training. He’s ready. And he’s determined. It’s off to the races, for real.

I couldn’t be more proud.




The Stadio Olimpico on a hot July afternoon

The Stadio Olimpico on a hot July afternoon


Feats don't fail me now.

Feats don't fail me now.

It has not been that long (just two months) since I decided I would create my own “event” and try to complete “THE RUNNING DECATHLON,” a concept that I conceived out of thin air.

The beauty of “The Running Decathlon” is that the only rules, the only expectations, the only things that I have to do, are determined ... by me. I am the Roger Goodell, the Thomas Bach, the…who is the new FIFA guy? (Gianni Infantino), of my own event. I set the dates. I set the venues. I set the ultimate goals for what is and what is not permitted.

Of course, I do have an ultimate goal of raising enough money through “The Running Decathlon” platform to purchase a Bionic Suit exoskeleton for the Bridging Bionics Foundation this year. And I do not mean to suggest that I will not be determined and disciplined in my endeavor to complete all 10 races in my stated “Half as Fast or in Twice the Time” as the current records. And I will do all that is within my power to run the races in the footsteps of the fastest men on earth.

But, damn it, I will enjoy it. This is a personal quest and to get bogged down in the details is not the point. The point is … to do something. To live life. To be independent. And to hopefully achieve something that is healthy for me, my family, my friends, and those who will one day avail themselves of the benefits of the Bionic Suit.

As my wife and I head out today on our trip (self-funded) to run these races, I vow to have a great time and revel in the experience. I love to run and consider myself fortunate to be able to so. So no apologies. I will do the best I can and hope to complete the Quest. On my terms.

Happy Independence Day. 


Packing for a five-week trip to Europe, where I expect it will be hot, humid, crowded and well, at times a bit unpleasant, the obvious question was “What am I going to wear?”

 Fortunately, thanks to the great and good folks at AETHER (“eee-thur,” so you know), I am fully prepared.

Nicky Byrnes show off the AETHER product 

Nicky Byrnes show off the AETHER product 

 Following an introduction from John Fray to Nicky Byrne, the manager of the Aspen store, we shared our race2walk2016 program with the AETHERmtn team. Without missing a beat, they immediately came back with a “we’d like to help.” It seems that they were fans of Amanda and her mission and, being good eggs in the community, thought that putting me in their clothes was a good idea.

And so … AETHER decked me out me with running clothes, and city clothes, too, for my trip.  I packed them up and still had plenty of room. My bag had not been so light in years. It’s in the cloth. The fabrics are stretchy, they dry fast and they revert to like-new right away.

The product...pants shirts jackets for a Roman Running Holiday

The product...pants shirts jackets for a Roman Running Holiday

 The store, on the Cooper Avenue Mall, is one of the coolest shops in town. The clothes are fitted, comfortable, reasonably priced. I felt great in everything I tried on. Shorts. Pants. Jackets. T’s. Check it out.

The Fitting with John Fray at Aether

The Fitting with John Fray at Aether

I’ll keep you posted on how they work as I head out on my running journey.



IT'S THE PEOPLE (and my dog Vino)

Ted Hoff gives Vino a little love. 

Ted Hoff gives Vino a little love. 

This is the final Saturday night here in Aspen and I’m feeling a touch melancholy about leaving such a beautiful place for five weeks in peak season.

But a runner’s gotta do what a runner’s gotta do.

The last two months, and, yes, it has been just two months to the day that this plan was called a go, have seen an amazing number of people step up and do some amazing things to help us along.

You can start with Amanda Boxtel, the Aussie Queen Bee, who sets all things in motion.  But that would be obvious. Besides, she will be making many appearances in this space over the next year.

But, unmentioned so far is the Bridging Bionics crew, who have been so inspiring, smiling, and working and working and smiling, as they go through their daily therapy. Win Charles told me how she works out every day to stay strong. Mackenzie Langley walked across a stage and Tim Burr put on the Bionic Suit for an outdoor jaunt . All to my utter awe.  Physical therapists, Maria and Tammy, put me in the Suit for a “beat the rain” stroll on the Aspen High School track.

In the years I have left I will never forget any of them.

And there are so many others. Emmy Winner Greg Poschman and his crew, including Alan Becker and Michael Stevens, have shown up to produce a pair of terrific videos that explain what we are trying to do better than I can in words. Of course, the words written by wordsmith Greg Lewis also clarified, for me and everyone involved, what race2walk2016 is all about.

Of course, family and friends have weighed in. My sister, Sudie, saw a post and called one day out of the blue to make everything brighter. And my mother calls each afternoon for instructions on how to follow her son on social media. Joe and Nancy Nevin bought in early and have not only been the key rocks in the wall, but have been so brilliantly supportive that we don’t even realize how much we have imposed.

Then there is Ricki McHugh, who knew that the most important thing is that my wife – the real most important thing - was comfortable in Rome. Ricki made arrangements to insure that. There are no words, Rikki.

 And so many others.

But one I must single out is Ted Hoff. Ted takes care of the best dogs in the world at his Cottonwood Ranch and Kennel in Crawford, Colorado. They are the best dogs in the world because they stay with Ted. In other words, any dog that stays with Ted becomes a better dog.

In all the craziness of getting ready to go for five weeks, we got a call from Ted. He said he would look forward to taking care of Vino, our dog and one of the aforementioned best dogs in the world. And he would like to do it as a donation to the race2walk2016 effort. Yes, my wife cried.

Anyway. Happy Independence Day. And to all whom I mentioned, those who I failed to mention, and to those who are reading this, THANK YOU.

  We should be in for a fun ride.    

Bob Costas Comes to Aspen

As "Inspiration Week" continues, before "Fly to Rome" week begins, an amazing thing happened.

Bob Costas of NBC Sports and the host of the Rio Olympic Games, serendipitously appeared at my metaphorical doorstep here in Aspen when he came to speak at the Aspen Ideas Festival. Naturally, I cornered him and told him about the race2walk2016 project.

Being Bob, he listened intently and, by the time I was done explaining the details and asking him to make a video supporting the project, he was not only on board, he was more articulate about our goals than I am.

Under threatening skies, Bob came to the Aspen High School track, where I have been training, and, with generosity and warmth, spoke with Amanda Boxtel of the Bridging Bionics Foundation, speed coach James Aldridge and myself about the project. I can’t tell you what a boost it was to have him say kind things about both “The Running Decathlon” and our goal to buy a Bionic Suit.  We will be rolling out the videos that we shot over the coming days and weeks as Bob prepares for the Olympics and I run my races.  

I also had the opportunity to walk in the Bionic Suit for the first time. As Bob posed questions, I was able to experience what it is like to be assisted by a robotic device as I walked down the track. It was, on the one hand, a bit ungainly, and on the other a complete revelation. Bionic suits can help people make the transition from not just sitting to standing, but to actually walking. They are the future

Stay tuned to facebook at race2walk2016 or follow our blog posts here at Donations are beginning to come in and we had two generous commitments this week from Laura Riegel and Michael Fuller.

We are on our way. July is Run Month. 


 Sure, it may look like a motley crew of runners gathering for a barefoot jaunt across the Aspen High School football field. But these are the Aspen Trail Heads and they include some of the toughest high altitude trotters to be found anywhere above 8000 feet. 

There are marathoners, Grand Traverse-rs, Leadville 100 competitors and some 5K and 10kers in this group that gathers every Tuesday at 6:30am for workouts under the, er, steady watch of running guru Trey Barns.

 Heard this week: "Yeah you can run 12 miles there without fallin' off the Continental Divide once!" The reply? "That sounds sick bro."

 Anyway, as this is "inspiration week," I have to acknowledge them for letting me tag along these last few weeks as I get ready for race2walk2016. (Not laughing at the oldest and slowest is not what every running group would do.)

I'll be thinking about the group on Tuesdays as I train in Europe for the races. First race: July 7 in Rome.

Thank you guys.


RUN SCHEDULE 6/24/2016

The quest to complete “The Running Decathlon” and raise funds for the purchase of the Bionic Suit has daily twists, turns and adventures.

Today was a great day as the call came from Rome confirming that we will be able to run the mile and the 1500m in the Stadio Olimpico, site of Hicham El Guerrouj’s world record runs.  

The Rome Stadio Olimpico

The Rome Stadio Olimpico

The schedule for completing the events is fluid based on stadium availability, funding, travel schedules, etc. But, as of today, June 24th, this is the schedule for the completion of each event. These dates could change and it is possible that due to stadium avails that I may have to run adjacent to the stadiums rather than in them.

But my goal is to run each event on these dates in the footsteps of champions.

To support our cause please make a donation at the Pay Pal Button on this site. 100% of all donations made on the website will go directly toward the purchase of Bionic Suits.

With your help, people will walk.

 RUN SCHEDULE 6/24/2016

July 7, 2016                          Stadio Olimpico,   ROME                   Mile    

July 14, 2016                        Stadio Olimpico,  ROME                    1500m

July 29, 2016                        FBK Stadium,  HENGELO                  5000m

August 2, 2016                     King Baudouin Stad., BRUSSELS      100000

August 5, 2016                     Olympiastadion , BERLIN                  100m

August 5, 2016                     Olympiastadion , BERLIN                 200m

August 8, 2016                     Olympic Stadium, LONDON              800m

                                                SPRING 2017

TBD                            SEVILLE                      400m

TBD                            LISBON                       Half- Marathon

TBD                            BERLIN                       MARATHON

It's just fun to run.

Race2Walk Blogs

Track Date June 23, 2016 - Two weeks until the Roman Mile.

Observed: an ever-aging, ever-widening, ever-tightening celestial body lumbering through the cosmos at mock speed. It ain't pretty.

That's basically the scene on summer mornings when I work with ex-Notre Dame running back, and current Aspen High School track coach, James Aldridge, in my pre-dawn "sprint" sessions. To his credit he does not snicker as he puts me through drills to improve my fast twitch capabilities. Like I ever had fast twitch capabilities. I'm all about fat twitch.

Anyway, the deal is, it doesn't matter if I lumber at mock speed with fat twitch muscles. What does matter is that I can still get in the blocks, rise to position at "set," get a little nervous before "go" and feel the explosion when I burst from the blocks. I can lift my knees, focus on the rubber ribbon of track ahead, power my arms and just ... run as fast as I can.

I feel so fortunate to be able to do that, no matter how funky it may look or how slow it actually is. I feel great just running.

And it's not just because I'm 60. An age at which there not many attempting to sprint. It's because I have the honest to god great good fortune of having my health.

As of this Track Date, June 23, 2016, I can run.

Not everyone is as fortunate. There are many who would love the opportunity to get up too early and head out and go through the paces – but can't. Maybe it was just a bad break. Maybe it was genetics. Whatever the reason, some just can't right now.

Please join me as we do what we can to help others walk. Maybe one day, even run.

Please help purchase a Bionic Suit for Bridging Bionics Foundation. Donate at

Let the sleeping dog lie...

When I launched this quest to help the Bridging Bionics Foundation raise cash for Bionic Suits I thought, I'll just tie it together with The Running Decathlon and go and run some races. Little did I know how many elements were involved with creating a concept and executing it.

"Be careful what you wish for" said my Friend Joe Nevin. He was right. There is an incredible amount of work to be completed from making contacts, establishing social media sites, planning travel, and of course trying to get in shape. 

Of course the hardest t part of it all is that I will miss my dog when I head out to run the races on the Fourth of July. Maybe Vino will just stay asleep in his perch until I get back 

Working The Blog... two weeks until ready set go!

Sitting here in Woody Creek where ghost of Hunter S. Thompson rolls around. This is the outdoor office where race2walk2016 lives during the summer afternoons as I get ready to run.

Progress? So much,  aether clothing is about to generously provide support. Michael Stevens is rocking his web design skills. Jamie Monroe is speaking his Italian. The folks at Arcanum have generously said "come on down." 

It's a ton of work but we are moving forward each day. Just hope it is fast enough.

Same with the races.