Athlete Culture Fashion Interviews Sports

Jerry Dunn ‘America’s Marathon Man’ is Living Proof the Stigma’s Unfounded

Jerry Dunn

Operating is an exercise you both love or hate. For some, it’s a transcendental expertise typically in comparison with meditation. For others, it triggers avoidant conduct in the psyche—and by some means enhances the attraction of Netflix and pizza to a degree through which excuses are disguised as logic.

However not for Jerry Dunn, America’s Marathon Man. At 72-years-old, Dunn’s accomplished a complete of 400 marathons, courting again to 1982. He ran 60 miles when he turned 60-years-old, after which ran 65 miles when he turned 65. Guess what he did when he turned 70? Yep, you guessed it: he ran 70 kilometers. In 1993, the Indianapolis native ran 104 marathons, breaking the beforehand held document of 101 marathons in a yr. To rejoice the millennium, Dunn ran 200 marathons that yr. And, on the 25 days main as much as the 100th anniversary of the Boston Marathon, he ran 26 consecutive marathons to rejoice the famend race. Inform us who else—not to mention a 72-year-old—has completed this a lot of their lifetime?

He’s earned the title of “America’s Marathon Man”. He oozes youthful power, a possible aspect impact of his superior cardiovascular well being. He speaks intellectually about life, drawing philosophical parallels between operating and the classes individuals are intrinsically designed to study all through their journeys.

Courtesy of Jerry Dunn

Dunn talks about the sport the method an artist explains a artistic course of: an exercise that pulls them into one other world. He doesn’t simply pursue operating with ardour—he’s additionally found out a approach to ingrain his character into the sport. He ran throughout the nation to boost consciousness for Habitat for Humanity—a non-profit he full-heartedly believes in. However on a smaller, much less critical scale, Dunn’s run marathons in a full-jester costume, high-fiving youngsters on porches as he runs by. He’s additionally hauled ass to cross end strains to then go well with up in a tuxedo and shake palms and cheer-on his fellow marathoners as they full their runs.

“Running is my art,” he says. “And I just want to impassion and entertain people through it.”

At the side of being an ultra-marathoner, Dunn’s additionally a hashish advocate. He’s been utilizing hashish for almost 50 years and is dwelling proof that the stigma is unfounded. And, like many Child Boomers, Dunn’s additionally a veteran. So his connection to the plant is layered, as he represents a number of communities inside the hashish area.

Excessive Occasions: What have long-distance operating and hashish accomplished on your life?

Jerry Dunn: I drank for 25 years and was just about a practical alcoholic. I nonetheless had an actual job, however was unfulfilled. Then I began doing all these loopy operating issues, which shifted my headspace. Once I ran throughout the nation the final time, I used to be out in the desert and I had this epiphany: operating saved me from alcoholism. I noticed it didn’t matter why I used to be pursuing all these operating expeditions and marathons. I had this second the place I used to be like, ‘all you need to do, Jerry, is keep running.’

And I did. I received closely concerned in the operating business and created 4 operating occasions in South Dakota: two marathons and two extremely marathons. So I took that message significantly and have just about not strayed from it. I constructed a life and a profession round operating. My life has gotten lots higher in the final 35 years since I ended consuming alcohol and proceed to make use of hashish.

Excessive Occasions: Getting numerous bodily exercise is a good way for individuals to maneuver by way of their addictions. Why do you assume that is?

JD: I feel it’s a few issues. I feel it brings self-discipline into your life as a result of most addicts aren’t very disciplined. So in case you decide to doing one thing three, 4, 5 days every week, it brings that element of self-discipline into your sphere, and that interprets into one thing you’re in command of. Then there’s the bodily half, which begins altering your physique and thoughts. However I don’t assume operating is the solely reply. There are different types of train and exercise that may assist with the course of of adjusting your way of life and habits.

Excessive Occasions: Why did you select operating as your artwork?

JD: I typically inform those that operating is a childlike exercise. Once we have been younger and free and didn’t have the grownup world to cope with, a part of our play can be to run. Simply run. And I feel that our our bodies once we begin operating type of flip again or a minimum of permit us to consider our youth, or sort of join with that free childlike feeling. I like being in that spot. And I can solely get there once I’m operating. Plus, you’re additionally outdoors in nature and away from every thing. That additionally performs into it for me.

Excessive Occasions: How has hashish performed into that?

JD: I feel hashish enhances the means to channel that childlike freedom. It’s a psychotropic plant and it does issues to the mind and thoughts that takes you out of your default considering sample. It permits you to see prospects and see issues from a unique perspective.

Excessive Occasions: How has hashish impacted your athletic profession?

JD: It’s enhanced my means to think about issues. For instance, the concept to run throughout the United States might have come to me in a type of thoughtfully artistic moments. Hashish has given me the means to tackle and pursue objectives that usually appear inconceivable. It’s allowed me to provide you with concepts for marathons. It’s given me the capacity to assume past the bounds of duties that appear inconceivable. I’ve been utilizing hashish for over 40 years. Studying to assume creatively and permitting your creativeness to circulate is a byproduct, I feel, of hashish use. If you study to assume outdoors the field, it turns into habitually obtainable. Hashish opens the thoughts’s capability to try this. In an effort to ever actually obtain something, you’ve gotten to have the ability to envision it first.

Excessive Occasions: The stigma nonetheless very a lot exists for athletes and people who are concerned in sports activities. Has it been exhausting so that you can speak about utilizing hashish?

JD: I’ve truly solely just lately come out. I used to be what you name a ‘closet smoker’ as a result of I didn’t assume it was cool to speak about it. And on all these different runs and occasions I’ve executed and hosted, together with the run throughout the United States, I didn’t even take into consideration speaking about it. It simply wasn’t acceptable. Nevertheless it’s simpler now that issues are totally different in tradition and society.

I went to the US Path Operating Convention, and whereas at lunch speaking to individuals the matter of hashish got here up and I discussed that I needed to do one other transcontinental run to boost consciousness round the advantages of hashish and disprove the stigma. A person who works for one in every of the main corporations in the operating business was additionally at the desk. He’s additionally a lifelong runner and has participated in a number of 100-mile occasions. He stated it’s not unusual for him at 70-miles to take a seat down and use some hashish as a result of he’s hurting and sore. It relieves a few of the psychological stress and bodily ache.

Simply with the ability to have that dialog was superb. It wouldn’t have occurred even three years in the past. I do know I’m going to get flack from some individuals in the operating business which might be against this. However I don’t care. I feel everyone ought to have entry to hashish for quite a lot of causes.

Excessive Occasions: A part of what makes you so fascinating is that you simply don’t simply attraction to skilled athletes. You additionally attraction to child boomers and veterans. Are you able to go into that a bit?

JD: My goal markets for what I’m doing is my era: boomers and veterans. There’s a research that’s ongoing at the College of Colorado, and the premise of the research is about who the new hashish customers are since legalization– and the reply is Child Boomers. We’re the largest, rising demographic of hashish customers in the U.S.

I can converse authoritatively about dwelling by means of the Reefer Insanity period and Nancy Reagan’s ‘Just Say No’ struggle. Child boomers aren’t utilizing hashish to get excessive. They’re utilizing it to seek out aid from Alzheimer’s, arthritis ache, and a lot extra. Extra individuals 50-years-old and wiser want to make use of hashish as an alternative of the heavy, harmful prescription drugs docs prescribe.

Excessive Occasions: And you’re a veteran?

JD: Sure. And hashish is certainly one of the greatest drugs for PTSD. I stay three blocks from the VA Hospital in South Dakota, which was inbuilt the early a part of the 20th century. And it was designed particularly to cope with the psychological problems with returning vets. South Dakota is not a authorized state, thoughts you. Veterans go into an eight-week program, they get clear and sober, they usually come again into the actual world. And the majority of them relapse and return to utilizing no matter substances they obtained hooked on cope with their PTSD. Why? As a result of in any respect of the 171 medical facilities; 700 outpatient, group, and outreach clinics; 126 nursing residence care models; and 35 domiciliaries, they’re by no means given the alternative to see if medicinal marijuana shall be efficient in treating their issues. Our federal legal guidelines don’t permit it. So is it the “best care available?” I don’t assume so.

Jerry Dunn 'America's Marathon Man' is Living Proof the Stigma's Unfounded

Courtesy of Jerry Dunn

We veterans have been informed we might be taken care of if we gave service to our nation However that has by no means been the case. In addition to the boomers and the previous individuals needing to know that it’s okay to really feel higher by way of hashish, we have to take automotive higher care of our veterans than what we’re at present doing. Particularly the place I’m from, I don’t assume many veterans even know that hashish can be utilized in a means that’s extra than simply getting excessive. I don’t assume they perceive hashish can be utilized medicinally and therapeutically. My mission is to offer some inspiration to steer a extra lively way of life and to teach individuals about the use of marijuana in the 21st century.

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