"That was it, no more of them."
That was Dick Canterbury's response to his children Theresa and Steve shortly after finishing the Mohican 100-mile run in 1999 — his first race of that length.
His children and wife of 43 years, Becky, now know not to take his post-race comments seriously. Canterbury completed his 12th Mohican in Loudenville, Ohio this past Father's Day. He owns a 1,000-mile belt buckle, one of only 14 people to have completed that mileage mark.
Canterbury, 64, said his family refers to the Mohican as the "race I'll never do again!"
"I forget about the pain pretty quickly," Canterbury said. "I get that itch to run again."
Canterbury, who moved to Chesterton in 1994, loves to challenge himself — and his love for running long distances took root when he turned 40.
"I wanted to be in better shape when I was 40 compared to what I was when I was 30," Canterbury said. "I began running 4 miles at a time."
He now runs 50 miles a week, and he focuses his sights on only long-distance races.
"I guess I'm cheap," he joked. "I don't like to spend $35 or $40 and get an extra-large T-shirt for running just three miles. When I spend X amount of dollars, I want the best for my money."
Canterbury's next challenge is the Party in the Park 24-Hour run, which starts at 4 p.m. Saturday at Sunset Hill Farm County Park.
He'll be one of 50 individuals to run the entire event, and he has two thoughts to adhere to: stay awake and limit time in the aid station.
"I've got to stay on the move," Canterbury said. "I would say I will try to just spend two or three minutes there at a time."
Canterbury doesn't know if he'll reach 100 miles, but there's a possibility.
"It sounds easy to do a 15-minute mile, and that would work out to 96 miles," he said. "Most anybody can do a 15-minute mile, but it's a whole another thing to do it for day."
Canterbury's email address includes the phrase "runs100", showing his love for running long distances. He also enjoys sharing his talents with others. In a few months, he'll complete his 12th time as a pace setter for the Chicago Marathon, aiding those aiming at four hours.
"I enjoy the challenge of helping others reach a goal," he said.
Outside of running, Canterbury challenges himself by doing other activities like skydiving. He's made more than 200 skydives in 15 years.
Who knows how long Canterbury will keep up these challenges, but his job retirement two years ago appears to have recharged his batteries.
"(Retirement) is the best job I've had," he said. "I cannot believe that I was able to get my training in and still work. I'm putting in more time now."
This column solely represents the writer's opinion. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.