Chuck Milliman stays in shape for Senior Olympics by VLDR

I just made something up: VLDR. That stands for VERY long distance running. That’s what Charles “Chuck” Milliman does, especially on his birthday. He recently turned 80. He seems to stick to the Senior Olympic circuit. (He entered 2010 Kamloops indoor worlds, but I can’t find results for him.) Well, to make a short story long, he ran 80 miles on his 80th birthday in November. I heard about it from his buddy Roger Vergin, who graciously writes: “The masters track world should know about my good friend Charles. … Here is a newspaper article from the Sequim (Washington) Gazette. Chuck had some preparation for the run over the years. He had run the Trails End Marathon for 25 consecutive years. In celebration of his 78th birthday in 2010, he racked up 78 miles by running three marathons in three consecutive days.”

Charles, shown in 2010, stretches himself and definitions of human endurance.

Roger continues:

Chuck ran the 80 miles in 23 hours, 50 minutes and 43 seconds on November 14. His son-in-law Dick Henrie ran the first 30 miles with him and his grandson Jason Henrie covered 50 miles with him.

There is an excellent article about Chuck’s running background and the 80-miler, written by Chuck in Northwest Runner February 2013 issue. I have not been able to find it on the Internet. You might be more successful.

Nope, I struck out, Roger. But the Sequim story is a keeper for the ages:

To 80 and beyond

Published on Wed, Nov 28, 2012
Read More News

Sequim Gazette

Three marathons in three days wasn’t enough for Chuck Milliman.

In 2010, the Sequim resident celebrated his 78th birthday by doing exactly that (26.2 miles per day for a 78.6-mile total).

On Nov. 14 of this year, Milliman decided to go for 80 miles on his 80th birthday.

Like last time, Milliman raised funds for the Boys & Girls Club — nearly $1,000 at last count, he said.

As for the run? Yes, he finished all 80 miles — in 23 hours, 50 minutes and 43 seconds. His journey took him in carefully pre-planned loops and routes across the Sequim-Dungeness Valley, culminating at a finish line in Dungeness.

“When I crossed the finish line it felt great,” Milliman said this week. “Four or five miles before that didn’t feel great.”

A retired minister who didn’t start “seriously” running until he was nearly 39 years old, Milliman has finished more than 55 marathons in his lifetime. He also boasts a national title in his age group (and runner-up at a world championship meet) in pole vault.

Not bad for a guy who survived a dual bypass in 2001.

“I didn’t realize I’d finish under 24 (hours),” Milliman said. “My lower shin splints were hurting. I got really cold about 2 a.m. — I was on my last 20 miles on that one.”

Milliman said it was key to have a good support crew. His son-in-law Dick Henrie ran with him the first 30 miles and grandson Jason Henrie took over after that for the duration, a 50-mile stretch. Another grandson, Douglas Milliman, ran with Chuck for miles 65-75 and son Bruce Milliman trekked the final 12 miles. All the while, son Phillip Milliman and daughter Kim Henrie ran the support car during daylight hours and the support motor home during the evening and early morning hours.

“They did an excellent job,” Chuck Milliman said.

The toughest part, he said, was following the 60-mile barrier, when he stopped for a latte and felt a pain in his right knee that might have curtailed the run. But his daughter Kimberly applied some arthritis cream that did the trick and helped him carry on. At 3:30 a.m., he had trouble eating, but Jason, his grandson, encouraged Chuck to force down some bits of bagel that helped.

“I was slow,” Milliman said, figuring he averaged 2.5 miles per hour for the final 20 miles.

The crew ran with Chuck until the final two-tenths of a mile when they backed off and let him finish solo.

Mary Budke, executive director of the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Olympic Peninsula, said Milliman is an inspiration at any age — particularly for the youths who use the clubs.

“I find it remarkable,” she said. “It’s amazing on several levels. (We want to teach) healthy habits and want them to see what you can look like at 80. He can inspire people to do great things.”

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February 1, 2013

3 Responses

  1. John Altendorf - February 1, 2013

    Congratulations Chuck. You truly are a dedicated athlete and a model for us “youngsters” of any age.

  2. Don Young - February 3, 2013

    Chuck is an inspiration and a fixture at our local races :)

  3. Frank Gerber - February 10, 2013

    Nothing but praise to you Chuck, should be inspiration to the athletes of all ages.

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