Baldwin coach begins 25th year of unique running streak
Rich Wright, co-head cross country coach and assistant track and field coach at Baldwin High School, has had a lifetime of milestones.
Wright recently completed his 24th consecutive year of running at least one mile per day. That's a total of 8,766 consecutive days.
The 63-year-old Wright has run a mile each day since Aug. 3, 1990.
He keeps a running log which details every run in the streak, including where he ran, how far he ran and with whom he ran.
“It's amazing to have kept it up with injuries and weather,” Wright said. “But (the streak) has lasted through it all.
“I guess eventually it will take an injury or something for the streak to end, but I don't have any plans to stop.”
Wright is registered with the United States Running Streak Association and currently ranks 86th in the country on the USSA consecutive-days-running list.
A retired maintenance operator at Bettis Atomic Power Laboratory in West Mifflin, Wright began his 25th year of running last week with a goal of attaining 50,000 miles in the streak.
“Sometime during my 25th year, I will reach 50,000 miles,” he said. “My goal is to run 1,000-plus miles in the 25th year.”
The streak is most impressive. But what have been some of the tangible benefits to the daily routine?
“It has made me a better coach, a stronger person mentally and physically, and has put a daily routine in my life,” said Wright, who shares the Baldwin cross country coaching duties with Bonita “Bunny” Schmidt. “I don't race anymore, but working on the biggest races in the Pittsburgh area helps me stay in contact with the running community.”
Overall, the streak has been a great experience as well as a source of pride for the affable Wright, his wife Kathy, a retired fifth-grade teacher in the Baldwin-Whitehall School District, and their two adult sons, Richard and Jim.
Among Wright's favorite and most frequent running partners through the years have been the athletes on the cross country team at any given time.
“I have a great support system with my wife Kathy and sons Rick and Jim,” Wright said. “And my athletes — both present and past — are second to none.
“I love Baldwin and our school, and I'm looking forward to a great cross country season with Bunny and this year's team.”
Ray Fisher is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at 412-388-5820 or firstname.lastname@example.org.