Dec. 30, 2017 – West Bend, WI – On Sunday, Dec. 31, 2017 Pete Rettler will get together with about 120 friends for a little 5K run. For Rettler it’ll mark 24 years straight he’s run every day in a row.
“I will start my 25th year of not missing a day running on Jan. 1, 2018,” said Rettler.
The idea to run daily started as a bet during a college reunion. “It was me and a guy I wrestled with in college, Phil Scharenbrock,” said Rettler. “We went back to UW-Eau Claire for a wrestling weekend and we were both nearing 200 pounds.”
Well over his game-day college wrestling weight of 126 pounds (and Scharenbrock wrestled at 142) the pair made a resolution to get in shape.
“We vowed we didn’t want to be fat so we would run every single day in 1994,” said Rettler.
The pair lasted one year. “And then Phil quit….like any smart person would, and I’ve just kept it going,” Rettler said.
With a normal routine of running about 2 miles a day Rettler has been able to maintain his weight at 175 pounds.
“A lot of people don’t believe me when I tell them about the streak,” said Rettler. “The thing that drives me a little nuts is when people say they don’t have the time. I’m as busy as anybody else and I’ve been able to find the time whether it’s early in the morning or late at night or at lunch.”
Rettler normally runs at night after work. During the weekend he gets his miles in first thing in the morning and when traveling he may wake up at 3 a.m. to be sure to log his miles.
There are a couple strict Rettler rules about what qualifies as a daily run; it has to be outdoors and the minimum is 1.2 miles. “Over the 24 years I’ve averaged 2.5 miles a day,” he said.
There have been some close calls where the streak could have been in jeopardy. Rettler said during a road trip he waited out some severe thunderstorms before finally risking a quick run at 11:30 p.m. Another memorable event happened when he turned 40 years old.
“We were setting up for the Wildcat wrestling tournament. I collapsed on the mat and thought I was dying. The nurses in the emergency room quickly figured out it was a kidney stone issue,” he said.
Doped up on morphine Rettler with actually diagnosed with two kidney stones. “I was in a lot of pain but asked the doctor if I could run. He wanted to know why and my wife chimed in ‘he’s got this stupid streak,’” said Rettler.
The doctor sided with Rettler and offered one bit of advice. “He just suggested I run while the morphine was still working otherwise I’d be in a lot of pain,” Rettler said.
Over the years Rettler’s 2.5 miler has averaged about 30 minutes; now it takes a little longer. “I used to be able to run an easy 7-minute mile and now I’m at about a 9-minute mile,” he said.
Prepping for Sunday’s run
Since the 20th anniversary of Rettler’s run streak he’s been raising money for local scholarships. “I wanted to do something fun and came up with a scholarship idea and invited everybody who ever ran with me in the past to kick in $20 and that’s where it started,” he said.
Over the years Rettler’s has advanced from $150 scholarships to two $500 scholarships. This year he’s hoping to get enough for three $500 scholarships. The criteria on who receives the scholarships is that the person is mainly a high school senior from Washington County
Sunday’s 5K run will consist of two laps around Regner Park starting at 1 p.m. on Silverbrook Drive. There are about 110 people who have preregistered this year. People who would like to contribute can make a check to Moraine Park Foundation/Streak. Early forecast Sunday calls for temps in the single digits.