VIDEO | Thanks for supporting Day 14 of 25 Runs of Gratitude for United Way of Washington County | By Pete Rettler

Dec. 19, 2018 – Washington Co., WI – Today, Wednesday, Dec. 19, I completed 24 years, 353 days of not missing a day of running. That’s 9,118 days in a row and run No. 14 of the 25 Runs of Gratitude.

United Way 25 Runs of Gratitude

On Tuesday I talked about some injuries I have been lucky enough to run through over the years. Today I will answer the question nearly everyone that runs with me asks; don’t you ever get sick?


I can assure you over the past few years I have battled the stomach flu, pneumonia and numerous other illnesses. When the kids were small they brought all kinds of germs home from daycare and school. Somehow I have been blessed it was never so bad I couldn’t complete my run. If there was a year I really dodged a bullet it was 2016. That year there was a horrible outbreak of influenza A and pneumonia. It got so bad at Moraine Park we shut down an area of the college and did some major disinfecting.

Everyone was getting sick. Chris, one of my good friends and teammates for over 20 years who never gets sick, got sick. Chris never misses work. He is what I describe as “farmer” tough; nothing bothers him. He wears t-shirts when it’s two degrees outside. Chris missed work. Next thing I heard Chris was planning to go to the doctor, the last doctor Chris spent time with was probably the one that delivered him. The doctor told Chris his oxygen level was so low he didn’t know how he could stand. Things got worse for Chris quickly and he had to be intubated for 14 days. I followed his hospital stay via Facebook and there were times I wondered if he would make it through the night.

I was sick like everyone else. My cough would not quit. One night I woke up at 2 a.m. with a coughing attack. I couldn’t sleep, all I could think about was Chris and if I was headed in his direction. I was scared. The next day I went to the doctor. I didn’t have pneumonia and the streak continued. Thank God, Chris also survived and has become a spokesman for the flu shot. He still does not wear a coat in the winter.


Jason, another healthy, active, and much younger colleague of mine somehow ended up with cellulitis, it’s a bacterial infection he got through a wound on his ankle. His foot and lower leg swelled and he could not bear any weight. If I get cellulitis my streak is over. I have cuts, wounds on my body all the time. I love working outside and working with my hands. This is another example of how blessed I have been over the past 25 years.


Today I ran for Elevate and the run was sponsored by Affiliated Clinical Services. Adam Kindred from Elevate ran the two-mile route with me and talked about two programs, Too Good for Drugs and Peers 4 Peers. The goal of both programs is to keep youth alcohol and drug-free as long as possible. Elevate believes healthy individuals build strong communities. Members of Peers 4 Peers commit to abstaining from alcohol and other drug use while in high school and empowers and educates youth to be leaders and role models within their communities.

25 Runs of Gratitude

Photo courtesy Stephanie Woodward

Kelli Feucht also ran with me today and she is the Assistant Business Manager for Affiliated Clinical Services (ACS). She informed me that ACS has been in business for 34 years in the area. ACS is an outpatient mental health and substance abuse treatment clinic that specializes in comprehensive and individualized care. They have 45 employees and treat 2,400 new adults and children each year.

ACS had a large group of people sending us off on the run. We really appreciate ACS and all of our wonderful sponsors.

Thursday, Dec. 20, at noon we run from the doorsteps of the Threshold, see you then!

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