There are several reasons people challenge themselves to run each and every day, or 'run-streak', through the rain, wind and snow. Some use it as a way to lose weight, gain muscle, build endurance, train for marathons or simply relieve stress.
Newberg's Jodi Stilp, a mother of four who run marathons, was encouraged to try it by a friend who was in their 10th year of streaking.
She started mainly as a way to exercise and maintain her endurance, but something about it clicked and she stuck with it. Before she knew it, Stilp was completing her 1,000th day on April 4 at Champoeg State Heritage Area.
"My first goal was to do it for 365 days," Stilp said. "But when I noticed that it was helping to stabilize my chaotic life, I kept running."
Once she started running and joining streak groups for motivation, she found that it "helped my emotional stability and acted as a stress release."
She certainly had her hands full raising four adolescent children, but eventually they began to join her on occasion.
"They have been very encouraging with this challenge," Stilp said. "There was a point when I almost stopped and the kids said, 'Mom, don't stop.' I think they like me better when I am running."
The streak started on July 9, 2015. She doesn't use a treadmill, preferring to run outside, but admitted skipping a few days here and there because of the flu.
For a while, Stilp considered stopping after reaching the 1,000-day mark, but has since changed her mind.
"The run streak has become such a part of who I am and what I do each day," she said. "Not running at least a mile when I'm 100-percent capable didn't feel right, so I'm going to keep going. My next goal is three years, which is only three months away on July 9."
Not only are there health benefits to streaking, at least the clothed version, but it builds community, strengthens friendships and develops new ones.
"The friendships that have emerged from running together are priceless," Stilp explained. "Shoulder to shoulder, we tackle difficult workouts and difficult days. We cheer each other on and cry together when life is hard. Just this week, I called my training partner to say that my day went sideways on me and the short amount of time we designated to run together was going to be eaten up by unpacking a car full of long-overdue groceries from Costco. Her response? 'I'll be right over. We'll unpack it together.'"
She added that streaking helped her learn that it's possible to break through walls and meet challenges in life. It is through the process of committing and receiving encouragement from friends and family that stamina and the determination to endure are developed, which can be deployed in the face of setbacks that occur in daily life.
"Before we know it, we ran 1,000 days in a row, or walked through the grief of a divorce or death of a loved one, or lost the weight that wouldn't budge before, or got on top of our mental health," Stilp said. "We just have to show up each day and put in the work. One step at a time. One day at a time."
She emphasizes that anyone can do this and emphasizes that you don't have to be fast, just committed.
"I would encourage anyone who is intrigued by this, to just do it," she said. "Commit to 30 days in a row and see how you feel. You just might wake up in a year and realize you ran that year."
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