Roy Pirrung, 70, of Plymouth, Wisconsin was told, “You can’t Roy!” many times, from childhood until the time he signed up for his first foot race, the Mayfair Marathon. In a mere 26.2 miles he changed the configuration of that saying to, “You can TRY!”
After observing an obese woman jogging past his house while he was laid off from work and painting his garage he thought, “If she can do it, I can do it!”
Pirrung, obese, with a 2-pack-a-day habit, struggled for air just to walk up a flight of stairs. He suffered through shin splints and other maladies as he ran each day, eventually reaching his goal to run 2-miles.
The rest is history. Pirrung, now an ultra marathon runner, has completed more than 138 marathons and 197 ultra marathons. He has broken over 70 American Records and has garnered 82 National Titles. He is a world masters champion and an age group world record holder. He has competed internationally over 50 times, in 21 countries and gained entry to USATFs Masters Hall of Fame.
Pirrung wrote of his experiences in a weekly newspaper column for over 6 years and frequently speaks at schools, businesses and running events about his passion and how it changed his life.
He is involved with his sport: as the former international representative to the Americas for the International Association of Ultrarunners, Vice-chairperson of USATFs Mountain, Ultra, and Trail running council, president of the American Ultrarunning Association and is currently writing an autobiography.