Meet Bernie Rosenblum

At the age of 77 Bernie Rosenblum has made a life around running. He found himself running wherever he could as work swept him around the country; from running in parkinglots to cemetaries, Bernie did what he could to keep his passion alive. He's even passed it on to his children, and he hopes that eventually his grandchildren will pick it up too.

1) What first inspired you to want to run a marathon? How capable did you feel you were of running a marathon?

I ran my first marathon in 1983. I had done a lot of training with friends of mine for 10K, 20K, and a half marathon, so the Chicago Marathon in 1983 was a natural next step. When I was 38 I wanted to get into shape by the time I was forty, and that was 39 years ago and I am still running! There was some doubt the first time I ran since I had never gone this distance before except during training. We treated the first time more as a fun run with my friends than a race with the effect of running at the hardest pace for the entire 26.2 miles.

2) How did marathon training change your outlook on life?

I became a better manager of my time, both personal and professional. I had a greater appreciation of my surroundings as I ran in the forest preserves of suburban Cook County. I have developed a greater appreciation of nature and I realized that I was able to continue this running even though I was getting older. I feel exhilarated and energized by the running and I am proud I can still do this as I age.

3) What is your go to running song and why?

I listen to the sounds of nature. I don’t run with ear phones. I run to appreciate my surroundings, the birds, the deer, the foxes, occasionally a coyote, more the sounds of nature appeal to me than a particular song or set of music. I also self-motivate.

4) Why did you choose to participate in the program again and what are you most looking forward to?

I love the training because it keeps me connected to running. I make new friends. Because of my age I am treated specially; I received an award from the Niles CARA group, a cup for determination. The group training keeps me young (even though I cannot keep up with them).

5) What most surprised you during this marathon journey?

I guess the answer to this would lie in the fact that I have run several different marathons in several different states. The terrain, the start, finish, location – all different. In Duluth, MN they take you out by bus to the start, you run along Lake Superior. In Milwaukee you run down country roads, dirt and gravel. So the journey has had many surprises along the way.

6) During the training process there comes a point where every runner hits a wall. How did you keep yourself going? What did you tell yourself?

I’m very fortunate as far as hitting the wall, I run and enjoy being out there and I appreciate that I can do what I am doing. I appreciate the group and the team, the energy from others helps me overcome hitting the wall both physically and mentally. I have never hit the wall, I have gotten tired, but I have not yet reached the wall.

7) How did marathon training enhance the already amazing Chicago summer experience?

Well I have trained on the lakefront over the years as well as training in the forest preserves. There is no more glorious morning than watching the sunrise over Lake Michigan, running from Foster Avenue to Soldier Field.

8) What was the hardest thing for you to overcome during training or running the marathon? Time commitment? Doubt?

Well it’s a combination of time commitment and doubt really. Having done as many as I have done, nearly a dozen, over a 38 year span, I have had many ups and downs. Training on a real rigid schedule is a challenge.

9) If there was someone sitting on the couch right now, thinking about doing what you did, what advice would you give them?

I would say commit to doing it, but do it within your own parameters, don’t try to do it beyond your capabilities. Approach it with a positive mental attitude.

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