It took a a lot of cold-morning runs, a lot of hot summer races, a lot of Saturday morning runs with friends, some solitary jaunts and overcoming a few nagging injuries over the last 22 years for Monte Wells to reach the total he was at Saturday morning.
Since he began logging all of his runs since 1988, and provided he never carried a 2 when he should have carried a 1, Wells had run 49,990.8 miles entering the weekend. He was 9.2 miles shy of 50,000.
How best to hit that milestone? Simply, with a slight bit of pomp on the last mile. Wells, an English teacher at Tascosa for the last 23 years, ran 8.2 miles in Thompson Park early Saturday morning. With 49,999 miles behind him, his last mile was in Paul and Mike's Excellent Mile at Thompson Park.
He cruised the Excellent Mile race in 6:09 to reach 50,000. To put that in perspective a bit, it's 24,900 miles around the globe at the equator. So Wells, who will be 49 next month, has lapped the earth twice and has got about 200 miles in on his third journey.
"What's a plausible goal?" he said. "Maybe another 6,000 to 8,000 miles, who knows?"
I bet it ends up being more than that, barring injury. Few are more dedicated and consistent in fitness training. And over the years, especially in his age group, not many have been faster locally than the former Amarillo High track and cross country runner.
He's only been below 2,000 miles once in the last 20 years in a calendar year with a high of 2,700 miles. Mark it down: somewhere around 2025, he's going to hit 75,000 miles. And as a frequent running partner of his through the years, I, along with my new hip, will be applauding.