Running wild

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Budd Glassberg has logged more than 800 miles this year with no plans to slow down

Glassberg

Those witty beer commercials would have you believe the most interesting man in the world is unfailingly found in some exotic locale, bearded and tan and handsome, always surrounded by gorgeous women.

In all actuality, the most interesting man in the world most likely works at Cedar Street Management in Zionsville.

Meet Budd Glassberg: runner, Cubs fan, cancer survivor, race promoter, rower, amateur barista and so much more.

Glassberg, a Zionsville resident since 1984, is something of a local legend among runners, and for good reason. At age 62, he runs nearly every day, often barefoot. While those accomplishments are startling in and of themselves, it is Glassberg’s penchant for covering long distances that really strikes a chord.

“I’ve run 100 miles in a day twice,” Glassberg says with all the bravado of discussing a tax return or dental checkup. “I don’t want to sound like a kook, but I’ve run almost 800 miles this year already. I do a lot of distance running.”

Starting during his childhood outside of Chicago, movement has been a constant for Glassberg. When his first-grade teacher struggled to keep a young Glassberg still in the classroom, medication was discussed. Instead, Glassberg’s mother suggested tiring the boy out would accomplish the same end.

And so, Glassberg raced the bus more than a mile distance between his front door and the school’s doors every day. On foot.

“It was so much fun,” Glassberg said of hoofing it to school each day. “In the beginning, it seemed like such a long distance, but after a while, it became too easy.”

Fifty-five years later, running still comes easily to Glassberg. He mostly runs in and around Zionsville, with an occasional trip to Indianapolis’ Eagle Creek Park thrown in. He wears no headphones, loves to run in the woods and says stepping on glass at speed in his bare feet is no big deal.

What was a big deal for Glassberg were plantar fasciitis and cancer. He beat both.

“The only break in my running was during the two years I had plantar fasciitis,” Glassberg recalled. “The angle of modern running shoes makes you land on your heel, which is quite unnatural. That caused my problem, and after that, I vowed never to be injured again.”

The unwanted hiatus forced Glassberg to relinquish cross-country coaching duties at Zionsville Community High School, but also led him to take up rowing and begin running either barefoot or in minimalist shoes. These days, Glassberg has a handful of shoemakers he sends traces of his feet to, and is sent a pair of custom shoes in return.

His cancer ordeal six years ago was similarly unique – advised to have his prostate removed, Glassberg instead did research and ended up at Indiana University for Proton Therapy. Five years after nine weeks’ worth of daily treatments, he’s cancer-free.

The 2012 Anti-Mini Marathon is slated for Saturday.

The 10th annual event will begin at 7:25 a.m. behind Zionsville Town Hall. Runners may choose to run one lap (4.4 miles), two laps (8.7 miles) or all three laps (13.1 miles) on a route through the Zionsville Rail Trail and Starkey Parks.

The event has no registration or entry fee. There are no aid stations, although runners may bring their own water, etc., and visit every lap at the picnic table.

Parking will be behind Zionsville Town Hall, a few steps from the start/finish line. For more information, e-mail Jeff Kimbell at info@runz.com, or visit www.runz.com/antimini/all/.

In between his maladies, Glassberg began the Zionsville Anti-Mini Marathon. Boone County’s answer to the larger, more well-known half marathon in Indianapolis, the Anti-Mini is everything its big brother is not: free and less a competition than an event.

“Money is not a factor in the Anti-Mini,” Glassberg says. “It’s all-inclusive and people are there to have a good time.”

Glassberg passed the reins of the Anti-Mini on to Zionsville’s Jeff Kimbellsome three years ago, but is still involved as a participant and volunteer. On race day, he’ll log about 40 miles instead of the requisite 13.1.

“I’ll run the course before the race and throw in an extra mile,” he says. “Then I’ll run the race and run the course again afterward.”

Such is the lifestyle at this point for Glassberg; he’s content to get his prodigious running in, roast his own coffee and follow the woebegone Chicago baseball club. How long will he keep this up?

“I just enjoy going out and running every day,” he says. “I’m old enough, I think, to have earned that. I’ll probably keel over and die, and that will be when the running stops. And that would be nice.”

About Budd:

  • Born in Illinois, he later moved to New England and California before settling in Zionsville.
  • ZCHS cross-country coach from 1996 to 2008.
  • Married with two daughters.
  • Average run was seven miles a day this winter.
  • Holds the world record for a 10-mile run.
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1 Comment

  1. Ron Martin on

    Budman, you are indeed a special human being and my vote for most interesting man alive. I’ve never known anyone so utterly true to himself. Let’s hope the Cubbies can win more than 50 games this year…and then on to the Series!

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