Jeff Mittelhauser is closing in on a major achievement in the running world.
Mittelhauser is 85 miles away from joining the 100,000 miles club.
The Pettis County Prosecuting Attorney plans to commemorate that achievement May 18 at the place where he ran his first mile — Jennie Jaynes Stadium.
“On Sunday afternoon, May 18, I plan to invite any runners to join me at Jennie Jaynes Stadium to run my 100,000th,” Mittelhauser said. “We will then adjourn to Mazzio’s for a pizza party.”
Mittelhauser began running in February 1972. He joined the S-C track and field team that spring.
“Larry York, my algebra teacher, was head cross-country coach and coached distance runners in track,” Mittelhauser said. “He promoted the cause during class and convinced me to run.”
He began charting his miles daily on Aug. 18, 1975 when he was running for then-Central Missouri State University. He kept a yearly account of his mile beforehand. He posts excerpts from his running on Facebook at Run, Jeff, Run. See Jeff Run.
Mittelhauser competed in the Boston Marathon in 1979. He ran the course in 2 hours, 34 seconds.
Later that year, he won the Heart of America Marathon in Columbia while a student at Mizzou.
In 2007, he competed in the International Triathlon Union’s Long Course Duathlon World Championship in Richmond, Va. He finished 18th out of 36 entries in the 50- to 54-age group.
He ran the Heart of America Marathon again last Labor Day. He finished in 4:04, and “it hurt bad,” he said.
Before that, he hadn’t run a marathon in more than 30 years. He ran 10 of them in the late 1970s and then quit that distance because he was more competitive in the 5K and 10K races.
Mittelhauser said that what he likes about running has changed over the years.
“I began as a competitive runner. I liked improving my times and racing against others,” he said. “I still enjoy that aspect, as long as I don’t look at the stopwatch too closely.
“Now, I run for fitness. I enjoy the simple act of covering my daily miles, whether it’s three miles — customary — or 15 — rare. I don’t think I could if I wanted to.”
He tries to run every day.
“But I’m no longer obsessive about it,” Mittelhauser said. “I once had a running streak of nine-plus years. That was pretty stupid. I ran through chickenpox, fevers, injuries, just to keep the streak alive. Now, if I head out for a run and don’t really feel like it, I turn around and go home.”
He averages about 25 miles running six days a week.
According to the 100K Lifetime Miles website, 61 runners have achieved that feat. The world record holder for most miles ran in a lifetime is Darryl Beardall, of Santa Rosa, Calif., with 280,000.
Running is a family affair for Mittelhauser.
“Everyone in my immediate family — parents, sisters, wife, sons — have run at one time or another, some for only a few years, others throughout their lives,” he said. “Most of them continue to run or walk for fitness.”