Jay Posick has quite the run streak doing. The 51-year old from Merton, Wisc., picked up running on Aug. 30, 1987, and since then, he’s logged a run every day.
Jay is a principal at Merton Intermediate School where, between his responsibilities to his students and his staff, he manages to fuel his love of running and even find ways of incorporating the run into the school day.
We talked to Jay about how he got his streak going, what keeps him going now and how he deals with the challenges of balancing a busy day.
How and when did you get started running?
I can’t even remember when I started running. I always remember being one of the fastest kids in school, all the way through high school. I ran track at Marquette University but quickly realized I was way out of my league. A friend of mine, Mr. John Archer, got me started in distance running in the early 1980s. I thank him for giving me the confidence and the push to run further than my sprinting distances of 400 yards.
Why do you continue to run now?
I continue to run because it has become a habit. I run to keep in shape or to get in better shape (like when I’m training for a marathon). I run because I like the alone time to think or to clear my head. I like running outside when the opportunity presents itself to run in nature, especially on the trails in nearby state parks.
As a principal, your days must be pretty busy. When do you run and how do you balance that with your other responsibilities?
I have just scheduled the time in my day. Sometimes it’s before school and sometimes it’s after school, it just depends on my schedule that day. I rarely run with others and do most of my runs on a treadmill in my basement. The neighborhood where I live has no streetlights or sidewalks so it can be quite dangerous. I normally leave for school before the sun rises and get home after the sun sets. Honestly, one of my daily responsibilities is to run.
Do you incorporate running into your school? How?
From time to time, we incorporate running into our school. One of our PE teachers is in charge of a running club in the fall and spring. We have incorporated a run into our Celebration Day to end the school year. We honestly can do more to add running to our school, and having PE every day for 7th and 8th graders for half the year and every other day for 5th and 6th graders all year helps to keep our kids active.
Does running affect how you work and engage with students? If so, how?
The students know about my streak. They were a part of a celebration of my 10,000th day in a row in December of 2014. They see my medals on the wall of my office because all kids are welcome in my office. I mention my streak from time to time during our monthly Wednesday assemblies. I am able to relate to them in discussions about their successes, struggles, and goals because of my running. Running analogies can be inserted into lots of conversations.
You’ve had quite the run streak going. When was the first day of your streak?
I began running on Aug. 30, 1987. I started running again while coaching a high school volleyball team. The players were in better shape than I was and I just decided I needed to start running again. Not many of the athletes I coached in high school were able to keep up with me.
When did you realize you had a streak going?
I knew I had a streak going on the second day. I really knew I had a streak going when I got to one year.
What’s kept you going?
It’s a habit. I honestly have run more days in a row than I’ve eaten days in a row. My wife of 23 years has kept me going, too, and sometimes encouraged me to run earlier in the day than I’d wanted to run, but then that means that the rest of the day is for us. This year in New York, I ran my first race with my daughter, the Dash to the Finish 5K. It was an awesome experience.
Have you had days when it has been really tough to get a run in?
I’ve had one injury and a couple days when it was tough and I only ran one mile. All of the other days of my streak have been at least two miles. The injury was a significant ankle sprain but I ran in a pool for three days until I was able to really run again. The doctor was quite amazed at the quick recovery. One of the really tough days when I only ran one mile was when I had walking pneumonia. My wife stood behind me on the treadmill while I ran.
Do you have any plans to stop?
Visit the Brooks Blog again soon when we’ll introduce you to Jay’s friend Adam, another principal who is helping to introduce a passion for running and living healthy to students at his school. Until then, read more from the Runners Like Us series here.