To be dedicated and have a life-long commitment to something usually takes passion or a love for it. Identifying as something requires perseverance through hardship and a strong mental obligation. Keith Straw considers himself a runner.
A runner that doesn’t like running.
In 2018 at the Delaware Marathon, Keith Straw will be participating in his 413th career marathon and his 15th straight at Delaware since the inception of the event. He is a member of the 15-timer club. He is one of only a handful of people who has participated in this event every year since the creation in 2004.
A sixty-three-year-old software engineer from Malvern, PA, Keith has proven his dedication to running and is a shining illustration to the running community.
“Back in May 2004, the Delaware Marathon became one of only a handful of road marathons in the area. I was a fledgling athlete, and slow. So pretty much all of my running friends were ahead, and got further ahead as the morning progressed. But it was fun. And that memory brought me back the next year, and the next” said Keith.
Motivated by his friends, Keith never actually enjoyed the act of running, but knew the camaraderie between the running community and the adventure that comes along with it are always worth it. The moments shared between him and other runners give him joy and keep him coming back for more.
He says other runners, like Gene Dykes, who turns 70 this year, inspire him to keep participating and stay active. After two decades of running, Keith looks to older athletes who are setting the bar for him to follow.
Being a member of the 15 timers club, Keith has learned a few things about what to expect from the Delaware Marathon. When asked what advice he would give to first time runners he said, “A two loop course is going to have some mental challenges, and a hilly two loop course even more. Take a walk break on those hills and pause to acknowledge the course volunteers that are keeping you safe. And remember to smile. If things are going well, then really work that second set of inclines. Tell yourself that you will not squander all that hard work that you’ve already put in. This is going to be your day.”
After two decades and more than 400 career marathons, Keith Straw will be out there running with a smile on his face while encouraging other runners to finish strong.