Loren Thomas Found That To Fully Embrace Life He Must Stay Active
Today’s guest is approaching his 70th birthday, but before he does, he hopes to finish his 100th marathon or longer before he moves into his new age group.
Once he achieves that goal, I have a hunch he will continue his active lifestyle and who knows, maybe set his sights on another big goal.
I’m looking forward to going a few easy miles with Loren Thomas today!
Loren Thomas was always involved in sports for as long as he can remember.
Gymnastics was his main focus in high school, but when college didn’t offer the sport, he shifted his focus to wrestling.
Once he graduated from college, Loren found it increasingly difficult to participate in those same sports as an adult.
Loren had gained some weight by his early to mid-30s and decided to go for a jog as a way to try to get healthier.
He stuck with it sporadically, but it wouldn’t be till a few years later that big life changes made running a permanent part of his life.
Divorce and being a single parent to 3 kids is what ultimately drove Loren to take up running for himself.
Loren completed his first race one year later on a beach in New Jersey.
Now, 40 years later, running has made a huge impact on both his mental and physical health.
A Positive Feedback Loop
Loren quickly began to experience a positive feedback loop that promoted his love for the sport.
Running has been a part of his daily life for the past 4 decades, yet it has evolved dramatically in that time.
When Loren began running in the late ’70s to early ’80s, the sport looked quite a bit different.
Races were smaller, shoes were minimalistic, and tech fabrics hadn’t been invented yet.
At the time, Loren had never heard of ultra marathons or trail races.
There was a lot that he would learn in the next 40 years about the sport he loved.
Loren has gravitated towards local run clubs that have become the center of his friendships and social life.
The people in the clubs generally share similar values and lifestyles, so it’s easier to find social connections in a running community.
Climbing The Distance Ladder
When Loren first decided to train for a marathon, it was a solo endeavor.
He just wanted to run one marathon to prove to himself that he was capable.
At mile 21 of the marathon, he promised himself that he would throw out his shoes and never run again.
That promise was short-lived because a few hours after he completed the race he was already looking for another race.
Over the next 10 years, Loren went on to run 1 to 2 marathons per year.
In 1996, his life was turned upside down when his son died at the age of 20.
Coming Out Of The Fog
At the time of his son’s death, Loren was training for a marathon.
The grief overwhelmed him and he wasn’t able to complete his training.
Over the next few years, Loren struggled and ran in a fog.
Loren made the decision to leave his job and pack back through the Appalachian Trail (AT).
Returning to training and having a focus allowed Loren to break free from his emotional funk.
During his time on the trail, he fell in love with nature and allowed his soul to heal.
Movement Is Medicine
Following the completion of his hike on the AT, Loren took about 6 months away from running due to his knees being beaten up.
When Loren returned to running, he began to connect with local trail runners.
It was there that he met some of his best friends for the last 20 years.
His mentality towards the sport shifted as well, as he began to do multiple marathon distance events and beyond each year.
Loren’s lack of injuries over the years has him convinced that movement truly is medicine.
It was in the last couple of years that a friend mentioned to Loren that he was close to running 100 marathons.
The goal to run 100 marathons or longer came together during the summer of 2021.
Finding The Right Formula
Over the course of 37 years, Loren has only experienced 2 injuries.
He admits that he may be a genetic anomaly, but he has other thoughts as to why he has evaded injuries.
His primary focus is to keep running fun which he attributes to helping him remain healthy.
Over the years, Loren has noticed a connection between hard training and a higher risk of injury.
Through trial and error, Loren has found a balance of effort and ease with his running.
Loren also includes cross-training which has helped him to maintain fitness while decreasing his risk of running-related injuries.
As he has gotten older, Loren has found it to be a tough pill to swallow to watch his times get slower.
In order to combat those feelings, he has found other things with his running and fitness to be proud of.
Loren first tried yoga in 1997 and from there practiced inconsistently for the next 10 years.
Through free community yoga programs, Loren has gotten much more immersed in the practice.
Loren loved yoga so much that he went on to become a yoga instructor.
Along with teaching, he also volunteers with two non-profits.
Roots 2 Rise and Yoga 4 Philly are free organizations that connect with the community.
They are both very diverse and are focused on accessibility and inclusiveness.
As each year passes, Loren is gaining a new perspective of what age is and isn’t.
He has come to realize that only a few things in life really matter.
For Loren, it is health, vitality, and love that matter the most to him.
He continues to push himself with new and bigger goals.
In the next year, Loren hopes to either run his first 100-mile race or switch things up and focus on more middle-distance trail races.
Loren still loves to hike and also wants to include some “fast-packing” trips over a few days.
Regardless of what he does, one thing is certain and it’s that he will be having fun.
Mentioned In This Episode:
- Yoga 4 Philly
- Roots 2 Rise
- Be Well Philly Summer Yoga Series
- South Philly Striders
- Fishtown Beer Runners
- Pemberton Trail 50k/25k
Stay connected with Loren Thomas by following him on Facebook and/or LinkedIn.
Loren Thomas was able to heal his soul after a profound loss with the help of his running community and time in nature. Click To Tweet
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