Selma man has run 3,300 miles

Published 10:00 pm Friday, May 28, 2010

SELMA — The wee hours of the morning are when many people sleep, but it’s when Larry Roe runs.

Roe starts out at 4:30 a.m. each weekend for a run around Selma — an 18-mile run.

“I like running before the sun comes up,” Roe said.

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In truth, he just likes to run.

At 53 years old, the operations manager at Bama Budweiser is not only an avid runner, but he’s in what he says is the best shape of his life.

He took up running at the unlikely age of 50, spends hours researching shoes and uses money collected from recycling aluminum cans to buy them.

He estimates he’s raised nearly $200 of shoe money by recycling cans.

“You have to buy shoes that work with your running style,” Roe said. “You’re supposed to wear them for 500 miles. They can be pretty expensive. I have about 10 or 12 people that save aluminum cans for me.”

Roe started keeping track of the miles he runs on Jan. 1, 2008. Since then, he’s logged more than 3,300 miles. That’s roughly the equivalent of running from Selma to Phoenix, Ariz., and back.

If he continues at his current pace, by the end of the year he will have covered a distance from Selma to Anchorage, Alaska.

Roe started running when his daughter wanted a running buddy in a 5K race. It was canceled because of bad weather so he chose another race.

“I started running here to get in shape for it,” Roe said. “When I finished my first race, I thought I’d won the state lottery. I went to Pensacola in the double bridge run, and I’ve been severely hooked since.”

He’s participated in numerous 5K runs — he was third in this year’s Butterflies and Bridges Run — before graduating to his preferred event, the half-marathon. His most recent half-marathon was in Nashville just before the flood a few weeks ago. He recorded his best time at one hour, 37 minutes and 17 seconds.

“We’ve been all over the South,” Roe said. “Illinois, Mississippi, Tennessee, Louisiana, Alabama, Florida, and there’s one in Georgia I’ve been eyeing.”

Roe’s running has extended to his family, and his wife, Sandra, runs in some events with him.

“I like to run, I don’t love to run,” Sandra Roe said. “He loves to run. I wouldn’t get to spend any time with him if I didn’t run.”

Roe runs every other day and even kept to that schedule during a vacation cruise.

“When I pass away, it better on the day the he doesn’t run,” Sandra Roe said.

In three years of running, Roe has compiled a list of stories, some humorous, some graphic.

He almost got run over at Bloch Park.

He sometimes puts water and an energy bar on the Jeep in his driveway so he can grab it in the middle of a run without slowing down.

He fell four miles into a half-marathon and was badly cut-up. He ran the entire 18 miles, bleeding the whole way.

He fell in Selma, but continued running. After making it home, he learned an ambulance was called by a passing motorist and was circling the streets looking for him.

Only once has his wife ever gone looking for him, and that was because it was raining and he took shelter before heading home.

“I wish I had started years ago,” Roe said. “It’s an awesome feeling to cross the finish line knowing what you’ve accomplished. It doesn’t matter what your time is as long as you finish.”