Bob Tapson: 25th marathon in 25 years

This just in.

Bob Tapson

Posted on 9/28/13

By Lee Coleman

Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos indicted on racketeering charges. Elton John sells out Madison Square Garden for record 26th time. The Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Oakland Athletics four games to one to win World Series.

In other news from October, 1988, Langdon barber and long distance runner Bob Tapson competed in his first marathon race, negotiating the 26.2 mile course in 3:57:19.00, a pace of nine minutes and three seconds per mile, finishing 2,601 of 3,689 male finishers in the Twin Cities Marathon held in Minneapolis.

Tapson held his own in his age bracket of 40-44 year olds, coming in 455 out of 634.

Fast-forward 25 years. Now 66, Tapson decided to return to Twin Cities and compete in his 25th marathon on Oct. 6 where it all began 25 years ago.

“I wanted to go this year to celebrate my 25th marathon and the first place I competed in a marathon,” Tapson, owner of Bob’s Haircutters, said. “That is the biggest reason for doing it. There will be nearly 10,000 racers there and I’m not going to compete, I’m going just to run.”

Tapson said he and fellow marathon runner Bob Simmons have been training most of the year for this race although they didn’t start running together until nearly two years ago.

“Bob is relentless,” Simmons said. “I’ve never run with anyone as dedicated as he is.

“He is 66 years old yet he is still running marathons. He is an incredible guy.

“We inspire each other. He is 66 going on 26.”

Tapson said his best time in a marathon came 20 years ago when he ran 3:29:15.

His goal for the Twin Cities race this year is 4:30:00 but said the biggest thing he is looking for is improvement over the Fargo Marathon held in May.

“I ran the Fargo marathon in May and after resting a bit, I started training for Twin Cities,” the soft-spoken Tapson said. “I didn’t do as well as I expected. It got a little warm and I had a pulled back muscle but all in all, it went pretty well.

“The main thing was finishing. I ran a little slower than the year before.”

The affable Tapson, an ardent guitar player and one of the original members of the legendary local band Hard Times, said running while in the United States Army prompted him to start running in earnest at the age of 30 years.

“I ran in the service and realized I kind of liked it,” he laughed. “I started running a mile or two than I went to three miles. I remember thinking three miles was a long way at one time.

“Running got popular at that time and I got interested in it. I thought about doing a marathon quite awhile before I actually did it.”

Tapson and Simmons have been training five days a week and did their last long run last week before the Twin Cities.

They ran a 10-mile loop and two, six-mile loops

“You can’t make long runs everyday.” Tapson said. “During the week, the main runs are six miles with a few eight mile runs.

“There are a lot of country roads out here and there are a lot of different routes to run.”

And, Tapson acknowledged, it is better to train with his partner Simmons, the owner of Simmons Broadcasting, rather than going at it alone.

“Two years ago, I mostly ran alone,” he recalled. “So, it is nice to have someone to train with. There are a lot more people running around out here than people realize.

“That’s what I like about running. You can get out there and think about all kinds of different things.

“When you are running, you are exercising the body and relaxing the mind. That is real therapeutic.”

The key, Tapson said, is all about staying true to yourself.

“If you enjoy running, just keep at it and stay persistent and consistent,” he said. “If you put in the time, it will pay off for you.

“But only if you keep at it.”

Twenty-five marathons in 25 years will teach you that.