By Michael Dashiell
Olympic Peninsula News Group
SEQUIM — “The big thing about ultra distance running is you’re on your feet a long time,” Chuck Milliman said. “You don’t worry about pace.”
With plenty of experience doing just that, Milliman is once again going the distance … and then some.
The Sequim resident is prepping for another ultra-long run to help raise funds for the community. This time, he plans an 85-mile run Tuesday and Wednesday to celebrate his 85th birthday and garner some support for the Sequim Food Bank.
In 2010, Milliman celebrated his 78th birthday by running back-to-back-to-back marathons — 78.6 miles. Two years later, he ran 80 miles for his 80th birthday, with both fundraisers going to the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Olympic Peninsula.
This year, he hopes his efforts can help feed those who need it the most.
“It’s easily the most unique (fundraiser) we’ve had,” said Stephen Rosales, Sequim Food Bank Board president. “We appreciate him doing this for us and for the (Boys & Girls) club.”
By simple word-of-mouth Milliman had raised more than $200 the last week of October.
Rosales said the food bank aims at distributing about 900 baskets of food during Thanksgiving baskets and another 700-800 during the Christmas holiday.
“No one should go without a Thanksgiving dinner,” Rosales said.
He said monetary funds are generally the best kind of donation for the food bank, as it gives the organization flexibility in what items to stock.
Milliman’s path will take him on several loops near his house in the Jamestown area, from Sequim-Dungeness Way to Woodcock Road, Wilcox Lane, Taylor Farm Road and other relatively short jaunts, always staying about 2-3 miles from his home in case something goes awry.
He’ll have a motorhome and some family, including son Phil, helping him with portions of his run.
Milliman said he’s aiming at a 3 miles-per hour pace. With a 9 a.m. start time on Tuesday, he expects to finish at about 1 p.m. Wednesday.
A retired minister who didn’t start “seriously” running until he was nearly 39 years old, Milliman has more than 55 marathons to his credit, not counting his recent ultra-running fundraisers.
He’s also a national Senior Games pole vault champion and competes in state and national senior games year to year. Earlier this year, he and Phil swept the pole vault events at the Birmingham 2017 National Senior Games in Alabama, with both earning top-five all-time seniors games marks.
All this after surviving a dual bypass in 2001.
For this year’s event, as in previous “ultra” fundraisers, he’s logging some extra miles.
“I only run 15 miles a week, normally,” Milliman said.
That went up to 25 to 30 miles per week before his first 3-mile training run that he finished in September.
Then his weeks looked like this: 30 miles on Monday, 15 on Tuesday, rest on Wednesday, four on Thursday, 10 on Friday, 15 on Saturday and a rest day on Sunday.
“That’s doable,” he said, laughing.
As long as it’s a community fundraiser, he said, he would be happy to have fellow runners if they want to join him on his 85-mile trek next week.
“I’d love to have company,” Milliman said, “especially at two in the morning.”
To donate to the Sequim Food bank, send checks to P.O. Box 1453, Sequim, Wash., 98382 or online at https://www.sequimfoodbank.org/giving/give-money/.