Fit and Well
David Freeze has run around the world two and a half times. Or, more accurately, he has run the equivalent of circling the globe two and a half times.
That's 65,000 miles of running in the last 32 years, much of it done shortly after the 5:00 o'clock morning hour near his home in Landis.
His goal is to reach 100,000 miles. It's important for a runner to have a goal in front of him, he says. It's what he teaches in his new coaching business, Ulearn2run. He offers help to individuals or groups and plans for beginners, along with wellness and race services.
"When I saw it on TV, I told my wife, 'I think I could do that.' She nearly fell off her chair laughing."
But, he went outside and ran the mile. "I struggled so much," he recalls. He never forgets his own beginning struggles when working with a new runner today. Progress is measured by commitment and dedication and by each small step, not by leaps and bounds.
Freeze's life changed in big ways after that first mile. His goal became to run the New York City Marathon, and the next year, he did it. Not as fast as he wanted, but that was just another goal. "I am absolutely passionate about running," he says.
"Nothing starts my day better than getting out for a run. And I get such a charge out of helping a new runner." In the last 20 years, he figures that he has worked with some 500 individual runners. "People e-mail me and say they want to know how to run a 5K faster,: he says.
He is a nationally certified coach and president of the Salisbury-Rowan Runners Club. The club offers beginning runners classes in the spring and fall on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 6:30 PM. Classes are taught at the Salisbury Civic Center, Sacred heart Catholic Church and First Reformed Church of Landis. "On the first night, we walk or run," he says. "We try to cover a mile." Freeze knows what a struggle that can be for some people. He was a little overweight when he attempted his first run in 1979, and he never forget his struggle just to get back in the door. At the end og these eight-week classes, participants are off and running.
Running is an individual sport, one that you do in your own time frame and at your own pace. That appeals to Freeze, who like to set his own schedule and goals. He has run a total of 800 races. In one year alone, he ran 50 races - an average of about one per weekend. For a four-year stretch, he never missed a day of running. He holds four state championships in the masters class. He has participated in 24 marathons and traveled widely to do all this - London, Montreal, New York, Boston, Detroit. "That makes it even more fun," he says.
Freeze was national plant manager for Imperial Supplies when he started running, and later, he was property manager at the East Rowan YMCA, where he taught an after-school running program for kids. Now, he is teaching and coaching full-time.
"My biggest reward is being able to see someone else take up the same passion," he says. "I was fortunate to have a life of health and fitness, and the best thing I can do is share that life of health and fitness with someone else." And, once he reaches the 100,000-mile mark? There will be another goal, of course.
Tips to 'Get Out There and Run'
Long-time runner and instructor David Freeze offers this advise:
- Take the first step. Be willing to get out the door. "My favorite word is 'move.'" he says.
- Keep a goal in front of you. "It makes is so much easier," he says. Once you reach a goal, start another one.
"Never stop having a challenge in front of you."
Story by Linda Bailey
Photography by Melissa Graham