Runner covers 20,000 miles in 20 years

One dedicated Carmel Valley runner has been racking up the mileage. As of the week of Dec. 22, 64-year-old Craig Higgs has run 20,000 miles in 20 years.

With the 20,000 mark in his rear view, Higgs' next goal is to hit 24,000, which is roughly the circumference of the earth.

Sticking with an exercise routine can be difficult, as there's always an excuse not to work out. But Higgs doesn't waste time coming up with excuses - he just puts on his running shoes and goes.

"I've never regretted taking a run," Higgs said, noting the afterglow feeling is just too good. "I make it a priority because your health is your priority. I try to let as little as possible get in the way of taking a jog."

1,000-mile years

Higgs is a San Diego native who has lived in Carmel Valley for 12 years. He is an attorney at the downtown firm of Higgs, Fletcher and Mack founded by his father DeWitt "Dutch" Higgs in 1939 and has been a runner for more than 30 years.

Higgs has competed in several 10K races and three marathons - his last was the Big Sur Marathon in 1994.

Higgs' mile tally began at the downtown YMCA near his office, where they kept running logs for members. If members reached 1,000 miles a year, they'd receive a free T-shirt.

His original motivation was just to win the free shirt, but he has reached the 1,000-mile mark every year since.

"I didn't set out to run 20,000 miles," Higgs said. "Running is just great exercise, great stress release. Every year I was cursed to do it another year."

Ideal routes

Higgs usually runs five or six times a week, at a distance between three and five miles a session. He runs in the morning, during his at lunchtime and sometimes in the evening.

He usually tries to run with friends, but his iPod helps the time fly by when he's alone.

If he goes out at noon on workdays, Higgs often runs along the San Diego Bay near his office.

When home, his favorite route is down Carmel County Road through Torrey Pines High School, across Del Mar Heights Road and back. The route is ideal because of its wide streets, good sidewalks and "not too many stoplights."

"The best, of course, is the beach when you can get out there," Higgs said of Torrey Pines.

The Three S's

20,000-miler Craig Higgs' tips to success in running:

  1. Stretching: Before and after each run
  2. Shoes: Start with good ones and change them out every 500 miles
  3. Surface: Try to run on soft surfaces and stay off the concrete to minimize wear and tear on your joints
   
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