Prior to Mike Beeman’s 1997 and 2002 running of New Hampshire from North to South, there’s really only one other occurrence of some kind of similar run across the state. A well know New England runner and running historian Pete Stringer reports:
“His name was Michael White, a real free spirit, and it was about 1980 or 81. I think the year before he had hiked the Appalaichian Trail. This was an endurance run to hopefully inspire his friend who was fighting cancer, and his goal was to run through or touch five states. I ran with him the part from Peterborough to Keene on 101. He started in Salem, (NH)I believe, and ran through southern Vermont and touched NY before going down in Mass. and ending somewhere in Connecticutt. Not sure how long it was but I think he said 135 miles or so. Salem would be 15 or 20 miles west of the NH coastline,so technically it wasn’t all the way across New Hampshire.
I had tried to get him interested in marathons or regular road running races, but he never bit. (I didn’t run my first ultra race myself until 1990 – there just wasn’t many around) Last I heard Mike was out in New Mexico flying crop dusters, but he would be an old man now. I am 69 and he was at least four or five years older than me.”
So there it is, a 45 year old man venturing out to run through or touch 5 of the 6 New England States all in an attempt to inspire a friend who was fighting cancer. His 1981 Run Across NH started in Salem, NH and wound it’s way west where he crossed over into Vermont on Route 9. There are no photos, there is no report, hell I can’t even find the now 70+ year old “crop-duster,” but his history remains.
As we head into this years Run Across NH I felt this historical series was necessary to not only take a look at those who dared to run before me, but necessary to simply uncover the history of Running Across the state. From time to time, I get e-mails from anonymous folks who like to argue that I wasn’t the first to Run Across the width of NH. I have yet to find any further proof of this and my search was not only thorough but exhaustive. I called and spoke to a handful of 70+ year old runners from New Hampshire and beyond who would know this history and they themselves are unable to name any other runners.
So From Michael White’s Run from Salem, NH to Vermont then 3 other New England States.. to Mike Beeman’s 8 Day North to South Make-A-Wish Run.. to Kurt Stuke’s Saturday jaunts from Vermont to Hampton, it remains true that I am the first person to have run Across New Hampshire’s Widest part (From Brattleboro, VT to Rye.. Western-most to Eastern-Most Point) and in one continuous trip. What surprised me the most is how a like all of our stories to run across New Hampshire have been. Each and every one of these runs was done as a way to inspire others to move.
I think back to Mike Beeman’s run’s across New Hampshire. I remember seeing him on the news, pushing his daughter in the stroller, then later pushing his son. I lived in Derry at the time and he taught in Londonderry and later my Alma-Matter. I’d be lying if I told you Mike didn’t inspire me to run across the state in 2008. As I head into this year run, I now have 3 stories to inspire me.
1981: Michael White – Salem, NH to Brattleboro, VT
1997: Michael Beeman – Canada/Pittsburgh, NH to Salem, NH (1st and only person to have RANH N-S)
2002: Michael Beeman – Canada/Pittsburgh, NH to Salem, NH
2003: Kurt Stuke – Hinsdale, NH to Rye, NH (9 Saturdays)
2008: “Sherpa” John Lacroix – Brattleboro, VT to Rye, NH (1st and only person to have run width of NH W-E Non-stop)
2009: “Sherpa” John Lacroix – Brattleboro, VT to Rye, NH
(2010: “Sherpa” John Lacroix – SKRG – MSG)