Forest has been running for 55 years.
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Lake Mills resident Boyd Forest has amassed a collection of 200 T-shirts which chronicles his dedication to running.
The 75-year-old’s assortment includes more than two dozen from the Crazylegs Classic, an 8-kilometer run that begins today at the Capitol Square and ends in Camp Randall Stadium.
Forest said there’s no strict training regimen or secret behind his race strategy. He simply loves to run.
“I’ve just been running for 55 years,” he said. “I don’t get ready for anything; I am ready for it. It’s just fun. I keep doing the Crazylegs because I can.
“I up my running mileage a little heading into a race, but I’m not doing anything [differently] in the last month than I did in February or last October.”
Forest retired in 2007 from Lake Mills High School after a 30-year career serving stints as principal, athletic director and tennis coach. Long-distance events dotted his running career, including the Boston Marathon and Grandma’s Marathon in Duluth, Minn., though in recent years shorter distances have proven to be more his pace. He’s also persevered through three surgeries to repair torn meniscus in his knees.
Forest, a native of Granite Falls, Minn., estimates he takes part in six races each year, and said his competitive juices start flowing after a brief chat on the course with a fellow runner.
“I get alongside an older person, a younger guy or gal, and ask, ‘What do you think you’re going to run this today?’ They might tell me they’ll run in 44 minutes,” Forest said.
“I may lose to that person but unbeknownst to them, they drag me to the finish line. I think I may have gained two minutes because of that guy or gal; and I’m going to finish in a competitive nature.”
Forest participated in the first Crazylegs run in 1982, but he can’t select a singular highlight from past appearances. More than anything, he’s buoyed by support he’s received from his wife, Pat, and Lake Mills graduates who cheer the former administrator to the finish.
The 2013 edition of Crazylegs marked the first time a Forest father-and-son duo raced together, when Jason, 45, ran with his dad. They crossed the finish line of the 8K race with a time of 48 minutes, 16 seconds.
The family will be well represented today, with Jason and Scott, 47, joining the pack. Both sons competed in college — Scott running at Stanford and Jason at UW-La Crosse.
Jason said his father has been an influential figure in his sons’ lives, and watching his father’s focus with maintaining fitness at an older age has been a satisfying experience.
“We were in sports from the time we were in fourth grade through our college years, so we just fed off of, and were inspired by, his energy,” Jason said. “Running was a good inspiration to stay healthy.
“He followed through to just keep a good, clear mind from all your exercise and keep your body in shape. He’s taught us that 30 years down the road, [if] you still continue to have good activity, good parts of life are still ahead.”
Boyd Forest’s top finish was a runner-up slot in his age group five years ago, and he’ll move to the 75-79 age group this time around.
Approximately 112 runners will participate in 70-and-older divisions in today’s Crazylegs.
Forest remains invigorated by the thrill of the run, and said he has no timetable for putting away his running shoes.
“It would be easy to say, ‘I’m done,’ but I don’t have that feeling yet,” Forest said. “I just hope and pray when that day comes, that I will be OK with it. I think I will be. I will replace running with something else.”