on Sports
Marathoner Mouncy Mondo Mad by Stan Silliman


Silliman on Sports
By Stan Silliman
Marathoner Mouncy Mondo Mad

      If I told you there was a long distance runner who drank a pint of Guinness a day, smoked a few cigarettes daily and loved running in triple digit weather without a water bottle, you’d call me crazy, right? What if I added the guy is 56 years old, brings along a scalpel to scrape his own calluses and then applies Superglue to his wounds, you’d say double crazy, right?
What if I added he eats horse feed in addition to a piece of toast for breakfast and a bit of salad at night, and that’s all he has on the days he marathons, you’d say triple crazy, right?

    I’m not crazy. The guy I’m talking about is Englishman Ray Mouncey, and if anyone’s eccentric, it’s him. You know the 110 degree weather we’re suffering in right now? Mouncey loves it. He’d say “It’s a great day for a run… in the sand.” With no water bottle, mind you, and the more balmy the conditions the better. He’s gearing up to run ten marathons in ten days… in a war zone. I’m not the one you should be calling crazy.

    In 2001, he ran 1001 miles in 40 straight days. That’s 25 miles a day, folks, and it’s the same routine: no water, inexpensive self-repaired shoes (that Superglue not only works for wounds…) but get this, everyday of the 40 straight days, in Death Valley, California - average temperature in this hellhole – 140 degrees. And did he wear a big floppy hat, I’m thinking sombrero myself, of course not. The conditions were so gruesome two spectators who were just there watching him… died. The temperatures did top 146 on some days and he did have to alter his shoes, cut bigger holes, to get his swollen feet in them.
Marathoner Mouncey Mondo Mad by Stan Silliman
    The 1001 miles through Death Valley in 2001 was the culmination of his Death Valley runs. He was raising money for a hospice and started off running 135 miles, then 200 miles the next year, then 325, then 500 and then the next year 1001. All of this in weather that for many people if they stood out there for an hour, they’d catch fire, burn and die. Ray raised a lot of money for his hospice, but get this, folks got bored with his Death Valley runs. I guess if you run 1001 miles with no hat and no water in frying pan temperatures, and you keep living, people eventually say “what’s the use” and turn off. 

    So then Mouncey ran across America in 2003. Nice little trip, about 2500 miles, but it wasn’t sweltering so maybe Ray was bored. Actually he wasn’t. He set a goal of running from Florida to California in 95 days averaging 26 miles a day or 95 straight marathons. All the while he was raising money for terminally ill kids like his own son, Luke. 

    A lot of runners will tell you 95 twenty-six mile days in a row are a bit of a challenge. But not for our madman, not our Ray. He wants to add a little danger to it, so in August he’s off to Israel for ten marathons in ten days around Israel finishing up at the Dead Sea. Can he raise a lot of money on this trip? Certainly. Will he be inspiring? Certainly. Is he absolutely crazy? Without question. The horse feed he takes – Equine Cortaflex? “It supports my joints. Who cares if it’s for horses?” We’ve heard about people who love running and our Ray must really, really love it. “I get bored,” Ray says, “running doesn’t do anything for me. I don’t like it. I don’t care for it but I’m good at it so I do it.”

    That’s a good attitude. We saw Chariots of Fire and know the British are into running. What we didn’t know is that some of the British who grew up in a shade covered, cloud covered existence could thrive so well in sweltering heat. That underneath the buttoned-up, sweater covered exteriors of the Brits the world’s most pain-tolerant and heat-tolerant athlete could emerge. We should think twice the next time we call them wussies. Naaaah. Sorry, I got soft for a moment.


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