Bill Schultz still gets some pretty good mileage.
The Collingdale resident known for his transcontinental run in 1990 still logs over 3,000 miles a year.
He easily recalls the details of his cross-country trek which started when he took his sabbatical from teaching at Harris Elementary School. He started on Feb. 21st with his hands and toes in the Pacific Ocean, with the goal of 30 miles a day for 100 days. He called the school every week and a different student would interview him and ask where he was so they could keep track on a map.
Shultz finished in 95 days in Atlantic City when he did a full From Here to Eternity flop in the Atlantic Ocean.
“It was the most selfish thing I have ever done,” Shultz says. “I only worried about one person. Every day it was my butt out there on the highway.”
Today, Schultz’s pursuits are far from selfish. He deflects praise and, to his mile-long page of accomplishments, simply says, “it’s all relative.”
The record-breaking runner was a three-sport athlete at Collingdale High School but didn’t start running until the late 1970s due to an if-my-little-brother-can-do-it-so-can-I incentive.
He eventually began to run 3,000 miles a year (topping out at 4,000). He won his first six-day race in 1985, making him the fourth American to do so. He won again in 1989 breaking the American record.
“It’s all relative. That’s what I was trying to do. Running, to me, became a thing of you got out of it what you put into it. The only way to get better was to put in more miles,” Shultz said.
What does get his blood pumping, besides running, is the Dawn To Dusk To Dawn Ultras at Academy Park’s Knight Track. Schultz and Bob Huggins cofounded the event in 1984. After Huggins’ passing, Josh Irvan assumed the role as co-director.
The USA Track and Field-sanctioned event features a 50k Ultra, 24-hour Ultra, and 12-hour Ultra and starts at 7 a.m. on May 13. The 24-hour Ultra has received the Silver Label and the 12-hour and 50k Ultra have the Bonze Label from the International Association of Ultrarunners.
In 2016, four members of the Delco Road Runners Club set state records at the event, which featured more than 70 runners representing eight countries. In the 24-hour race, overall winner Pam Smith, of Oregon, broke American records and qualified for the world championships. Of the 40 people in the 24-hour Ultra, 13 set state records and six set American records.
“We wanted to put on a race we would like to run,” said Shultz. “I’d want to run my race. If you come to our race, we want you to get a personal record. That is important to us. We want you to have the best race of your life.”
Schultz has run 13 six-day races (the only American to do so), 100 marathons and Ultras. His input is regularly sought when runners are planning to tackle such races or cross-country treks. He doesn’t consider himself a “coach,” but is generous with sharing information.
Irvan (Strath Haven ‘88) calls Schultz one of his heroes who has supported him in many ways including being a member of his crew during the 24-hour US National Championships where Irvan placed fourth.
“He helped me a lot and I’m grateful,” added Irvan. “He’s not my coach but he is my mentor and he had given back to the Ultra running and marathon community hundreds of times over. He is highly respected for his options on running/training by many of the best runners in the country. Bill just wants to help runners achieve success.”
Today, Shultz, who retired from teaching in 2011, lives in the Collingdale home he grew up in. He averages 3,000 miles a year at 64 years-old, still competes in his age group and breaks records. His days are filled with runs at Ridley Creek State Park, The Rockford Files, crossword puzzles, workouts and assisting with races.
“This is something I’ve had some success with and I’ve enjoyed the people, places and experiences that I was blessed to have through running,” said Schultz, who underwent a double bypass in 2008.
There is another thing that get’s Schultz’s blood pumping. For a man seems to repeat “it’s all relative” like a mantra, he is often asked to speak during life milestones.
During his trek across the country, he didn’t only run, he crafted a prayer. He knows some will fight over the origin of the nationality for the first few lines, but the message is the key:
May the sun forever shine upon your face.
May the wind forever blow upon your back.
May your goals forever be in sight.
May your beliefs forever give you strength.
May your spirit forever run free.