Coffman, 64, is a physical education teacher with Fairfax County Public Schools who is set to run his 35th consecutive Boston Marathon on Monday. He has competed in a total of 74 marathons, including 20 Marine Corps Marathons, and has taught in Fairfax County (currently at Saratoga Elementary and Hollin Meadows Elementary) for 23 years.
How did you get started running?
I was in the Marine Corps from 1971 to 1975. Four times each year, they have a physical fitness test, which requires you to run three miles. I kind of enjoyed it, and then I got stationed in Hawaii -- perfect running weather. There was a doctor in Hawaii who wanted to bring a marathon to Honolulu, and in 1973, he did. I just thought, 'This sounds like something I'd like to try.'
You've run so many marathons. Any favorites?
The first Boston that I ran -- training and qualifying and finishing was very satisfying. Oh, and in 1988, I was stationed in England teaching at one of the U.S. Department of Defense schools. I had always wanted to run the Greek Marathon, held every October in Greece. It starts out in the town of Marathon, and you run into Athens, finishing the race in the stadium that the first modern Olympics were held in 1896. It was incredible, an unbelievable run.
Wow. Do you know others with this kind of marathon experience?
I do! There's a group in Boston called the Quarter Century Club, and there are about 35 to 40 runners who have completed at least 25 consecutive marathons.
Do you have many more Bostons to come?
I hope so. I really do. I could say I'd like to run 50, but realistically, I take it a year at a time and as long as my health is good, I think that'll still be there, my desire and love for it.
- Lisa Gartner