Bib No. 100: Joe Harris Ready for Milestone Rock ‘n’ Roll Race

Joe Harris

The first step to addiction recovery, psychologists will tell you, is admission. Look yourself in the mirror, bare your soul and confess. Joe Harris then, seemingly is on the path to healing. He confesses to having a problem.

“I’m addicted,” says the 65-year-old semi-retired teacher from Fairfax, Va.

Harris is addicted to running. He didn’t seriously begin putting foot to pavement until June 2004 after a colleague invited him to run a 5K.

“I thought I was going to die,” he says of that first race.

Today, 10-plus years later, it would a take a marathon accounting session to detail Harris’ running feats. The pure numerical count of the long stuff show Harris has logged 115 half marathons and 26 marathons. There’s some fitting symmetry to that latter figure.

But Harris’ hopes for a full, will-never-suffer-another-shin-splint recovery are miniscule. Admission is one thing. Wanting to tame the beast is another.

“I can never envision myself giving up running,” he says.

Harris fights an addiction within his addiction. He’s hooked on the Rock ‘n’ Roll running series. On March 14, Harris will line up for the 13.1-mile race at the Rock ‘n’ Roll DC Marathon and ½ Marathon. It will be his 100th Rock ‘n’ Roll event—85 half marathons paired with 15 marathons.

No one has run more Rock ‘n’ Roll events.

Says Harris, “I think the Rock ‘n’ Roll series, more than any other races I’ve done, they really get the crowd excited about the run. There’s the music at the beginning, the quality of the announcers getting the crowd hyped up for the run. Then it carries through the race. The bands every mile, the cheerleaders. Knowing you’re going to have a concert when you finish. It’s just that consistent quality.”

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