"For the Hat Run, we had 500 people coming for a 50K race that ran all day. I put a lot of pressure on myself," Phil Anderson said. "Stress can build up to a stroke, and I think that was part of it. I found a couple of friends to take it over from me."
That's when Anderson started a smaller, shorter race he called Phil's Survivor Run to help raise money for researching aphasia and other forms of stroke. The first year, only 25 participants showed up.
"The next year, it was 100, then 200 and now 300, so I'm building the whole thing back up again," he said. "But this is just [a] 5K. We start in the morning, and we're done by noon. I use the running to help recuperate from my stroke. It keeps me happy."
That has been part of the pact Anderson made with his wife when they were married 41 years ago.
"I made a deal with him when our daughter was about 3 or 4 when he started running," Carol Anderson said. "I told him, 'I want you to have a really happy, fun life. If this is what you want to do, that's great. Don't make me do it or I'll be miserable.' I think that's why we stayed together so long. We have a lot of mutual respect for each other."
Anderson can't see a day when he is no longer running.
"I kind of hope not," he said. "God, I hope not."
Northern Central Trail Marathon
When: Saturday, 9 a.m.
Where: An out-and-back course primarily along the Northern Central Railroad Trail. The start and finish are at Sparks Elementary School, and the first 1.8 miles and last 1.5 miles of the race are on rural paved roads. A few hills occur on the paved roads that begin and end the course, but most of the race is on the flat stretches of the NCR Trail. The trail surface is a compacted combination of dirt and fine stone. The trail winds along the Gunpowder River, through quiet farmland.
Phil Anderson documentary: http://www.wherl.com/portfolio/marathon-documentary