Around the World in 28 Years

One ASTM Member’s Personal Standard for Fitness

It has taken 28 years, but ASTM International member Dick Reaves is within a few hundred miles of running around the world. Reaves began running in January 1985 as a way of training for an adult soccer league. After deciding he enjoyed running more than soccer, Reaves established a goal of running 100 miles a month, which he accomplished for several years. That goal has been reduced in recent years so that he has actually averaged about 73 miles a month for the 28 years.

After his first run, Reaves took a moment to note his distance and time. He has been running — and keeping records — ever since.

To give himself a sense of his progress, Reaves began plotting his distance on what his children called his “Forrest Gump” map, referring to the title character’s run across the United States in the 1994 film. By the end of 1985, Reaves figured he’d almost run the distance from Raleigh, N.C., to Nashville, Tenn. By the end of ‘86, Reaves had run about the distance from Nashville to the Texas/New Mexico border.

“I have 24,456 miles on my body,” says Reaves. The circumference of the earth is around 24,900 miles, so Reaves estimates that by this September he will have essentially run around the earth.

Reaves attributes his careful record keeping to his profession.

“Being a civil engineer, when you go out on a project, you start a project diary,” says Reaves. “You write down who was on the project that day, what the contractor accomplished, what test results you had, etc. You document everything. I am that person. I keep records.”

Running has given Reaves a great way to explore the cities he has visited during ASTM International meetings. Some meetings would even lead to unexpected running opportunities.

Reaves joined ASTM International in 1986, the same year he was promoted to the position of state materials engineer in the Materials and Tests Unit of the North Carolina Department of Transportation. In 1999, Reaves retired from NCDOT and began work at Troxler Electronic Laboratories Inc., where he worked until June 2012.

Reaves is now retired but still represents Troxler at ASTM meetings as a member of Committees C09 on Concrete and Concrete Aggregates, D04 on Road and Paving Materials and D18 on Soil and Rock. He has served as chair of D04.21 on Specific Gravity and Density of Bituminous Materials and is currently vice chair of that subcommittee. Reaves was also on ASTM’s Committee on Technical Committee Operations (2002 - 2004) and its board of directors (2007 - 2009).

Reaves has run in several high-profile marathons, including those in Boston, Chicago, New York, Washington, D.C., and Dublin, Ireland. “I first ran the Boston Marathon when I was 40 in 1990,” says Reaves. “Then just by chance, I ran it again when I was 50, so I decided to run it every ten years.” He followed through after turning 60. “My plan now is 2020, when I’m 70, but we’ll see,” Reaves says with a laugh.

One of Reaves’ recent races was the Krispy Kreme Challenge, in Raleigh, N.C., on Feb. 9. During this race, which is an annual fundraiser for the North Carolina Children’s Hospital, participants run 2.5 miles (4 km) to a Krispy Kreme doughnut shop, eat a dozen doughnuts and then return to the starting point.

“If you can do all that in an hour, you’ve met the Krispy Kreme Challenge,” says Reaves. Encouraged to take the challenge by his youngest daughter, Reaves admits that he couldn’t eat the doughnuts fast enough to complete the race in an hour. “I ate the whole dozen last year, but it took longer to eat them than it took to run the total five miles,” says Reaves. “This year, I finished in an hour, but only got six doughnuts down.”

Dick Reaves

This article appears in the issue of Standardization News.