My name is Keith Hansz and you might know me as that weird guy who never stops making sarcastic jokes at every possible opportunity. Even say during a “Running Story” where I’m supposed to be all inspirational and stuff. But at the end of the day if you dig deeper and go beneath all those layers of self-deprecating humor and jokes what you’ll really find is more sarcasm. This is not an inspirational story and I am not an inspirational person with a deep reason for what I do. I started running sophomore year of high school because some of my friends said it would be a good time and I never really got around to quitting (even though all of my high school friends figured out how to do that real quick after graduation).
So let me set the scene for you. I didn’t know it at the time, but this would be the day that would launch one of the most mediocre running careers of all time. In August 2012 I went to my first practice for the cross country team. I jogged half a mile at what I can only assume was 10 minute pace and promptly stopped to take a break. Cause god damn it running is awful and I would not recommend it to anyone. My first race of the season I set the insanely ambitious goal of not walking. That’s right I decided to do what no man had ever thought possible and maintain a running form for 3.1 miles! Anyway, I carried on this glorious momentum all the way through high school and scored 1 whole varsity point while also setting a blazing 5k PR of 20:25.
Three days after the end of my last cross country season (it ended early on account of not having to race those silly regional/state races) my friend and I decided to be stupid and run a marathon. We were very experienced runners having both run upwards of 10 whole miles at one time before. So somehow we didn’t die doing that and got some shiny medals for participating. That’s the beautiful things about long races, they give you a medal just for crossing the finish line and not for being good.
Fast forward to 2015 where things have started to become “lit” and the people have begun their dabbing. I show up to OSU and promptly join the Running Club because hey that’s a thing that I do at a slightly higher level than your average person. I had decided that I wasn’t going to do any more long distance races till after college. So I signed up for the Columbus Marathon and ran that. That one didn’t kill me either even though I threw up twice. I decided it was too easy so I signed up for a 50km race in January going through the trails of Cuyahoga Valley National Park. From there I ran another local 50k race and accidentally won the thing (I didn’t know I was winning until someone told me at mile 30). A few months later I had apparently forgotten how much those things hurt so I signed up for a 50 mile race. While that one tried its damndest to kill me (turns out I should have actually trained for it), it failed to do so and sophomore year of college rolled around. Sprinkle some marathons, more 50ks, even a 100k got mixed in there somewhere and that year was all wrapped up.
In the summer of 2017 I did a 100 mile race and boy was that a fun time. First off kiddos, if you’re gonna do a race like that maybe winging it with only about 3 training runs over 25 miles is not the best race strategy. But I’m lazy so that’s all I did for it. So 29 hours and 2 sunrises later I come shuffling out of the woods looking like a crazy person. I could probably write a whole story on that little adventure. But it’s hard to parse out a lot of what actually happened from what my tired brain made up along the way. Like I’m reasonably confident that at no point did my ethereal spirit leave my body and watch my physical form running from above like some kind of angel. But that’s what I remember happening, so who knows. Also, fun fact, if you’re looking to lose weight fast I dropped 7 or 8 pounds during just that one day.
On to junior year of college. I decided to start doing competitive running club. For all of you that thought I had been racing the first two years of college and remember me at meets, jokes on you cause I was never there. Anyway, I started doing the “fast” racing again and boy was I just truly awful. Go ahead and look up those times if you want to see for yourself. So junior year cross country was a wash and I got injured towards the end of the season. Messed around spring semester too and didn’t race. Come summer of 2018 I was running that same 100 mile race because apparently you get a belt buckle that says 1000 miles on it if you run the race 10 times and that’s real neat-o. This time I really dialed in that training and ran a single training run over 25 miles. But somehow I dropped 5.5 hours off my time and ran it in about 23.5 hours. Goes to show you, hard work and dedication are for losers. It’s much more fun to just go for it and see if your body will let you finish or if it’s just gonna break.
Now we have reached my senior year of college (that was this year if you weren’t paying attention) and I am back into racing the short distances. I did 2 or 3 marathons on the side just for funsies but I didn’t dedicate any training to them. In the 8k I pulled my time down a couple minutes to 31:11 during that Miami race where I got last place and they tried to close the course on me. So that was a real confidence booster to know that my best was literally so slow they forgot I was racing. On to track season. I had a pretty rocky start and middle (with the exception of that truly stunning 2k steeple race as Muskingum), but I finally got my shit together at nationals and the last Otterbein meet. Ran my first sub 1:30 half marathon (1:27:14) and got my 5k down to an 18:23. Which ain’t bad for a guy who once ran a 31:09 5k at a cross country meet high school (look it up, Bruce Lurch 2012, not a good day for Keith). So that is pretty much where my running “career” is at now. I’m not very fast but I enjoy suffering for long amounts of time.
Alright, so now that I have summed up my racing progression through the last 7 years you’re probably expecting me to finally tell you why I run and do all these stupid things. Clearly what I said at the start of this about me not being a deep person can’t possibly be true. All those distance runners have some deeply personal story to tell about how running shaped their lives. Well, not me. I’m did all those races and continue to run because it’s kinda fun I guess. Although honestly it mostly just hurts a lot when I’m racing and I don’t place very well at races I run. This whole thing is kind of a convincing argument for why I should stop running. Although, it gives me something to do and I’ll probably just keep on racing till I get bored of it (or until a race finally kills me).
The following is a list of other stupid but somewhat notable racing things I’ve done over the years. Raced a 50k and a marathon on two consecutive days, pulled an all-nighter before racing a marathon, listened to “Don’t Stop Me Now” by Queen on loop for an entire marathon, did a marathon during a 90° summer day that involved a fully vertical climb and considerably more bleeding than normal, raced a 4 x 400m with a shoe as a baton 3 minutes after a 5k (but most of you already knew that one, just making sure you were paying attention), lost to a 9 year old girl while running a 19:30 5k, beating that said girl by 2 seconds 3 years later with an 18:30.
So, if you ever want to go for a run I’ll be around somewhere and if you’ve found this website you’re probably cool enough to run with me (it’s a pretty low bar honestly). Thank you to OSU Running Club for providing me with the overwhelming majority of my friends at Ohio State because it was a lot easier than trying to make them all separately using “social skills” and all that weird stuff. Y’all are real cool and thanks for putting up with me all these years. It’s been real and hopefully I’ll see y’all around sometime. Unless of course I end up coming back here for medical school, then you’re stuck with me for another 4 whole years (feel free to petition the school). Go Bucks and remember this; someone has to be in the back of the race to make you look good, so you’re welcome for that.