Ex-Smoker Still Smokes The Competition

Running has taken Jack Tutterow all over the world. He has run along the canals of Venice. He ran the same route in Athens, Greece, as the messenger who brought news of victory from Marathon more than 2,500 years ago. He raced past the famous stone statues on Easter Island.

At 77 years old, Tutterow, an Edgemere resident, continues to run with the same drive and endurance he puts into most aspects of his life. Since beginning his marathon trek at 43 years old, Tutterow has participated in more than 30 races.

While running has become an international endeavor, Tutterow will never forget the Chicago Marathon, where he set his personal record of 3 hours, 2 minutes, with a 6:57 per-mile pace.

Originally from Tennessee, Tutterow and his wife moved to University Park in 1988, when Tutterow left the corporate world to start a small business. Considering work was a major reason he started to run, it only made sense to continue the tradition, which has brought him solace from his hectic professional life.

“I got started at a … very difficult time,” Tutterow said. “It helped me process a lot of issues with that very difficult work environment at that time. I kind of got hooked and started running [marathons]. When you have a lot of things going on, it’s easy to get out of focus. Running kind of keeps me centered.”

Running was already a part of Tutterow’s life, but only in short distances. He had never considered going 26.2 miles until a friend pushed him to train for the Marine Corps Marathon in 1981.

As Tutterow became more serious about long-distance races, he realized one aspect of his life had to go — smoking. A habit he started at 11 years old, Tutterow can recall the exact time and date of his final cigarette — 11:40 a.m. on June 21, 1981. While the decision to quit smoking wasn’t easy, he quickly discovered that running provided a soothing affect, and improved his health.

With more than 30 years of experience, Tutterow knows how to get back into marathon shape. For him, training is a constant warm-up for race days.

“In training, ultimately, you never bring all the pieces together until race day,” he said. “You’ve got the endurance training, the pace training, and then the organ between your ears … your brain.”

In 2007, Tutterow had ankle surgery which took him out of the racing circuit for six months. He continued to run one half-marathon each year, but his pain continued to get worse.

Finally, a doctor identified the true issue was coming from his right hip muscles. Along with his training regimen, Tutterow works with a physical therapist to improve balance, flexibility, and core strength.

Tutterow is now regaining his “runner’s high” and is back on the track. While he is still undergoing rehabilitation, Tutterow can still be seen making a lap around White Rock Lake at least once a week. He plans on running the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon on April 24.

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