The toughest athlete in this state isn’t playing on a football field, and he qualifies for the AARP discount at Denny”s.
Steve Hughes hasn’t let his age (65) or pain, and lots of it, keep him him from achieving a singnificant milestone.
Hughes, a retired Little Rock attorney, ran his 300th marathon in Darlington, S.C. at the end of last month. He’s run 240 of those marathons since his 60th birthday. By February he will have run a marathon in all 50 states four times. He chronicled all of this when we tracked him down in Chicago, his part-time home for a recent Sync Weekly Q&A.
However, the most impressive thing about Hughes is the pain he endures. He is passed the bone-on-bone stage in his left foot and his toes don’t bend. His right foot isn’t much better, and he has negative flexibility in his ankles. But the biggest testament of Hughes’ determination was running a marathon in a walking boot that was too small.
As he approached marathon 100, his leg was hurting. One of the participants’ friends was a doctor and examined him. She determined Hughes may have a stress fracture.
Somehow he managed to borrow a walking boot from the race director and ran two different marathons in the boot that was too small. As a result his big toe rubbed raw on the pavement.
Hughes, who says he is in cons
tant pain with his feet and Osteoarthritis, plans to quit running in March with the completion of the Little Rock Marathon. Hughes credits a high pain threshold (he refuses to use Novocaine for dental work because of fear of needles) to deal with the pain.
Hughes may not be as athletic as his father, who was a football player at Alabama, and after World War II lettered in three sports at Arkansas, but he definitely inherited his toughness.