He is a runner of distance, conquering city streets and dusty trails 26.2 miles at a time. Dr. Lance Barry, a Cartersville podiatrist, finds time between business and family to log miles, as many as 2,400 in his busiest year.
Admittedly, not a natural, and from the start not interested in running, he and a small group of friends have now run marathons for 15 years. One statement sums up the inspiration for continually testing his physical and mental limits.
"You need to do something you don't like everyday because you need the practice." Barry said.
Occupation: Triple Board Certified Podiatrist
City of residence: Cartersville, born and raised in Granite City, Ill.
Family: Married to Anna for 25 years, 12-year-old son John attends Excel Christian Academy
Education: Undergraduate studies at Southern Illinois University, attained a Graduate degree at Dr. William M. Scholl College of the Rosland Franklin School of Medicine and Science at the University of Chicago
Q: When did you start running?
A: In the Air Force is when I first started running but absolutely didn't like it. But once I looked at everybody else's expression and people getting sick I realized relative to them, I liked it a little bit more. I still didn't like it but obviously I liked it more than they liked it.
Q: Who do you run with?
A: Steve Hogan, Gary Nichols, Bill Speller and James Farr. We don't run everyday together, we may not run together but once every two weeks but we do go to the races together and 15 years ago, me and Steve were always running together.
Q: What was your first marathon?
A: Our first one was Chickamauga in 1996 and we did absolutely everything wrong you could do. Wore the wrong shoes -- and I know I'm a foot doctor, wore the wrong clothes -- got chafed, fueled wrong and that's why people say every time you do one you learn something.
I think the first one is the determining factor because after the first one it took about two months for me to feel like I could walk and then when you reflect back on it, that's when you say, 'that was the right thing to do.' Like they say, physical things loose value over time and memories gain value.
I think another fascinating thing about runners is, every one of them, they can tell you almost every step of every race which is squirrelly but true because it's that dramatic.
Q: How many marathons have you ran?
Q: What is your best time?
A: My best time was at the age of 42 and it was a 3:20. It was my Boston qualifier and the interesting part of that story is they have cut off times based on your age. So I was in the 40 to 45 group and my cut off time was 3:20:59. I ran a 3:20:50, nine seconds.
Q: What is your most memorable running accomplishment?
A: Qualifying for the Boston Marathon. It took me 12 marathons to qualify for Boston because I don't have any true natural running talent. It really does go back to 'do something you don't like everyday.' And 12 marathons over about a six-year period and to train for six months, go run and miss -- you've got to have a hard head.
That just shows you I don't have that natural ease of running distance. I'm too big. I'm 5'9", I've always weighed about 195 since the military.
Q: What do you feel that you have gained in your personal life from running?
A: Exactly what these [posters and quotes] do for me everyday. I love these quotes, these are all some of my favorite quotes.
The things that beat you up, it's just like the tsunami in Japan: they'll be stronger. You watch and see, the Japanese people will revert back to the things that really matter whether it's their faith or working together or whatever. And if you can do the marathon, you can do anything. It doesn't have to be running but you know what you sacrificed to get there.
Q: What is the importance of that sacrifice?
A: It's the sacrifice that lasts, that's what you remember. Not necessarily the time but the fact that we got up for three straight months at 4 a.m. to run because that's what Steve's schedule had to have. I hold on to that like I hold on to my Boston time because to make that commitment to anything in life, that's what lasts the longest.
Whether it's your time, or time away from your family, or whatever. Sacrifice, that's the single word that I think all runners have in common.
Q: I understand you were the first person in Bartow County to join the 50 State Marathon Club. What exactly is that?
A: You've got to have [run a marathon in] at least 10 different states just to send it in to qualify. I'm at 23. Doing 50 states just means I can't quit. That's the carrot.
The reason I set all 50 states as my goal is because I knew what would happen. If it took 12 marathons to get to Boston, after that was done it was in the books and you've conquered the mountain and then you call it off. The 50 states will take me the rest of my life.