Athlete of the Week – SJA Assistant XC and Track Coach Michael Schlater

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Cropped Photo: daveynin / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

BROWNSVILLE – Saint Joseph Academy Assistant Track and Cross Country Coach Michael Schlater loves to run. 

“It’s something that’s been a part of me for many many years,” Schlater said. “I’ve been getting out of bed at 4:45 a.m. almost every day for the last 39 years.”

Originally from Dayton, Ohio, Schlater has called Brownsville his home for decades. He began volunteering at Saint Joseph Academy when his first son enrolled in classes in 2008. His time on the track at Canales Field allowed him to increase his daily mileage significantly. 

“I was able to run twice a day. Once in the morning and in the afternoon with the kids.” 

His love for running is only matched by his perseverance, a virtue that has led him to run everyday for 6,707 consecutive days. 

“In terms of a documented streak I am about a hundred on the list in the United States,” Schlater said with a smile. “[Today, I will reach] 90,000 miles since I began documenting in 1981.” 

The requirement to make such a list is one mile per day.  Schlater has run at least 3 miles everyday since Sept. 12, 2001. In the last 5 years, he has eclipsed the 8 -mile mark nearly every day, but not without any road bumps. 

“Toward’s the end of last year, I found out I had early stage melanoma, skin cancer, in one of my arms,” Schlater said. “It came up very quickly.” 

The cancer required a small procedure, but Schlater made sure to get a run in beforehand. 

“[The procedure] got done in the morning… and then I was ready to get back on my feet the next day and keep going.” 

Now at the 90,000-mile mark, Schlater has a well-documented excel spreadsheet, over 150 pairs of shoes and countless supporters to thank for getting him to this mark. 

“The ultimate goal is 100,000 miles,” Schlater said. “At this pace, I should hit 100,000 by September or October of 2022.” 

When that day comes, he can think of no better way to hit the milestone than by running the final lap with family, friends and the Saint Joseph Academy community by his side. 

“These things all have a way of working themselves out,” Schlater added. “If, eventually, I ever get to the 100,000-mile  mark, I literally want to do it here on this track with the kids, my sons and some of the other people that I’ve been able to share this experience with all these years.”

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