CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The countdown to the annual Beach to Bay Marathon is ticking down, but for avid runner Clent Mericle, every day leading up to the race is just another chance to train.
Mericle is considered one of the founding fathers of the Beach to Bay Relay Marathon, as a member of the Corpus Christi Roadrunners. He is now preparing for the 46th Beach to Bay Relay.
"I have run every single Beach to Bay," Mericle said. "I'm a big believer in fitness and fun, and that’s what John Butterfield did."
He was close friends with another founder, John Butterfield. The retired Navy captain has been Mericle’s inspiration to run every single one.
“There’s a number of things that could’ve happened. It’s kind of by luck. I could’ve moved, or I had opportunities when I was younger as a competitor to do other things…" Mericle said. "And, it’s important to me because I want to make John Butterfield happy… He wants me to get to 50, and I think I can do it.”
To Mericle, this is actually the 48th Beach to Bay race because the event was canceled for two years during the COVID-19 pandemic.
That didn't stop Mericle.
“Those two years, I still ran a solo team with friends and long-time friends mostly. They’re people I think a lot of,” he said.
The 69-year-old has an infinite love for running and competing since he was a young boy. Beach to Bay has given him the opportunity to meet people from all over the world and make memories of a lifetime. A favorite comes from the second Beach to Bay.
“It was a funny moment and a special moment because it’s family team. I ran with my dad, my younger brother, my sister,” he said.
He runs a few miles nearly every day, picking up his pace as he gets closer to race day.
So, no one has more knowledge and advice on running Beach to Bay than Mericle.
“Run smart for the conditions," he said. "The conditions this year ought to be better than last year. It’s probably still going to get warm, but I think it’s going to get a little bit cooler, and so on. But yeah, run smart because you can get in trouble out there, especially in the late legs.”
Mericle clarified he will be trying to make it to the "official" 50th running of Beach to Bay.
The race kicks off Saturday, May 20, at 7 a.m.
For more on Beach to Bay, click here.
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