BY KAREN GERHARDINGER | MIRROR REPORTER — As superintendent of Anthony Wayne Local Schools, Dr. Jim Fritz regularly encourages students and staff to set goals and pursue them.
As an an avid runner, Fritz decided last year to set a goal of completing the six major marathons in the world.
“It’s about putting challenges in front of you that might be a bit out of reach – and then working toward that goal,” he said.
Last month, Fritz flew to Germany, where he finished the Berlin Marathon with a time of 3:35:05.
“The Berlin Marathon was a great experience,” he said, noting that 48,000 runners ran through streets lined with a very supportive crowd all the way. “The city is filled with history, beautiful architecture and amazing fans who support the marathon and everyone who visits their city.”
While he didn’t set any personal records, Fritz decided early on to enjoy the scenery and the feel of the race as he completed his third major marathon.
As a 52-year-old, Fritz participated in the 50-55 age group, where he placed 944th out of 3,630 runners. In all, he came in at No. 9,427 out of approximately 48,000 runners.
Fritz began his six-marathon goal in April 2022 with the Boston Marathon, which he finished in 3:37:25. Later that year, he completed the Chicago Marathon with a personal record of 3:20:45.
Next up, in November, Fritz will run in the New York Marathon, followed by the London Marathon in 2024 and the Tokyo Marathon in 2025.
“I started running to have a mechanism to be healthy and spend some time with some friends. Running has allowed me to develop a number of friendships with fellow runners in the Northwest Ohio area,” he said, adding that four of those runners – Tim Oser, Tim Kohler, Jack Nagel and George Lathrop – were with him at the start of the Berlin Marathon.
While his role as superintendent keeps him busy, Fritz runs six days a week, completing up to 55 miles a week when he’s training for a marathon.
“I do most of my training in the early morning hours. Typically, the morning runs are starting around 5:00 a.m.,” he said. “There are days where I do a run in the morning and then one in the afternoon – when I can fit those in. Many of the miles come early on the mornings during the weekend.”
He does most of his running through the village of Whitehouse, where he appreciates the lighting on the road. On the weekends, he hits the area Metroparks.
While it’s a challenge to qualify for major marathons, anyone can enjoy the health benefits of getting exercise – whether it’s running, walking, biking, yoga, swimming or an organized sport, he said.