Sims keeps streak going

September 20, 2004|JILL ERWIN

Teague Sims has practically grown up with the Constitution 5K.

He started running the race in its inaugural year with his father and his uncle when he was seven, and he hasn't missed one since. Sunday was his 27th time in the field, and the Danville native said it's become a necessary part of his life.

"I've told my mom before that if I ever move really far away and can only make it back once a year, I'd skip Christmas and come back for this," Sims said. "In a way I was joking, but I'm also kind of serious about it."

That's the importance Sims' streak has to him. He is believed to be the only person to have run in every Constitution 5K race since its inception in 1978.


Sims doesn't live that far away - he moved to Lexington to attend the University of Kentucky and has stayed there - and he makes it back for this race every year. He said the streak has become something he's more and more aware of, and something he has no intention of breaking.

"It started out that I just enjoyed coming to the (Constitution Square) festival," Sims said. "Before I knew it, I was running in the race, and now I can't miss it."

He hasn't seen many changes over that time, noticing the field stays about the same size year in and year out.

Sims isn't as into running as he once was, when he was named honorable mention all-state in cross country his senior season at Danville. He said he's run in the Fourth of July race in Lexington eight or nine times, but doesn't practice enough to be a competitive runner year-round.

"I'm just out of practice," Sims said. "To get ready for this one, I ran probably twice."

He said he's starting to fall further and further back in the field at the finish, noting his best time of 17 minutes, 54 seconds came 16 years ago.

Sunday, Sims ran a 24:13 and finished 76th in a field of 174. His son, Griffin, was there to cheer him on for the first time. Sims' wife, Laura, gave birth just three weeks before last year's race and Sims made the trip solo that time.

"I thought about putting him in a stroller this year, pushing him with me and getting his streak going," Sims said. "But then I thought, 'Nah, I just need to worry about finishing the race myself.'"

Finishing hasn't been a problem, even with a broken bone. After finishing high school, Sims played in the Danville boys soccer alumni game and broke his arm. That didn't stop him from running in the 5K.

"I walked the whole race when I had a broken arm," Sims said. "I walked the whole time with my arm in a sling."

Sims said he can't think of an injury that would keep him out of the race. Would he use a wheelchair to compete?

"I would if I had to," Sims said.

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