Bob Coolidge

I grew up in Omaha Nebraska in the projects, a minority among minorities.. it helped form my life. I fought.. alot.. both on the streets and in school.. when I went. My father who was a boxing fan would tell me if you like to fight why dont you go to a gym , box in the golden gloves.. I eventually took his advice and went to a gym .. at last something I was good at. I went on to win five Golden Glove titles in Minneapolis, MN where we had moved when I was 15.

I dropped out of High School when I was 17. Got married at 18, and joined the Marine Corps a few months later in 1971. I went in as an 0331. Was with 3/5 at Camp Pendleton. I was awaiting deployment when my wife had our first son and I went home on emergency leave. When I returned to base and was checking in a an LT Mentioned to a Sgt that one more man was needed for TAD for base MP’s. I quickly said I would like to be a MP and spent the rest of my time at MPCo. Security Bn. Camp Pendleton. Discharged in 1973.

I returned to boxing, fighting professionally and amassing a 22-3-1 record. My last fight was in Atlantic City against the #7 rated middleweight in the world. I had my last professional boxing match in 1982. That fight was a make or break fight for me. Going into it I told my wife Moe that if I lost I would stop boxing. I lost.. no excuses.. so that part of my life was over.

After that I sat around a few months.. I was restless.. I was not used to inactivity.. I saw a article in the local paper that there was a upcoming 10k race. I had always ran while i was boxing but had never ran that far. I went and ran the 10k with no training. Finished in a bit more than 47min. I was hooked. I was 31. So a few months later this was 1983 I heard about grandmas marathon and hustled my entry to the post office and I was in.. finished my 1st in 4:13.. i went on to run Grandma’s eight times.

Twin Cities was about four months later so i figured why not run it as well. I finished in 3:55 .. I finished Twin Cities 15 times over the years. To me Twin Cities was the best course because of the variety.. but Grandmas was the most fun. They party .. those college kids as you come into town light it up!!!

I recall running the Omaha marathon a couple times. I remember being about a mile from the finish and we ran by a bar.. ole boy outside with a beer yelled at me.. suck it up!! You can break 4hrs. Get going.. and I did.. suck it up.. broke 4 hrs. I ran San Francisco.. seen the sights.. ran the hills..I ran St. Louis.. drove down.. ran 26.2 and drove back.. I drove down to Austin, TX in an ice storm.. ate a 24oz steak the night before the race. Don’t do that.. ran Austin like a boss.. I ran Las Vegas twice. They dropped us off in the middle of the desert and you ran back down the strip. Ran my best time there. 3:51. I ran the 1st RocknRoll Marathon in San Diego in 1996, worst organized marathon I ever ran.

My wife Moe died in 2002 , right after she died I decided I would run a marathon for cancer research. I contacted the memorial Sloan Kettering cancer center in NYC. I ran the Dublin Marathon for Freds team.. raising over $7,000 for them. After that I lost my marathon drive… for 10 years I did not run much. In 2012 I was turning 60.. I saw an article on the Marine Corps Marathon. I thought that would be a worthy goal on turning 60. So I ran for the Semper Fi Fund raising funds for veterans. I ran Marine Corps 5 times total.

So here I am. 66 now. Still got a few steps on the man, trying to keep the gap. I ran two ultras last year and I got my 1st 50 mile race coming up September 29th. I can’t imagine running 50 miles. But then I never thought I would run 26 miles.. I’ve heard the saying.. IF YOUR GOAL DON’T SCARE YOU, ITS NOT A CHALLENGE. So once again.. I will challenge myself.

This 50 miler is my bucket list race. I’m not looking past it.. but I’m going out east in Dec to crew a friend at the Devil Dog 100 miler.. I see they have a 100k.

If I had to pass any wisdom along I would just say two things:

  1. You will never know what your capable of if you dont try things you are not sure you can do. Don’t wait.. time will not wait for you.
  2. When you are out there on the trail or road.. and you come up on ole boy struggling with 13-14 min miles.. be encouraging, show courtesy and respect.. yesterday he may have been you.. and tomorrow you may be him..


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