You could say that attorney Fred Murolo has been running around a lot these days. But then that’s nothing new.
He’s actually been on the go every day for the last 30 years. And it’s not just the busy Cheshire practice he runs with his wife, Karen, that keeps him in motion.
Murolo has run every single day for the past three decades, a feat that has earned him a spot on the United States Running Streak Association’s roster of those who have run at least one mile daily for at least one calendar year. At 30-plus years of daily running, he is listed by the association as a “Master” runner and ranked No. 55 nationwide, a number which also happens to be his age.
Although he could jog on a treadmill every day and still make the streak list, he doesn’t take the easy way out. Even nor’easters haven’t stopped him in his tracks on his 10-mile, early morning treks through the streets of Cheshire.
” No matter what the weather is, I just go outside and do it,” Murolo says. “ I don’t like the idea of running on a treadmill; it feels confining to me.”
So, how does he run in the snow? “Slowly,” he laughs. Then he states the obvious: “If I see a car coming, I get out of the way. I climb right into a snow drift if I have to.”
He did allow himself one thing last winter. He outfitted his running shoes with tiny, hex-head screws, which can be inserted right into the rubber soles without damaging the foot gear. “It ‘s like traction on ice; sort of like having snow tires on your feet,” he says.
Murolo maintains a busy practice with his wife, focusing on legal malpractice defense. His daily runs are child’s play compared to his real running passion: ultra marathons, including one totaling 314 miles.
“You can run the whole time, or stop and eat,” he said. “The benchmark for doing a decent job in a 100-mile race is about 24 hours. That’s about a 14-minute mile, including stop time.”
For Murolo, the running bug really bit him in grad school. He was en route to a master’s in English at Penn State in 1981 when he decided he wanted to make what had been an occasional pursuit a personal challenge.
Never really a runner growing up, he had taken the plunge in 1978, running in the first New Haven Road Race that September and then the New York Marathon.
“In 1981, I decided I wanted to be more consistent in the coming year,” he recalls. “On Dec. 30, (1981), I ran. On Dec. 31, I ran. I decided in 1982 I wanted to run at least 300 days. Instead of 300 days, I just kept running.”
He ran all the way through law school, graduating from the University of Connecticut School of Law in 1986 before working for years at Nuzzo & Roberts, where he focused on insurance defense work. He didn’t even slow down when he and his wife had five kids.
Instead, he handed down his love for running to at least two of them: one teen-age son runs cross-country and indoor track. A 9-year-old son runs a 5-kilometer road race with him in the spring.
But one college-age daughter tells him she has sworn off running and jokes you have to be a little “nutty” to endure ultra marathons. His wife works out but prefers to stay in one place – the gym.
“She tolerates my running,” Murolo says of his wife. “She’s actually very nice about it. When you have someone in the family who runs every day, you could imagine it’s not that convenient sometimes.”
His pastime also pays dividends at work. “It helps me to think. If I’m involved in heavy litigation, I can take a pause and think about different strategies and ways of approaching cases. It also relaxes me.”
Even though he has been running every day since he was 25 years old, Murolo has a ways to go to get to the top of the list at the United States Running Streak Association. The current record holder, a track and field coach, has been running every day for 40-plus years. Those on the list must certify when their streaks began and inform the association when it ends.
Murolo laughs at the idea that his running routine must leave him able to eat anything he wants without gaining weight. A longtime vegetarian, he recently became a vegan – avoiding dairy products as well as meat – at his wife’s urging. But he still has to watch his calories. “The truth is you can actually gain weight while you’re doing a running streak,” he says.
Aside from a few muscle sprains, Murolo has never been seriously injured despite sharing the slippery pavement in the dead of winter with the occasional early morning driver.
But he knows age may eventually catch up to him. “My wife tells me I’m not going to be doing it forever. She said, ‘It’s a numbers game. Eventually, you’re going to have to stop.’ “
But that’s not on the horizon anytime soon.
“Most people stop when they’re in their 70s,” Murolo says. “I consider it a gift every day that I can do it.”
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