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61-year-old tops Strava mileage in 2020, runs more than 12,000 kilometres

David Simon tallied 2,000 hours of running last year, topping the Strava mileage leaderboard

Photo by: David Simon

For 61-year-old David Simon of Agoura Hills, Calif., running 30K a day is nothing special, it’s just part of his routine. Simon has been running since he graduated from high school, and according to a recent interview in Men’s Health, he ran more than 12,000 kilometres in 2020, giving him the top spot among all Strava users (beating the more than 70 million people who also use the app). Simon is used to this kind of mileage, though, and he told Men’s Health how he has managed to stay injury-free and motivated to run for close to 40 years. 

While Simon doesn’t have a decades-long run streak, he is extremely consistent with his runs, and he knocks out a 20-mile (32K) run most days. When he started running, he struggled through a couple of miles, but he quickly worked up to 15 to 20 miles a day. He admitted that he’s much slower now (his 20-milers used to take two to three hours, but today he’s on the road for closer to five), but that doesn’t deter him from getting out. 

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“Running truly changed my life,” he told Men’s Health. “I got fit, healthy, more confident and happier. Now if I miss a day, I bounce off the walls. It’s become my version of meditation, an escape from real-world pressures.” He said he only misses days when travelling for work (he’s a retired programmer) or due to emergencies. 

Simon said he records all of his runs on Strava, and he always makes sure to enter the app’s monthly distance challenges. “I’ve always been among the top runners,” he said. “I’m proud of that, considering I’m also likely older than most of the other runners.” Last year, Strava told Simon that his 12,000 kilometres of running kept him on the road for 2,000 hours. That works out to more than 32K a day, a weekly mileage of more than 230K and close to 40 hours of running every week.

Simon and his daughter after the 2013 L.A. Marathon. Photo: David Simon

Simon has been an avid runner since he got started in the sport (he told Men’s Health that he’s addicted to it). He used to run marathons, and for a string of 10 years he didn’t miss the L.A. Marathon, eventually getting his PB down to 3:20. Speed or times were never his focus, though, and that’s what shapes Simon’s answer when people ask how he is still motivated to run every day (and how he hasn’t succumbed to any serious injuries over the years). “I tell them it’s slowing down,” he said. “At my age, my ‘run’ is more of a fast shuffle, but that also means less impact, so it’s good for my knees and body.” 

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Simon tells other runners that it’s rare he can’t talk on a run, as he goes at a pace that allows him to breathe normally and evenly. He said he recommends beginners start slow and that they avoid trying to “boil the ocean all at once” by getting too fast too soon. “Otherwise, you’ll burn out,” he said. “Running is a lifestyle, not just a training activity.” 

Simon concluded by saying his only goal for the year is to continue what he has always done. He loves to run, and he said he will keep at it until he can no longer do it. “As I tell my family, when I can’t run anymore, I’ll walk. When I can’t walk, I’ll roll. And when I can’t do that, I’ll have to figure out a new activity.”