Tuesday, August 04, 2020
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He’ll be back

by BILL BULEY
Staff Writer | August 1, 2020 1:05 AM

Frank Bybee’s try at running 3,500 miles comes up way short, but he learned from mistakes

COEUR d’ALENE — Frank Bybee still believes he can run 3,500 miles, even after falling well short on his first try.

“I definitely want to try it again,” he said Friday. “I gotta plan it better. I pretty much just winged it and hoped for the best.”

Not a good plan for such an endeavor, but the Worley man knows he can do better.

He learned, No. 1, that you can’t just start running.

Pretty much, what could go wrong did go wrong as he tried to travel from the Peace Arch State Park in Washington state to Key West, Fla.

The Coeur d’Alene Tribe member is the author of “The Worley Warrior.” It’s the story of his life, overcoming alcohol, boxing, battling and completing Ironmans, full and half.

Aug. 26 will mark two decades of sobriety and Bybee wanted to celebrate by taking on his biggest challenge yet.

He hoped to cover 60 miles a day. He set out early Sunday, July 19 and over the next five days, covered about 110 miles.

“I was just going easy, man. I was just trying to run,” he said. “I knew I had a long ways to go.”

But by Thursday afternoon, he had to give up, something he rarely does.

He made a rookie mistake of running in new shoes, so his toes were squished, toenails turned black and blisters developed. His heels and shins hurt.

“So I knew it was time. It was all going to keep getting worse, too,” he said.

There were numerous mishaps.

Communication with his support driver, his daughter, failed at times and he went long stretches without her.

He didn’t map his course well and zig-zagged, adding extra miles.

He ended up running too long without breaks.

His quest ended in Newhalem, Wash.

He described the final night this way:

“The night before I had to quit I went a long ways, from my motel by I-5 in Burlington all the way to Concrete, Wash. It was real late. And I was already sore. I had mix ups with my car who was supposed to escort me. It was close to midnight. I’d been on the road over 10 hours. I was hurting and tired. I even started crying and praying to God to help me make it. I wanted to represent my faith in Jesus and sober living. I was hurting. Then the next day I couldn’t go any further.”

If he tries again, he’ll raise more money, have a support team, and take more breaks.

“I need to plan, make sure I plan every step, every stop, every rest area, and start financially planning now,” he said.

Bybee is far from defeated and said “most definitely” he’ll be back.

“That’s all I can think about,” he said.