Ray Heriaud likes to run.
He likes to run so much that on Sunday, Oct. 27 he’ll be running in this 500th race.
And yet the 38-year-old former Oswego resident has only been running for about 20 years.
It all started back at Oswego High School when Heriaud was a sophomore. He tried out for tennis but was cut on the second to the last day. “That was okay,” said Heriuad. “I’ll just do track and baseball.”
But at that time Heriaud said the athletic director told him he could only do one sport and he chose baseball, but called it an “unpleasant experience.”
Junior year rolled around and he once more didn’t make the tennis team and decided to try for the high jump in track.
“I couldn’t pass the lowest height to save my life,” laughed Heriaud. The head track coach was his gym teacher and decided to put Heriaud in the mile, due to his gym scores of about a 6-minute mile.
“I thought there was no way I could do this,” said Heriaud. He “cringed” at the thought of running for training, but joined the distance team running up and down Grove and Collins.
He had two weeks to prepare for the track meet and came in third with a 5:28 mile time. “It was quite a jaw-dropping moment,” recalled Heriaud.
From that moment he threw himself into the sport, determined to prove to himself and others he could do it.
He planned to go to Waubonsee Community College, but following his father’s lay off he ended up going to work fulltime.
But he didn’t stop running.
He’s done races from 1 and 2 miles all the way up to half marathons and two indoor triathalons. His most common race though tends to be a 5K.
“When I was younger it’d just be about the time and placement,” said Heriuad, who just recently moved to Sheridan. “I’ve come to this revelation where running is just what I have to do.”
Competition though is still what he thrives on. “Trying to earn that respect you always yearn for, that’s what keeps me going,” he said.
On Oct. 27 Heriaud will be running his 500th race in the FraidyCat 5K put on by the Oswego Chamber of Commerce and Edwards Hospital.
“I think 500 will be the climax, but I’m not done yet,” said Heriaud. “500 could be the start of something new. The start to a different chapter.”
You can still sign up to race along side Heriaud in the Fraidycat 5K or opt to cheer for him and all the other runners by visiting the FraidyCat 5K page.