Milestone marathon: SU professor to run his 100th marathon Sunday

Local News

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Going the distance! A Syracuse University engineering professor will reach a milestone this weekend, but it’s not in the classroom.

He’s running his — get this — 100th marathon!

Cliff Davidson is a professor by day, runner by night. When he’s not teaching, he trades in his suit for his sneakers.

“It feels wonderful,” said Cliff.

He was always a runner, just not long distance. It was shortly before he turned 51 when he ran his first marathon. Now he runs about five of them a year, and come Sunday, he will hit a marathon milestone.

“This is not something I set out to do, it’s just something that happened,” said Cliff.

His first marathon was in Pittsburgh and his collection of medals has been growing ever since. Disney, Hartford, New York City, Boston, and this weekend Empire State.

“I guess I just keep going,” said Cliff.

Despite his race record, it’s not always easy.

“The last few miles are the toughest,” said Cliff.

It’s what’s on the other end of the finish line that keeps him going.

“You’ve accomplished what you’ve set out to do, the crowd is cheering you, it’s a wonderful feeling,” said Cliff.

Each medal holds a special memory, a reminder of where he’s been and what he’s seen.

“I don’t do any special trips just for a marathon,” Cliff said.

They’re what he calls ‘marathons of opportunity.’ Each race is one he signs up for when he has a conference nearby, taking home another beautiful, colorful medal.

“They’re very distinctive,” said Cliff, but they’re not why he’s out there.

“That feeling when you’re running of being open, free, in the outdoors,” said Cliff.

That’s what got him through the first 99, it’s what will take him through 100, and what will inspire him to keep going the distance.

Year-round, Cliff runs a 10K every other day, and it only takes him a little more than an hour.

The Empire State Marathon is this Sunday. The course goes around Onondaga Lake.

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