CNN correspondent Tom Foreman currently has a Cronkite/Jackson Prize, a National Headliner Award and two Emmy Awards to his name. After Sunday, he’ll have a Bank of America Chicago Marathon medal as well.
Foreman, who began working for CNN in 2004, ran as a high school student and enjoyed success due more to natural ability than hard work, but found that method ineffective as he got older.
“When I got up against people who were naturally talented but who had trained, I was struggling and didn’t understand why,” Foreman says. “I wasn’t ready to put the effort in. I ran a few marathons in my 20s and continued running intermittently, but not seriously.”
All that changed in 2010 when his daughter, Ronnie, asked him to train for a marathon with her. Between Thanksgiving 2010 and Thanksgiving 2011, Foreman ran four half marathons, three full marathons, an ultramarathon and logged approximately 2,000 training miles, the process of which he documents in his book My Year of Running Dangerously, published today.
While the book follows Foreman’s year of running, it also speaks to broader themes of incorporating activities that demand a fair amount of time into an already busy life. Foreman found ultramarathon training to be a particular challenge, describing his life at that time as a three-legged stool of work, sleep and running.
“One of the lines I have early on is the idea that one of the real challenges is not getting fit, it’s getting running to fit,” Foreman says. “It’s hard. But if people can be realistic about it, it’s better.”
Foreman has run two more ultramarathons in the intermediate years, both of which were more than 50 miles. He plans to run another this year as part of his “ambitious running schedule,” in his words. After the Bank of America Chicago Marathon, Foreman plans to run the Marine Corps Marathon on Oct. 25 and will then run four additional marathons in four days through Virginia, Delaware, Pennsylvania and New Jersey to arrive in New York City in time for the New York City Marathon on Nov. 1, which he will run as well. Two weeks after that, he plans to run a 52-mile ultra.
“It’s an experiment,” Foreman says. “There are no guarantees, and that’s one thing I like about this. … I could run Chicago, finish the race, and say, ‘I have very little chance of doing what I think I’m going to do this fall,’ so then you regroup. It’s all about being able to compete the next day. It’s almost never about throwing yourself down so hard that you can’t get up and go again.”
Foreman is particularly looking forward to running the Bank of America Chicago Marathon, as his father grew up in Bridgeport and the city has, as a result, always been special to him and his family.
“When I turn south at mile 20 and I’m headed down towards Bridgeport, that’s going to be a pretty exciting part for me,” Foreman says. “When I’m on Halsted, to think of my dad hanging out there growing up in Bridgeport: it’s going to be a pretty special time for me. I just love, love, love Chicago, so it’s a great way to start the fall marathon season for me.”
In addition to running the Bank of America Chicago Marathon, Foreman will also make an appearance at Anderson’s Bookshop in La Grange to sign his book on Saturday, Oct. 10 at 2 p.m.