Pearson's Athletic Club
Jim Pearson Today
Jim no longer trains or races competitively, though he does step into a race or two each year. One such race was the Bloomsday 7.5 mile run in Spokane a few days after he turned sixty. He ran it in 60 minutes and did not place in his age division. Just short of two years later, running an average of 42 slow miles a week, he got the bright idea of trying to run a 50 mile week. That plan only required adding a mile a day, but he found it mentally difficult. After 20 such weeks, he no longer found it difficult, so the mileage rose to 70 miles per week. As a result, he dropped his Bloomsday time to 54 minutes and the next year to 52. He then moved back to Ferndale from his new home in Mead and continued to improve until a freak accident while working backstage at the Rocky Horror Show in which his daughter was performing caused serious damage to his right knee. He struggled to keep running during the next few months, and when a specialist said he wouldn’t be able to run anymore, Jim had to make a decision. First of all, he knew the comment had to be false since he had already run four miles that morning. It didn’t take him long to realize that at age 64 there really didn’t seem to be a good reason to be saving himself. The immediate decision was to run a mere 1.3 miles a day to keep his running streak alive. After a few weeks of that distance, he changed the number to three miles daily since the shorter runs didn’t seem satisfying. A second problem, though, had plagued him near the end of 2008: breathing had become extremely difficult, even while running down hill. An echocardiogram detected a hole in his heart (apparently there since birth) and later tests found numerous blood clots in each lung. Presently he runs 50 miles per week, mostly with his son Hopper.
On the coaching side, Jim continued to be involved after his 2002 retirement from the Ferndale School District where he had coached for 35 years. He then coached cross country as a volunteer for Mead High School which ranked nationally and won the Washington state championship that season and later served as associate head coach under his son Joel at Whatcom Community College for two years. He presently assists Joel with Pearson’s Athletic Club.