Roy Pirrung has been involved with all aspects of running, at the local, state, national and international level, as an athlete, coach, journalist, mentor, official, course measurer, race director and administrator.
He is a member of USATF National Masters Track and Field Hall of Fame, has broken over 50 national records and earned 88 national titles, along with 10 World Age Best Performances and 3 Guinness WRs. Roy's expertise is in running ultra marathons, distances further than the 26.2 mile marathon distance, but he has also competed in the Ironman Triathlon World Championships in Kona, Hawaii, where he broke the course record for his age group during the marathon leg (3:18) in his first appearance.
His efforts as a runner were recognized by USA Track and Field’s Mountain, Ultra and Trail Council as the Ultra Runner of the Year in 1997 and subsequently as the Masters Ultra Runner of the Year four times, including at age 60.
He is a decorated Army veteran and helps organize reunions every 2 years, is member of Team Red White & Blue (TRWB) and Band of Runners and has mentored combat veterans at Camp Eagle, Rocksprings, TX and Camp Eagle North in Mackinaw, MI and Camp Colby, CA. He also supports the USO and VFW. He has delivered 4 speeches at Fort Knox, KY and 3 at the Wisconsin Military Academy at Fort McCoy, WI and fit in a community talk in Elizabethtown, KY for Running Soles.
He’s been a race director since 1982 and has directed over 50 races, including co-chair of the Road America Run-Walk for the American Cancer Society for 21 years. It raises hundreds of thousands of dollars each year and since taking over the event more than $3 million has been raised.
Roy has been writing about running and related subjects since the late 80s, including 6 years as a weekly newspaper columnist for The Sheboygan Press and others and contributes to several publications. His story of inspiration has been published in the best seller Chicken Soup for the Soul: Runners. His autobiography, “heROYic” is currently being proof read.
As a sponsored athlete (Kohler Co., Wigwam Mills, Natural Ovens and others) he has been able to travel extensively and has run over 50 times, in 20 different countries, on 5 continents. He is a prolific speaker and a 10 year member of Toastmasters where he has served as president of his local chapter. He retired 10 years ago, was recruited to work as a VIP tour guide for his former employer and has worked for the Kohler Company for 46 years.
In April of 2015, he completed his 1,000th race (and created a fundraiser for the Live Strong Program and Sheboygan Cancer Care Fund) by crossing the finish line of the 119th Boston Marathon, then returned to the start and ran it a second time, running with race director Dave McGillivray, as he had in 2010, to celebrate. He has completed over 150 marathons and 200 ultra-marathons and has run over 100,000 lifetime miles. He has coached a Special Olympian the past 6 years and for his efforts received the Rookie of the Year Award from Special Olympics Wisconsin. He currently serves as an Athlete Health Leader for SOWI and teaches speaking skills for the Global Messenger program and healthy living.
Locally, he was a founder of the original Shoreline Striders Running Club and served as its president for 15 years as well as serving as its newsletter editor. Recently, he helped revive the Road Runners Club of America (RRCA) club and completed the lengthy application process to become a RRCA Runner Friendly Community designation and received the 5-year designation for Sheboygan County.
He has shared his experiences with school groups and community groups and is always available to assist with races needing skills organizing and promoting. He recently helped organize a corporate run for Kohler Co. that attracted nearly 500 runners and the Holiday Lights Run for the Sheboygan County Food Bank that reached its capacity of 850.
Roy is a member of both Kohler Sports Core, where he previously worked as a Fitness Trainer and the Sheboygan County YMCA and assists with programs on nutrition, exercise and health whenever needed.
He is a 10 gallon blood donor to the American Red Cross, is a supporter of Meals on Wheels, Nourish Farms and the Sheboygan County Food Bank, Book Worm Gardens and others.
He was among the nominees for the 2015 Sheboygan County Chamber of Commerce Community Volunteer of the Year and was a runner up. I RUN: The roy pIrRUNg Story, was recently released on TV8, Sheboygan's cable access station.
In December of 2016, Roy was inducted into the American Ultrarunning Association Hall of Fame, the 14th person bestowed this honor. In January of 2018 he was recognized by the Wisconsin Legislature, at the state capitol, as a Hometown Heroes Award recipient.