Finishing a marathon is always reason for joy. But when Richard Cunningham crossed the line at Sunday's Bosley Marathon, he had extra reason to celebrate—it marked his 100th lifetime marathon.
"Yes!" shouted Cunningham, a web producer from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, as a volunteer draped a medal around his neck. "Number 100, baby!"
It was a remarkable achievement, made more so by the fact that Cunningham is 37 years old and began running just nine years ago. But, sources told Dumb Runner, even this feat won't impress his father.
"No matter what Richard does," said one, "it will never be enough for his dad."
Even as a local TV crew interviewed him postrace, sources speculated, Cunningham's thoughts were likely on his father, Howard, a 68-year-old hardware store owner with a reputation for being cold and distant.
The younger Cunningham has a long history of trying, and failing, to win his father's approval, the sources said. From preschool exploits on the monkey bars to his 4.0 high school GPA, they said, "nothing has moved his dad to utter a single word of encouragement, which is all (Richard) ever wanted."
That streak appears intact. Shortly after finishing Sunday's marathon, Richard posted a selfie to Facebook. In it, he holds up his medal triumphantly, a toothy grin on his face.
In his comments, Cunningham wrote:
"100 marathons! What a journey. I have never worked so hard, for so long, to accomplish a goal. There were many times I didn't think I'd make it, but I did—thanks in large part to YOUR support. Thank you to everyone who has helped me out along the way. Your support means everything."
The elder Cunningham did not comment on the post, or even "like" it.
Reached by phone, Richard Cunningham admitted that that hurt.
"I mean, I know my dad," he said. "He's not exactly the touchy-feely type. I never expected he would 'heart' my post, or 'wow' it. Still, I was hoping he'd at least click the 'like' button."
"Maybe if I do an Ironman..."