The 7 x 7 x 7: An Interview with Steve Scott - Part 1
This isn’t his first charitable run, nor his first ultra-long-distance, boundary pushing race. In January of 2020, Steven joined 34 other elite long-distance runners in completing the legendary 7 x 7 x 7.
What is a 7 x 7 x 7? Participants complete seven marathons, on seven continents, over the course of seven days. Next week, we’ll be speaking to Steve about his current training for the Race to Richmond, but for now, we’re delving deep into his experiences during his 7 x 7 x 7.
This is part one of our 7 x 7 x 7 interview. Check back throughout the week for more installments.
THE 7 x 7 x 7
First of all, I want to say, talking to someone who has done a 7 x 7 x 7 is incredible. I was on Cross Country in high school, so I did a little bit of running - nowhere near as much as you — but I have a very healthy respect long distance runners.
So you understand. Steve smiles. It is tough. And thank you, I appreciate that.
Let’s start from the very beginning. As I understand it, you didn’t start running until a little bit later when compared to runners who do what you do. When did you start running?
I started running when I was 53. I did my first marathon in 2016, in between those I had done some 5ks and some 10ks, and things like that. You know, something to do with running. But it just wasn’t enough — cause, you know, I’m very competitive with myself. So then I just started setting bigger goals out there.
Back in 2015, I went and did the Myrtle Beach half marathon, and after I did that, I had to set another goal. So I said, “Okay, this time next year I want to come back here and do a full marathon.” So, I came back home, and took a couple days off, and I started training for that for about six months.
It was six months because I had never ran one, and I wanted to make sure I was really prepared to do it. So, I worked hard, and put in the time, put in the running, and in 2016, I was able to go down there and I ran a 3:23. My first marathon, which was pretty darn good.
After that I didn’t realize I had qualified for the Boston Marathon. So that was pretty cool — my first marathon, being able to qualify for the Boston Marathon. So, that was my beginning to running.
That’s amazing already. If you don’t mind me asking, you said that you’re competitive with yourself. What was the impetus to get you to start running in the first place?
Well, I was actually a racquetball player — I played very competitively in a tournament, and this and that. The YMCA had built a new facility in Danville, but the new Y didn’t have racquetball courts. So, at that time, I went to a buddy of mine that I played with and said, “What do we do now to work out?” And he said, “Well, let’s start running.”
And I said, “No, you’re crazy. I’m not running.” Steve laughs. “I’m not running!”
So anyway, he ended up talking me into it. When I started out, I’d walk a quarter of a mile, and run a quarter of a mile, And I kind of built off that for a while. And I just carried on to a 5k and a 10k — but in the meantime, my buddy that I started running with quit running! Steve laughs again. His personality is always smiling.
So I continue to run, and I’m running today, and I love it. It gave me a lot of opportunities to do some things for people, and also meet a lot of good people.
How long did it take you — because I assume someone who runs as much as you, you find enjoyment in it — to start loving running?
It was about a year after I first started — after I completed my first 10k. Because I started seeing what I was doing — my training — was paying off. I never thought I’d be able to do a 5k, and then after that I said “Well darn, can I do a 10k?”
Again, it’s just goals we put out there — it’s not just running, it’s like anybody out there that wants to put goals to do whatever they want to do in life. Once you’ve got goals, you put another one out there and go after it. And that’s what I did — I just continually built off of that, and just, you know, kept running. Steve smiles.
It was probably a year before I really started throughly enjoying it — it was a good therapy for me, for things like stress — the feeling that you get after you go out and run, you know, three miles, 10 miles, 20 miles, whatever, you can’t explain it.
Yeah. That satisfied rush that you get.
Yep, yep, it’s the runner’s high. It’s something that you can’t explain, but it’s a good feeling. Like last Saturday, a week ago, I went out and ran 20 miles that morning. It was 52 degrees, the dew point was at 50, and I ran 20 miles, and I ran it in less than three hours. And after I ran that, I was stretching, and I looked at the people that were with me and I said, “You know, I feel like I could go out and do another 20 miles.”
The weather change makes a big difference. Cause when it got warm again I went out and ran 18 miles, and it took me everything in the world to get through it because the heat. You know, the humidity, dew point, everything was just high, and you’re fighting a battle. Breathing, everything like that.
But when you get into that stride, and you feel good, oh my gosh. And that’s what I’m praying will happen when I go to Richmond — that I can get in those strides where I can really get the running out there — I’m going to set some goals some days where I’m going to go out and just see what I can run directly straight without stopping at all.
I’ve done a 50k before, so I would love to be able to go out one morning, when it’s nice and cool, and we’re headed up to Richmond, to be able to run, straight, 30 miles without stopping. We’ll see what happens — I’m going to play with it. Again, the stuff to do for this run, it’s just setting goals, and competing with myself, to give me something to do with it. Does that make sense?
It does. So we’re at the point now in your running career where you’ve done some 10ks, you’ve done a marathon, a half-marathon — how did you get involved with the 7 x 7 x7?
Well, I had been running the Boston pretty much for three years in a row. Which, I was planning on running it this year coming off of the 7 x 7 x 7, but you know, COVID hit, so it canceled everything. My last time I ran Boston, back in 2019, It was the worst conditions in Boston in 22 years. It was snowing, it was sleeting, it was freezing rain, the windchill was 22, and it was raining so hard. Steve give a hearty chuckle. But I ran my best Boston Marathon in that weather.
After I ran that race in Boston, it was so cold. People don’t realize when you run a marathon, the transition your body goes through. Your body temperature drops down, you’ve got to wrap up, you’ll get cold chills and shivers, and stuff like that. So you’ve got to get warm. And that day, I just could not get warm. It was crazy. I ended up having to go to the medical tent, and they actually had to wrap me up in a special blanket to get my body temperature back up.
I just said at that time, “God, if we’re going to do this, let me do it to help people. Give back to people.”
Growing up in life, I’ve always had to take care of myself — just kind of one of those family lives, you know. So, I’ve always had to take care of myself growing up. And, it wasn’t about other people to me then. But you know, there are a lot of changes in my life, and experiences, and God was able to change me.
And now I’ve got an awesome wife, and a son and a daughter, and a beautiful grandson — I just wanted to do something else to help people. So I came back home, and took a couple weeks off, and started trying to figure out, “What can I do?”
So I started praying about it, and believe it or not, I was waking up in the middle of the night, and 7 x 7 x 7 was on my mind. So after a couple of days, I went and talked to a buddy of mine, and he said, “I’ll pray about it, and you pray about it, and we’ll see what happens.”
It was about a week later, and 7 x 7 x 7 was on my mind. So I said, “Okay, I’ve got to investigate this 7 x 7 x 7.” At that point, me and another friend got together and we started talking about it, and did some research about it. Before I could do it though, I needed the money.
I had to raise a bunch of money, $44,000 dollars. I raised money at different retailers, we did garage sales, we did car washes, we did a lot of things. When we decided to do [the 7 x 7 x 7], we started raising money.
So, I ran from Greensboro, North Carolina, to Danville, Virginia, which is 36 miles. And we did that to kick off raising money for the 7 x 7 x 7. So when I was running down Route 29, we had police escorts everywhere we went, and it was just the most awesome, most crazy thing — it was great how it worked out. By the time I got halfway through my run, people were throwing money out their car window.
Throwing money out their windows! And people were coming by hollering, saying “I don’t know what you’re doing, but I’m gonna help you!” We raised over $500 dollars between Greensboro and Danville. My goal was to take that money and put it towards starting the finances for the 7 x 7 x 7, but I just felt like I should do something else with the money. We ended up giving it to the cancer association.
My mother had breast cancer when she was 45, and she lost both breasts to it. Back then, they didn’t have the medicine they have today, and that was on my heart. So I wanted to raise money for the local cancer association. I had to create a 501c3, I had to create a board, it was crazy the stuff I had to do. Steve smiles.
The organization I made is called Run For Health, and the mission is to help individuals or organizations to live a healthy life, to be able to set an example of how to live with integrity. At that point, I had to go through a whole lot learning about running a charity. Run For Health sponsored me so I was able to do the 7 x 7 x 7, and we used the 7 x 7 x 7 to bring awareness to the Danville Cancer Association. To this day, we’re continually raising money in the fight against cancer.
With my faith and all, I knew the trip was going to be taken care of, so I didn’t even worry about it.
Join us tomorrow for the next installment of our interview with Steve Scott. If you’d like, you can sponsor his 168-mile run for the Race To Richmond.