Richard Benyo

RunningUSA Hall of Champions

Rich Benyo is the editor of Marathon & Beyond, a bimonthly magazine devoted to the marathon and to ultrarunning. He is also the author of more than 20 books, most of them in the areas of fitness, health, and running.

His newest running book, Timeless Running Wisdom, is his fourth book for Human Kinetics, which includes The Running Encyclopedia (written with Joe Henderson). Pennsylvania Heritage Press (a division of the University of Scranton Press) published his boyhood memoirs, Jim Thorpe Never Slept Here in spring of 2008; a collection of his short stories (Leap of Faith) was released by the same publisher in 2009. A young adult novel, The South Street Gang Vs. the Coalcracker Cyclopes was published by the University of Scranton Press in 2010.

He was a newspaper editor (1968-72), editor of Stock Car Racing Magazine (1972-77), editor of Runner’s World Magazine (1977-84), and running and fitness columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle (1985-90) and has contributed to numerous general circulation magazines.

He is the veteran of 37 marathons and in 1989 along with running partner Tom Crawford, became the first maniacs to run from Badwater in Death Valley (lowest point in the Western Hemisphere and hottest place on Earth) to the peak of Mt. Whitney (at 14,494 feet highest point in the contiguous U.S.) and back, a distance of 300 miles, in midsummer. Rich attempted the same feat in 1991 and again in 1992; his therapy has begun to take hold and he feels no urge to make another run on the course, although he has been known to detour hundreds of miles out of his intended route to visit Death Valley. In 2004 Rich and his partner Tom were inducted into the Badwater Hall of Fame.

Rich is the president of the board and co-race director of the Napa Valley Marathon and has been on the board of directors since 1985. He is also the 1998 winner of the RRCA journalist of the year award. (The RRCA apparently is unaware of his running aberrations.) In early 2005 RunningUSA inducted Rich into its Hall of Champions.

For more than a decade, Rich has portrayed Mark Twain at a mid-summer Koyote Howling Ritual in the middle of the wilderness with roughly 100 guys who spend the weekend drinking beer, smoking cigars, and howling at the moon. Rich and his wife Rhonda currently live in Forestville, Sonoma County, California; in their spare time, they are attempting to learn to sail on the San Francisco Bay.