Amherst resident Tim Kliegl challenges himself every year, right around his birthday.
He’s a man of plans. He has a five-year plan and a one-year plan.
His five-year plan includes stay retired, run a 50-mile race and catch a 10-pound largemouth bass.
His one-year plan always varies but stays challenging.
On Dec. 7, 2015, he ran 65 kilometers (40.1 miles) in Amherst on his 65th birthday.
Around that time he planned to run at least a mile and drink a different beer every day for the next year.
“I said I’ve got to do something different for my 65th birthday,” Kliegl said. “I ran a 65K and I started drinking a beer a day and running a mile a day.”
He finished his quest with 1,950 miles, each run and each beer logged in a notebook along with the beer’s alcohol by volume percentage. A helpful tool was the app Untappd, which allows users to check in beers they’ve drank and track how many they’ve tried to avoid duplicates.
“The craft beer business is booming. Everyone’s making beer,” Kliegl said. “I never would have been able to do this 10 years ago.”
Kliegl hasn’t been a lifelong runner. He started once he turned 50. His wife Deb told him to find a new sport after he kept getting injured playing basketball with younger teammates.
A coworker at UPS, where Kliegl worked until he retired at 55, suggested he run a marathon.
He ran the Los Angeles Marathon six months later in March of 2001.
Kliegl has run 57 marathons, the most recent in Kiawah Island, South Carolina. He’s completed the Boston Marathon 11 times and has qualified for the 2017 edition, which he’ll run.
He didn’t always just run. In 2006, he took up Ironman Triathlon races.
“I couldn’t swim or bike. I could barely swim across a 25-yard pool,” he said.
Kliegl eventually finished five Ironman races.
“Then I quit that silliness in 2010,” he said. “I’ve been running marathons since.”
The beer aspect of Kliegl’s mission grew less organically. He was mostly a Sam Adams man with a growing interest in craft beer.
“I just kind of made it up, and I didn’t (used to) drink every day, maybe on the weekend I would have a couple beers,” Kliegl said. “Then I got this crazy thing going. Then I got crazier and thought I’m going to drink a different beer because no one else had done it.”
He completed the challenge before his 66th birthday on Dec. 7, which he marked by running 66 furlongs (8.25 miles).
He’s still working on a new quest for the upcoming year.
“I’m trying to think of something that won’t kill me for 67,” he said.
Kyle Grabowski can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.