Calf injury won’t slow down this marathon veteran at The Cowtown

Chris Mathis is the face of the risks of overdoing it.

An avid long-distance runner and a running coach, Mathis was mentoring a guy running the 100-mile Rocky Raccoon in Colorado in 2015. As planned, Mathis jumped in and ran the last 40 miles with his runner.

A few weeks later, he took part in the makeup of The Cowtown’s half-marathon (put on by Cox Running Club), which had been canceled because of the snow and ice that year.

While on that jaunt, he tore a calf muscle.

Mathis hasn’t been the same since, though he’s working on it. Instead of initially taking time off the leg, Mathis, a Paschal grad and now vice president of a print marketing company, tried to jump right back in the game.

“It wasn’t healing right, and I actually just stopped,” said Mathis, 47. “I rode a bike for a year. I’m humbled by that, knowing what I can do and can’t do. When you can barely get through a 10K … a half used to be an easy run.”

Mathis will attempt The Cowtown double this year, running the 10K on Feb. 24 and the half-marathon on Feb. 25. The start and finish of both races are being staged at the Will Rogers Memorial Center.

He ran the 10K in 2016 and 2017, though the first was “more of a walk-run.”

That’s not very satisfying for a guy whose running resume includes more than 40 marathons and ultra-marathons.

That’s a lot of miles for someone who began running as part of a bet among an “overweight, out-of-shape” office crew about 15 years ago.

“We challenged each other to see who could finish a 5K,” Mathis said.

Then they moved to time, and “we were actually kind of getting in shape. So, then we challenged each other to distance, moved from a 5K to a 10K.”

The others capped it at a 10K, Mathis said.

Mathis, on the other hand, started having visions of Frank Shorter, so to speak.

The 2007 Cowtown marathon was his first, and he was booking along until … the blasted calf.

As he revs the engine back up, Mathis has a message: If you get hurt, don’t do what he did.