The Inquirer is presenting a daily profile of participants in next Sunday's Blue Cross Broad Street Run. See full coverage at www.philly.com/broadstreetrun.
Rory A. McManus will line up May 6 claiming a unique distinction. Not only has he run the Broad Street Run all 32 previous times, but also all 34 Rock & Roll half-marathons down Kelly Drive.
"Over the years," said Rory, 63, of Springfield, Delaware County, "I have run the Broad Street Run with stress fractures in my feet, sciatica, nerve damage in my hips, a serious kidney stone following the Boston Marathon in 2009, and a myriad of other afflictions."
Rory was a 20-year naval officer, but more significant, perhaps, at least to him, he is the son of a naval war hero. His father served under Gen. Douglas MacArthur in World War II, leading an amphibious assault force in the Pacific, and again in the Korean War.
About running with pain, he said, "This isn't Guadalcanal. Out of respect, quitting is not an option."
"It is not just my father's wartime heroism that I constantly draw upon for my personal 'going the distance' inspiration when the asphalt heats up," Rory said. "Nor is it my sainted mother, Elizabeth's countless sacrifices that she made, while also working to support and raise eight kids to be responsible, contributing citizens during far too many lean years.
"Rather," he added, "it is all of those young heroes, like my uncle, Flight Lt. Jim Considine, and hundreds of thousands of other ghosts who never made it home."
Rory has run enough miles to circle the Earth twice, so he has a lot of time to think.
What does he think about?
"One overriding question owns my attention: 'If all that is is truly a oneness of being, an engaged creation consciousness (God), if true miracles can and do occur, then can we, all of us, together, end our millennia of misery by simply embracing that creation consciousness?' "
"And can running be the mantra or meditation that brings us closer to that moment?"
Perhaps it won't surprise you that Rory is also a writer.
Here is the teaser from his play, The Fisherman's Shoes, in which "a destitute young Rocky finds his Field of Dreams":
"The life of a downtrodden and soon to be orphaned inner-city man-child, Sean Duncan, takes a mystical turn one April evening when the gang he hangs with accosts an aging distance runner, John Conrad (The Fisherman).
"Conrad, a guilt-ridden 'soul survivor' of a Spec Ops mission gone horribly wrong (27 died), employs a unique strategy for paying back his war debts. . . . He uses his own body as bait to lure young men out of trouble and set their feet upon a righteous (running) path - to Life!"
If it were made into a movie, scenes would be filmed, of course, during the Broad Street Run.