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My Zero Runner Story: Larry Schmidt

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Fueled by talent and a love of competition, Larry Schmidt is in his 45th year as an endurance athlete and runner. Today, thanks to the Zero Runner, running is no longer just a sport – but a way of life, a social network and a family addiction.



Beginning his running career in 1969 as a high school sophomore specializing in the mile, Larry ran cross country and track at the University of Wisconsin – LaCrosse, where he competed in two Division 3 National Cross Country competitions. He ran his first marathon – Pavo Nurmi – in 1971 at age 18.

But inactivity set in as Larry got married, started a career and raised a family of four children. After 13 years, Larry had an “epiphany,” and in October 1988, he promised God he would use the gift of running for the rest of his life. Overweight and out of shape, he started slowly jogging for ½ mile and walking for ½ mile.

Larry soon got addicted to races, starting with 5Ks and 10Ks, and took on his second marathon at Grandma’s Marathon in 1992, where he qualified for the Boston Marathon, which he ran in 1993. To date, he has completed the Boston Marathon five times.

But that wasn’t enough. A local training group introduced Larry to 50-mile trail runs, and his curiosity took over, as he “could not believe that anyone would or could run that far.” Sure enough, Larry did his first 50-mile run in 1995. With 50-milers accomplished, Larry then challenged himself to 100-mile ultra marathons. In total, he has completed 17 ultra marathons, of which 3 were 100 mile runs.

Looking for a new event to conquer, Larry took on his first Ironman Triathlon in Madison, Wisc. in 2004. In 2006, he competed in and finished the Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii, and has finished a total of six Ironman competitions.

Unfortunately, Larry developed osteoarthritis in his right hip, and while he pushed through the pain for several years, in 2008, he had hip resurfacing surgery, and, as he says, “I went from being a competitive finisher to being one who on occasion was the last runner across the finish line.” But that hasn’t stopped him, as he still races regularly.

Larry first tried the Zero Runner at the Boston Marathon Expo in April 2014, where he was able to run pain-free for 30 minutes on the machine. You can watch Larry’s reaction to first ever Zero Runner experience at the Boston Marathon below.

He was thrilled that it enabled him to run like he did before his hip injury – and he came back for another run later that day. He now uses the Zero Runner in his home to train for races and continue his endurance athlete lifestyle. His longest run on the Zero is 6 hrs covering 37 miles with no pain in his surgically repaired hip.

One lesson Larry says he has learned over his long racing career is that it is critical to cross train more to help reduce the risk of injury and improve overall performance. The Zero Runner is now an important part of his cross training regimen.

Today, Larry has completed 83 marathons, with a milestone goal of 100. His wife, Judy (39 marathons), and all of his 4 children and their families compete in races, marathons and ultra marathons and follow the impressive lifestyle of endurance athletes.


Larry is available as a resource to anyone interested in learning more about the benefits achieved with Zero-Impact RunningTM. You can email Larry at lschmidt@octanefitness.com.

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