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Going the extra mile

August 13, 2019 by Abigail Bostwick

For some, retirement can mean relaxing by the lake and the woods in Northern Wisconsin. That may be the case for Lac du Flambeau couple Richard Pleet and Bliss Placker — they’re just also enjoying it while also extensively running, hiking and walking. 

Pleet and Placker have a wealth of bibs, medals and trophies at home, but that isn’t what keeps them so active. For the couple, who fell in love with the Northwoods after spending most of their major careers in Illinois, it’s the fun, friendships and competition which builds in racing that keeps them chasing PR (person record) after PR. 

Most recently, Pleet and Placker competed in the Chicago Rock n’ Roll Half Marathon where Placker, 68, was the oldest legacy female in the event’s history. This was Placker’s 11th time running the event near her hometown roots.

“Richard is the energizer bunny that keeps me going,” she laughed just a week after the Chicago Rock n’ Roll. 

For Richard, 78, this was his 10th time at the Chicago Rock n’ Roll. He’s made tracks at more than 80 half marathons in his life and more than 20 fulls. 

“If you accomplish a half, you feel like you’ve really done something, but you’re dead,” Pleet said of the benefits of taking part in a half versus a full. “It’s a big commitment.”

“We like the races, we like the people,” Pleet added. “All together, you get energized, it keeps you going. All these people are there, trying to do a good job and work for the same thing — a PR. There’s a lot of energy in a race.” 

Placker especially enjoys the companionship of those while running. 

“Some of it’s just meeting people, new friends, it’s a social thing,” she said. “(Richard) is up there running, I’m in the back meeting people and getting to know everyone.” 

Besides the competition, the couple likes to hit races they’ve been at before to see familiar faces as well as greet new ones. 

“We still have friends below (in Illinois) so we enjoy going back to see them and run,” Placker said. 

Pleet was the runner when he and Placker met and fell in love — and he also got her to fall in love with the sport, he indicated. 

“She fell for it,” he smiled. 

Pleet himself started running years ago in preparation for a backpacking trip. After that he kept jogging and finally at a last minute event, ended up competing. 

“I got the bug,” he said of running and running competitively. 

When they aren’t training or at running events, Pleet and Placker get out hiking, biking, camping and running. They also travel extensively across the country by RV with their dog, Beshkwe. 

“He’s family,” Richard said of the pup, who himself once went through a half-marathon, earning a bib, medal and hamburger all runners were permitted to. 

While touring the country and beyond, the three enjoy hiking through mountains and deserts and camping in the wilderness. 

“We travel everywhere, but we really love Wisconsin,” Pleet said. “We love it up here.” 

Pleet and Placker will take part in Hurley’s Paavo Nurmi’s half marathon this weekend. 

When not training or racing, the couple enjoys boating, horseback riding, friends and family as well as gardening and raising monarch butterflies. 

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