Rev. Patrick T. Ferry, PhD, likes to joke that he had to run to catch his future wife.

Concordia University Wisconsin and Ann Arbor’s president and his wife of 34 years, Tammy Ferry, PhD, were a few years out of college and working as admissions counselors for their alma mater, St. John’s College in Winfield, Kansas, when they began dating.

Tammy was a running enthusiast. Ferry was less emphatic about it. But his interest in Tammy served as a good enough motivation to nurture the interest.

He’s had ebbs and flows in his running repertoire since then—that is, until Dec. 20, 2012, when Ferry began day one of a daily running routine.

Nearly eight years later, Ferry’s persistence and dedication have earned him a spot among an elite group of runners who have their own organization, called Streak Runners International, with a registry and a newsletter that highlights some of the more remarkable running streaks. The group is open to all. The only thing required is to log no less than a mile a day for at least a year.

Ferry’s running streak started as a New Year’s resolution. His initial goal was one year of daily running. Although, at the time, the Mayan Calendar allegedly foretold that the world would end on Dec. 21, 2012—so his resolution was not so ambitious after all, Ferry jokes.

As it turned out, the world did go on, and so did Ferry. He has since left his one-year mile marker in the dust.

Only once in the past eight years was he forced to break his streak, much to his chagrin. A bout of the flu caused a fainting spell in the midst of a Sunday service on campus for students. By doctor’s orders, Ferry took an eight-day break to recover from a spell of vertigo he developed after hitting his head during the fall.  

Otherwise, Ferry has overcome inclement weather, out-of-state (and country!) travel restraints that have at times caused him to run in the middle of the night, and, in general, life’s daily duties to stay steadfast to his commitment.

Now running has become habitual for him, akin to brushing his teeth. And, like dental hygiene, he sees and appreciates the physical health benefits of it, as well.

Perhaps most importantly though, Ferry said running—or staying healthy and active, in general—is a way to honor the Lord with his body.

“Concordia’s mission statement encourages ‘service to Christ in mind, body, and spirit,’” Ferry said. “This is just one way I can live out a piece of that mission every day.”

— This story is written by Kali Thiel, director of university communications for Concordia University Wisconsin and Ann Arbor. She may be reached at or 262-243-2149.

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