Most people Downriver know my husband, Bob Ankony, as the “Tan Running Man of Grosse Ile.” Bob has been running the island and throughout Downriver since 1979.Bob runs in all weather, from below zero to above a hundred. Oddly enough, as he gets older, he enjoys running in the heat more and more. He comes alive in hot, humid weather—says the heat acts as a natural lubricant for aging joints—and he loves the idea that wherever he is, he can always run home. On average, he runs 2,800 miles a year.So far, he’s run more than 130,000 miles. That’s more than five laps around the earth—more than half the distance to the moon. And he has logged a lot of those miles in faraway places such as Stalingrad, Moscow, Leningrad, Vietnam, Hong Kong, and Okinawa.
January 25, 2014, was a beautiful Saturday afternoon in Surf City, USA—also known as Huntington Beach, California. It was a pleasant seventy-two degrees, with not a cloud in the sky. The weather was especially nice since, just the evening before, I had flown out of Detroit, where it was two degrees with biting forty-mile-an-hour gusts. I had been in Detroit for a week of unavoidable family business with three self-absorbed siblings.
Since 1979, my wife, Cathy, and I lived in our lovely quad-level home on Grosse Ile, a small island town twenty miles south of Detroit. Our house was paid off and was always a source of pride—to me after growing up in Detroit, and to my wife, who was raised in the government projects of Norwayne (later the city of Westland). We raised our daughter and two sons, and in April 2014, after spending the winter in balmy Huntington Beach, California, far from the snows and subzero temperatures of Michigan, we decided it was time to move. Two of our children had been living out of state for years, our youngest son was in college, and all of our kids hoped to end up in California.