By Anne Stanton
In his younger days, Bill Greene was one of the top 50 runners in the
state with very impressive times. His all-time best marathon took a mere
2:32. He routinely ran just over 5-minute miles.
But then life intervened in his late 30s, draining his time and emotions.
He was a single dad raising two teens, ran a business by himself, and had
to deal with complicated real estate issues. The teens were -- by far --
the most challenging, he said, laughing.
And then he got fat.
Greene of Traverse City said he gained 75 poundsand thats a lot on a
5‘6“ frame. His weight had been up and down before, but it peaked about
nine years ago. He remembers lying on the beach with a friend at the end
I was big as a whale. And I told her, Im going to ski the VASA 25K this
And he did.
With the teens grown and out of the house, he started running again and
skate-skiing. He didnt change his diet much, but the weight still melted
off. His advice for anyone trying to lose weight is to do what you love
and to do it a lot. I like to eat too much. Thats why I ski almost every
THREE 50K RACES
This year, to celebrate his 50th year, he plans on skate skiing three 50-K
races (equivalent to about 31 miles each)the Noque in Marquettte (January
30), the VASA (February 13) and the Great Bear Chase in Calumet (March
You need to do a story on all the people who donate to the VASA and who
volunteer for these races. Then do another story on the groomers. They
work around the clock. Theyre the real heroes.
Look inside his car, and youll find two pair of skate skis for the
varying temperatures, and another pair of skis for off-trail skiing (I
really dont use them.). He likes to ski between nine and 15 miles a
I like to ski alone. You set your own pace. My performance is up to me. I
get into a zen-like state, which is hard to describe. You get into a
trance and detach from everything. My favorite feeling is when its 15
degrees outside, and youre hot inside. It feels like Acapulco inside my
suit. It just feels refreshing.
Greene comes from an athletic family. He, along with his late father, one
of the original TC Track Club members, and his daughter, Amy Marshall, all
ran the Boston Marathon. He doesnt run as often now because of hamstring
pain, but he frequently walks down the big hill to West Grand Traverse Bay
from his home atop Wyatt Road. He also works out in the gym and kayaks the
Boardman River about 30 times each summer.
Beyond that, Greene is also a world traveler: hes been on solo trips to
South America, India, and most recently Israel, among many other exotic
Traverse City is known for its world-class skate skiers, and Greene said
hes not one of them. But he doesnt mind being in the middle of the pack.
Its a lot less stressful.
His advice for others seeking to get in shape: Just suit up, show up.
Just go do it. You wont get in shape sitting on your couch.