Democratic Party chief is always on the run

Billy Webster is always running.

He recently ran for the chairmanship of the Greenville County Democratic Party and won.

Some days, if pressed for time, he stops along a roadside, puts on his running shoes and runs. Somehow he manages to run 8 to 10 miles six days a week, run his own business and handle local party affairs.

“All you really need is a pair of running shoes and a road,” Webster said. “Running is the cheapest sport there is.”

And shortly after the state Democratic convention this weekend, he plans to fly to Boston, where he will run in the 26.2-mile Boston Marathon for the sixth time.

He doesn’t expect to win, or course. The winner of the 92nd marathon will likely finish somewhere within 2 hours and 10 minutes. Webster expects to finish the stretch along Boston streets in less than 3 hours.

Webster said the Boston Marathon is part of Massachusetts’ celebration of Patriot’s Day, which will attract such dignitaries as Gov. Mike Dukakis, seeking the Democratic presidential nomination.

Webster, 30, developed his fascination for running while a senior at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Va.

He kept on running while attending the University of Virginia Law School in Charlottesville and has since run marathons in New York and Boston five times each.

Webster’s recent entry into active politics has put more than adent in his running time, which generally starts around 5:45 a.m.

He tries to be at his office on Toy Street by 7:30 a.m., where he starts his work day as president of Carabo, which owns Bojangles restaurants in South Carolina.

“Running is a sport that grows on you,” he said. “It’s a sport that once you start, you never want to stop.”