He is Warren Depuy, long-time runner and songster who you might remember if you frequented any of the local clubs over the years and wondered who that amazing lead singer was with a voice like John Denver.
Warren now lives in Middle Smithfield, after growing up across the river in the Blairstown area. His daily run takes him across the 209 bypass, down to Buttermilk Road and back, so I think he qualifies as a Smithfield runner. Sometimes he stops at the Jay Park post office to get his mail, People recognized him at the post office all summer, commenting that he was losing so much weight.
Last spring, Warren weighed 70 pounds more than he does now. Running 2.5 miles every day is a sure way to slim down. He’s 68 and his doctor calls his general health and weight loss “stellar.” But running is not the only way Warren has become a star. For many years he was a regular performer: singing with bands and playing anywhere from Fernwood to the Big A to Swiftwater to the place that is now Kay’s Tavern. When fans saw him step on stage they would yell, “John Denver is in the house.”
How did he cross over from Blairstown to our side of the river? He knew the territory from all the weekend gigs he played (during the week he was chief custodian at North Warren High School for 35 years), and “the rents are so much cheaper over here.”
Running roads in the winter is riskier than running in the summer. Plows often narrow the shoulder to nothing, and cars splash slush in your face. But a lot of people also beep or wave when they drive past. That’s always encouraging when you keep pushing yourself towards the next landmark.
In the summer he enjoys watching nature along the route, often taking off his headphones to listen to the rushing water of Marshalls Creek. With headphones on, he admits his taste in music is eclectic. His selection varies from Elton John to Paul Revere and the Raiders to Herman’s Hermits to The Beach Boys to Metallica to The Dave Clark Five to the Rolling Stones.
He’s less enthusiastic about contemporary hip hop. “When you run, you’ve got to have a rhythm that is right for you.” Syncopation in modern beats may not be the best for a running step.
The best of running, as any runner can tell you, is the feeling of calm and rightness of the world when you finish. The rush of endorphins can’t be duplicated. How to sum up Warren’s outlook on life? He’s a pretty happy guy. When you see him, beep your horn, but watch out for the slush.