I’m proud to have run my 50th marathon and achieve a goal I never thought I’d reach. Saturday (May 31, 2014) also marked my 47th different state as I am about to complete another goal: 50 by 60.
I’ll run races in North Dakota and New Jersey this fall, then finish with my 50th state on the Potomac River in Maryland. This is the state my dear mother was from and where my wife was born and raised and where we go married 25 years ago. The race is along a scenic canal just outside of Washington. I’ll run it one week before I turn 60 in November.
Most of the marathons (40) have been run in the last five years after I decided to see if I could complete this crazy dream. I had run in 10 states then, with my first one as I was turning 50, wanting to get into better shape and looking for a new hobby.
On Saturday it was very warm and humid at the start at 7 a.m. in a small town south of Kansas City. This was my third marathon in 27 days and I was naturally tired. And I was almost the oldest person in the race. So I had plenty of excuses for not running well. You can imagine how thrilled I was to finish fourth in the race, my highest finish ever.
This is how I looked early on, well before I almost passed out at the finish.
Running 50 marathons has been an exhausting but extraordinary adventure. I’ve been truly lucky to have run in incredible places, like
* Down five gorgeous mountains in the Rockies in cool summer temps;
* Around New York, Boston, Chicago, San Diego, Charleston, and other great cities;
* By the White House and the Liberty Bell and near where the Civil War started;
* Through Churchill Downs, Sea World San Diego, and Music Row in Nashville;
* Next to the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, Great Lakes, and Gulf of Mexico (14 times);
* Across the Mississippi and by Lake Champlain and a trout stream in New Hampshire;
* On the Vegas Strip and Bourbon Street as drunks staggered by at 7:00 a.m.; and * Away from a moose and her calf in Alaska.
Not all races have been scenic or even enjoyable, of course. I’ve run in deadly heat, frigid cold, pouring rain, and gusty winds — even near a tornado with sirens blaring. But I’ve been able to race and take vacations in some wonderful places, often with my family. I ran around a bucolic island outside of Portland, Oregon on July 4th, then skied down Mount Hood two days later. I explored the Big Island of Hawaii over spring break with my wife and daughter the week before I ran the marathon in Kona, with some of its course meandering along the Pacific and through a tropical rain forest. And running my first foreign marathon around the Sea of Galilee after exploring Israel last year with my wife as we celebrated our 25th anniversary was truly remarkable.
I’m proud that I have run my races in an average time of 3:35 and that most have qualified me for the rigorous requirements of the Boston Marathon. I’ve run it twice (I don’t have enough tread on the old tires to repeat states!) and will run it next year.
People have asked me why I run. Why not? It’s invigorating, challenging, and age-retarding. I love the way it makes me look and feel. It’s a fountain of youth. I thrive on the freedom, accomplishment, and inner peace it brings. I relish the competition. I enjoy the roar of the crowd, high fiving children, and “sprinting” across the finish line. I’m proud that I’m in the best shape of my life, weigh what I did when I started college 42 years ago, and am healthy. And I have the physical strength, mental toughness and passion to fight for my clients.
As the incredible ultra marathon runner Dean Karnazes wrote, “Unless you’re not pushing yourself, you’re not living to the fullest. You can’t be afraid to fail, but unless you fail, you haven’t pushed hard enough.”
There is more info about my passion for running here. The last entry about Green Bay was my last race two weeks ago.