Running marathons is fun and all, but there are so many out there to choose from. Take a look at how marathoning has exploded in the U.S. the past 3 years since I started running them, according to MarathonGuide:
- 2008: 477 marathons
- 2009: 501 marathons
- 2010: 620 marathons
- 2011: 710 marathons
In 2000, there were only 220 marathons in the country! In the span of a decade, the number of marathons has nearly tripled, and this doesn't even take into account ultramarathons, which have increased with an even more upward trajectory.
So, with so many races, how does one go about choosing which to run? From my PoweredByDimSum running club teammates, I had heard of their marathoning adventures in various states and countries. I decided to focus on knocking off states and becoming a 50 States Marathon Club Finisher. Right from the get go, my first three marathons were all in different states. In fact, my first 10 marathons were all in different states + DC+ Quebec Province. After knocking off those initial 3 states (NY, IL, & PA), finishing Dean Karnazes' 50/50 book (about running 50 marathons in all 50 states in 50 days), and becoming a Marathon Maniacs member, my quest to run all 50 states became solidified. Since childhood, I wanted to visit all 50 states and had been tempted to start collecting those state-shaped tourist magnets to commemorate each visit. Luckily, I never started up such a collection, and could now use marathon/ultramarathon finisher's medals as state visit mementos. I would say that's better than a refrigerator magnet collection!
I began marathoning on 9/20/2008. With my marathon finish in Baltimore, MD, a year later (on 10/10/2009), I had run my 10th state + DC, thus qualifying me as a member of both the 50 States Marathon Club and 50&DC Marathon Goup! As soon as I returned home from that marathoning weekend (which also happened to be my first marathon double: Baltimore+Steamtown), I sent my 50 Stater paper application and my 50&DC paper application to become an official member of each group.
After joining the 50 States Marathon Club, don't forget to also join their 50StatesMarathonClub Yahoo Groups email list:
Although it is a bit more difficult to finish 50+DC, there is less fanfare attached to it when compared to completion of the regular 50 State circuit. The 50 States club is more active and visible. You'll see 50 Staters in their 50 State gear on most marathon courses, but that is not the case for the 50&DC. Many members are in both clubs, as am I. Membership in either club does not preclude the ability to join the other; they are not mutually exclusive.
Had it not been for US Air, I would have already celebrated my 25th state finish (Charleston, South Carolina), but that is a whole other story. My 50 State progress looks like this:
2008: 3 States (NY, IL, PA)
2009: 11 States + DC (LA, DC, DE, VT, MT, NJ, WI, MD, VA, IN, GA, NV)
2010: 9 States (FL, TX, CA, NH, ME, CT, RI, AZ, TN)
2011: 13 States (MA, AR, AL, NC, KS, MN, WA, ID, CO, OH, WV, OR, MO)
2012: 14 States is the goal in order to complete the 50 States
Total: 36 States + DC
An easy way to keep track of which states I have run, I use this 50 States Map Maker: "Map Maker Utility" hosted on a Texas A&M server (http://diymaps.net/). To see my personal 50 States Map, click here. A lower resolution version of the map also appears at the top of this blog entry.
Now that I have run 24 States + DC (roughly mission halfway accomplished), I have reflected back on which particular races I would recommend for the states I have already run in the list below. Likewise, I have done the same for those questing to run a marathon/ultra on all 7 Continents, to become a Seven Continents Club finisher.
The greatest part about my 50 States+DC & 7 Continents quest is the fortunate experiences I have had being able to visit all the great places, domestically and globally, and meet such inspirational people hailing from backgrounds so different than myself. This quest definitely instills in you a better sense of what "America" truly is and the cultural vastness and sheer raw beauty that this land of ours has to offer.
As I continue to run races and receive feedback from other runners, I will continue to revise both of the below lists. Also, new marathons spring up all the time, so those might be better options in the future. We shall see.
Kino's Recommended 50 States Marathons / Ultras
[States & races that I have run and recommend are in bold. The others were recommended by others, or ones I selected based on my own research. Currently finished with 38 states + DC. Updated as of 02/21/2012.]
AL - First Light Marathon, Rocket City Marathon, Mercedes Marathon
AK - Frank Maier Marathon
AZ - Javelina Jundred 100M (Trail)
AR - Little Rock Marathon
CA - Western States 100 Endurance Run (Trail), Death Valley Trail Marathon (Trail), Big Sur International Marathon (Natural Beauty), LA Marathon (Big City)
CO - American Discovery Trail Marathon (Trail), Pikes Peak Marathon (Trail), Leadville Trail 100 (Trail), Hardrock 100 Endurance Run (Trail)
CT - Hartford Marathon
DC - National Marathon
DE - Delaware Marathon
FL - Miami Marathon
GA - Atlanta Marathon
HI - Honolulu Marathon, HURT 100 (Trail)
ID - Pocatello Marathon
IL - Chicago Marathon
IN - Indianapolis Monumental Marathon, Tecumseh Trail Marathon (Trail)
IA - Des Moines Marathon
KS - Oz Marathon, Eisenhower Marathon, Heartland 50/100 (Trail)
KY - Kentucky Derby Festival Marathon, Ironman Louisville (Ironman), Land Between The Lakes 60K (Trail)
LA - Rock 'n' Roll Mardi Gras Marathon
ME - Maine Marathon, Mount Desert Island Marathon
MD - Baltimore Marathon, JFK50 (Partially Trail)
MA - Boston Marathon
MI - Detroit Marathon, Grand Island Trail Marathon (Trail)
MN - Twin Cities Marathon, FANS 12 & 24 Hour Runs (Timed Ultra)
MS - Tupelo Marathon, Mississippi Blues Marathon
MO - GO! St Louis Marathon
MT - Missoula Marathon
NE - Lincoln Marathon
NV - Death Valley Trail Marathon (Trail), Red Rock Canyon Marathon, E.T. Full Moon Midnight Marathon & 51K
NH - New Hampshire Marathon
NJ - Ocean Drive Marathon, Atlantic City Marathon
NM - Jemez Mountain Trail Runs 50K & 50M (Trail), Run the Caldera Marathon
NY - NYC Marathon, Beast of Burden Summer 100 (Trail)
NC - Umstead 100 (Trail)
ND - Fargo Marathon
OH - NorthCoast 24-Hour Endurance Run, Cincinnati Flying Pig Marathon, Akron Marathon, Burning River 100 Mile Endurance Run (Trail)
OK - Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon
OR - Portland Marathon, Crater Lake Marathon, Eugene Marathon
PA - Steamtown Marathon (Partially Trail), Philadelphia Marathon, Back on My Feet 20in24 Lone Ranger Ultra Marathon (24 Hour Ultra, Pavement)
RI - Newport Marathon
SC - Myrtle Beach Marathon, Kings Mountain Marathon
SD - Deadwood-Mickelson Trail Marathon (Trail), Crazy Horse Marathon (Part Trail), Lean Horse 50K, 50M, & 100M (Trail), Black Hills 100 (Trail)
TN - Harpeth Hills Flying Monkey Marathon
TX - Houston Marathon
UT - Wasatch Front 100 Mile Endurance Run (Trail), St George Marathon
VT - Vermont City Marathon, Vermont 100 Endurance Run (Trail)
VA - Marine Corps Marathon, Grant-Pierce Indoor Marathon
WA - Rock 'n' Roll Seattle Marathon, Cascade Crest 100 Mile Endurance Run (Trail)
WV - Freedom's Run (Marathon), Highlands Sky Trail Run 40M (Trail)
WI - Green Bay Marathon, Sandbox Indoor Marathon (Indoor Trail)
WY - Bighorn Trail 100 Mile Endurance Run (Trail)
Kino's Recommended 7 Continents Marathons / Ultras
Africa - Comrades Marathon 89K (56M Road)
Antarctica - Antarctic Ice Marathon & 100K (Trail), The Last Desert (250K 6-Days Trail), McMurdo Marathon (Trail), Antarctica Marathon (Trail)
Asia - Tokyo Marathon
Europe - Berlin Marathon, London Marathon, Paris Marathon, Edinburgh Marathon
North America - NYC Marathon, Javelina Jundred 100, Back on My Feet 20in24 Lone Ranger Ultra Marathon
Oceana - Buller Gorge Marathon, Gold Coast Airport Marathon, Sydney Marathon, Solar Eclipse Marathon
South America - Maratona do Rio de Janeiro (Rio de Janeiro Marathon)
50 States + DC and 7 Continents
50 Sub-4 Marathon Club Aspirations
With today (2/3/2011) being Chinese New Year's and the Year of the Metal Rabbit, speed comes to forethought. Though my primary goal when running a road marathon is to successfully finish and avoid a road marathon PW ("personal worst", which for me is 5:00:15 set at my first marathon, 2008 Yonkers), my secondary goal is to run it as fast as I can when possible, and to PR (setting a "personal record", which many refer to as a PB or "personal best") it ideally. Scheduling (e.g. running doubles or too soon after a 50/24hr/100) and course elevations prevent this from happening oftentimes, and those are the times I like to run with a camera and document my journey. However, when I can pull off a fast race, it feels great to finish ahead of half of the race field. What I personally define as fast is running a marathon in under 4 hours, the elusive "Sub-4" finish for many of us. So during this year of the Rabbit, I hope to run in that sub-4 realm once again and maintain consistency while running road marathons in various states, something that my friend and Powered By Dim Sum teammate, Wei Chen, is adept at accomplishing.
Wei is one of 93 members of an elite group of marathoners (along with 50 Stater/Marathon Maniacs friends Steve Boone and Mark Ott) who are members of the 50sub4 Marathon Club. The meaning behind 50sub4 is: completion of a marathon in all 50 states in under 4 hours for each marathon. Though simply running a Sub-4 is impressive, it is something that most marathoners are capable of. What makes a 50sub4 finish so alluring is that it rewards speed, consistency, longevity, and logistical planning skills.
While regular 50 States Marathon Cub admittance is irregardless of finish time (you only need to finish a marathon/ultra in 10 different states and pay annual dues to become a regular member), the exclusive 50sub4 Marathon Club requires 10 states to be run in a sub-4 marathon time, in order to be admitted as a regular (non-finisher) member. Once all 50 states are completed, a member is considered a "finisher". The club makes available its Current Membership Roster (93 members) and its Finishers Roster (12 finishers).
Of those 93 members, there are only 12 (there are more in this world, but only 12 have actually registered to join the club as members) who have completed this difficult 50sub4 task. The most recent finisher was fellow 50 Stater/MMer Gary Krugger, who finished both the 50 states and 50sub4 on 10/30/2010 at the 5th Annual Spinx Marathon in Greenville, SC. That race was also significant because Gary's Maniacal girlfriend, and also fellow 50 Stater/MMer, Morgan Cummings, became the youngest woman to finish 50+DC. Gary is more of a sub3 marathoner, the likes of Joe Bowman, and has a legitimate shot at the more prestigious and daunting task of becoming a 51sub3 club member! As far as I know, there are only 2 members (Joe and Toby Skinner) of this elite club, maybe 4 if Maniac "Marathon Junkie" Chuck Engle and Michael Wardian have both completed the task?
As mentioned earlier, when running marathons, my primary goal is finishing, which goes along with my primary focus of becoming a 50 State Finisher. However, it would be nice if I could start reeling off more Sub-4 state finishes. I have made it a secondary goal of mine, when attempting to conquer the states. This 50sub4 goal will take much longer than simply finishing a tour of the 50 states. While the 50 states circuit is expected to take me 5 years to complete (2008-2013?), finishing all 50 states in a sub-4 time will require roughly 10-15 years (if all goes well).
Currently (as of this blog posting date, 2/3/2011), of my 41 marathon finishes (not counting my 9 ultras), I only have 2 sub-4 states completed. Surprisingly they occurred within a 3 weekend span, with a 4:00:28 finish (missed a sub-4 by 29 seconds) at MCM in between.
PR's By State
Sub-4 State Count: 18 (as of 02/18/2012, these states are listed in bold.)
AL - 3:52:07, 2012 First Light Marathon, 1-for-1
AK - ?
AZ - 14:54:48, 2011 Javelina Jundred (100K Trail)
AR - 3:58:37, 2011 Little Rock Marathon, 1-for-1
CA - 4:35:08, 2010 LA Marathon, 0-for-2
CO - 4:27:04, 2011 American Discovery Trail Marathon, 0-for-1
CT - 4:43:26, 2010 Hartford Marathon, 0-for-1
DC - 3:54:03, 2011 National Marathon, 1-for-2
DE - 4:20:37, 2011 Fortitude For First Descents Marathon, 0-for-2
FL - 3:39:52, 2012 Miami Marathon, 1-for-3
GA - 4:10:55, 2009 Atlanta Marathon, 0-for-2
HI - ?
ID - 3:54:33, 2011 Pocatello Marathon, 1-for-1
IL - 4:52:16, 2008 Chicago Marathon, 0-for-1
IN - 4:14:27, 2009 Indianapolis Monumental Marathon, 0-for-1
IA - ?
KS - 3:52:49, 2011 Oz Marathon, 1-for-1
KY - ?
LA - 4:35:36 2009 New Orleans Mardi Gras Marathon, 0-for-1
ME - 4:48:54, 2010 Maine Marathon, 0-for-1
MD - 3:43:13, 2011 Baltimore Marathon, 1-for-3
MA - 5:27:00, 2011 WMAC Fat Ass 50K (31M)
MI - ?
MN - 24:00:00, 2011 FANS 24 Hour Run (102.89M)
MS - 3:35:33, 2012 Mississippi Blues Marathon, 1-for-1
MO - 3:55:14, 2011 Rock 'n' Roll St. Louis Marathon, 1-for-1
MT - 4:34:36, 2009 Missoula Marathon, 0-for-1
NE - ?
NV - 3:58:08, 2011 Rock 'n' Roll Las Vegas Marathon, 1-for-3
NH - 4:55:18, 2010 New Hampshire Marathon, 0-for-1
NJ - 3:59:43, 2009 Asbury Park Relay Marathon, 1-for-1
NM - DNF, 2010 Jemez Mountain Trail Runs 50K
NY - 3:56:07, 2009 NYC Marathon, 1-for-4
NC - 11:49:51, 2011 Umstead 50
ND - ?
OH - 24:00:00, 2011 NorthCoast 24-Hour Endurace Run, 104.79 miles
OK - ?
OR - 3:36:53, 2011 Portland Marathon, 1-for-1
PA - 3:48:17, 2011 Pocono Mountain Run for the Red Marathon, 1-for-4
RI - 4:27:06, 2010 Newport Marathon, 0-for-1
SC - 3:26:29, 2012 Myrtle Beach Marathon, 1-for-1
SD - ?
TN - 4:41:13, 2010 Flying Monkey Marathon, 0-for-2
TX - 3:28:18, 2012 Houston Marathon, 1-for-2
UT - ?
VT - 4:11:17, 2009 Vermont City Marathon, 0-for-2
VA - 3:39:15, 2011 Marine Corps Marathon, 1-for-3
WA - 3:59:39, 2011 Rock 'n' Roll Seattle Marathon, 1-for-1
WV - 3:56:39, 2011 Freedom's Run, 1-for-1
WI - 4:03:09, 2009 Lakefront Marathon, 0-for-1
WY - ?
PR's by Country
Sub-4 Country Count: 2 (as of 12/04/2011, these countries are& listed in bold.)
CANADA - 4:34:38, 2009 Marathon Oasis de Montreal, 0-for-1
GERMANY - 3:38:21, 2011 Berlin Marathon, 1-for-1
HONG KONG - 4:11:17, 2011 Hong Kong Marathon, 0-for-1
JAPAN - 4:11:10, 2011 Tokyo Marathon, 0-for-2
USA - 3:26:29, 2012 Myrtle Beach Marathon, 1-for-14
Sub-4 Continent Count: 2 (as of 2/18/2012, these continents are listed in bold.)
Asia - 4:11:10, 2011 Tokyo Marathon, 0-for-3
Europe - 3:38:21, 2011 Berlin Marathon, 1-for-1
North America - 3:26:29, 2012 Myrtle Beach Marathon, 1-for-15
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