Google Analytics


50 Sub-4 Marathon Club Aspirations

White Visor

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


  1. Good luck! Do you want to do Chicago with me this year? It'll be a good race to go for a sub-4.

  2. I need to decide really quickly on Chicago. I know it will sell out quicker than ever. I'm really not good on flat courses though. If I run Chicago, I break my Steamtown streak (would have been 3 years). It's a race that I really like and is also a great sub-4 candidate. Decisions, decisions, decisions. I'll let you know what I decide! Thanks for the idea.

  3. I'm thinking about Chicago but haven't decided yet. I love Steamtown! Only did it one year but had a blast. Let me know what you decide. As far as 50-sub4, I've done a handful and was invited to join the club, but I don't want to have to go back to all those states. It's too bad I didn't do that from the beginning.

  4. There's no rush for 50sub4, so we could take our time and try to knock them off! You have quite a few done already. Don't give up yet. I would have to repeat a lot of states too, but I have enjoyed every state that I have visited so far although Delaware wasn't that interesting.
    If I sign up for Chicago, I'll let you know.

  5. This is very cool, Kino. I saw your map on FB the other day. I only have 8 states (3 in the sub-3 category) but hope to chase down many more over my lifetime. I've visited 47 states and definitely want to make it to the other 3 soon too (even if not to run a marathon).

  6. RJR: You are definitely capable of being one of the few 50 sub-3 marathoners in this world! Which 3 states are you missing?

  7. Thanks Kino, but I'm not so sure... It would be really tough to get more than a few of those a year and time/age will only make them tougher.

    I'm missing North Dakota, Wisconsin, and Alaska in just visiting category.

  8. Kino, I know you can make 50 Sub-4 Club. Just need a little more training and best of luck to you.

  9. Thanks for the vote of confidence Steve. Glad we both had a successful Little Rock Marathon and that I was able to run a sub-4 once again! I'm going to try my best to keep sub-4'ing.

  10. This comment has been removed by the author.

  11. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  12. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  13. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.