What Caused the Spark that Started the Fire


My goal to run a marathon in all fifty states was once not so lofty. Back in 2007 or 2008 I decided I wanted to “earn a medal” in all fifty states…so my medal that I earned riding the MS 150 City of Shore bike ride would have counted as a medal for New Jersey, my Baltimore Half Marathon medal would have counted for MD, etc. At the time I aspired to one day finish a triathlon, but that ambition fell by the wayside.*

This desire soon snowballed into something bigger…I had run half marathons in several new cities to earn a state medal such as the Rock ‘N Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon, the Disneyland Half Marathon in Anaheim, California, the Lake Placid Half Marathon in upstate New York, and the Freedom’s Run Half Marathon in West Virginia. But something nagged at me. It just didn’t seem to be enough. I would finish my half marathon and watch the marathoners continue their steadfast course, and I felt this small sense of loss.

I wondered if I was possibly missing out on something by “only running the half”? Was the course more scenic? Were there things I was missing that the full marathoners got to experience? Now in the case of Rock ‘N Roll events,  according to most reviews and feedback I have heard, it seemed to be the unanimous opinion that these races are easily catered to the half marathoners. All the bands, the cheering crowds, the action is in the first half. The second half of the course is when the runners thin out and you see industrial parks, sparse and bleak scenery, very few bands, and minimal spectators. But a race like Freedom’s Run went through four different historical battlefields, and the half marathoners completely missed the section that ran through Harper’s Ferry. That particular race brought me to the conclusion that I did NOT want to be excluded from anything a marathon had to offer, even if it was two loops or an out-and-back course.  Missing out on Harper’s Ferry was the spark that started the fire.

So my 50 states + DC mission officially started in January of 2011, where I ran my marathon as a fundraiser and mentor for Team in Training at the Walt Disney World Marathon in Orlando, Florida. This was my third marathon at Disney World, but it was made even more special by running the Goofy Challenge.  I will recap my events one by one for the race archive, and who knows, maybe it will inspire you to run one of these marathons someday!

* I learned somewhat quickly that a) I don’t like cycling enough simply because it’s more trouble than it’s worth with all the gear and safety concerns, and b) I can barely swim in a straight line. Running was always my passion.


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