Monday, September 29, 2014

Some Goals Are Whimsical

Most of my goals are performance related.  I want to run faster, run farther, or race more frequently.  I also set geographical goals.  One such goal was running marathons in all 50 states, which I completed in 2010.  Occasionally, I set goals that are more whimsical.  The Quad Cities Marathon took me a step closer to one of my whimsical goals – running marathons or ultras for every letter of the alphabet.

The seed for this goal was planted when I first ran the Zoom! Yah! Yah! Indoor Marathon in 2012.  This race is held on an indoor track at St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN.  The race director, Dick Daymont, had help organizing this race from a colleague at Carlton College who offered to do most of the work on the condition that the race had a name starting with Z.  At the time, he was running marathons for every letter of the alphabet, but was having trouble finding a “Z” race.

That made me wonder how many letters I had.  His rule was to omit sponsor’s names.  For example, The [Medtronic] Twin Cities Marathon would be T for Twin Cities, not M for Medtronic.  That made sense to me.  Sponsors come and go.  For example, the first time I ran the Georgia Marathon, it was called the [ING] Georgia Marathon.  A year later, it was the [Publix] Georgia Marathon.  A notable exception would be a race where the sponsor’s name was the entire name of the race.  Grandma’s Marathon in Duluth was originally named for Grandma’s Saloon and Grill, although the race later took on a life of its own.

After running Zoom! Yah! Yah!, I was still missing J, K, Q, X and Y.  I’ve since run the Yakima River Canyon Marathon, Kentucky Derby Festival Marathon and Jackson Hole Marathon.  Finally, I added the Quad Cities Marathon yesterday.  At this point, the only letter I’m missing is X.

Here’s what I’ve got so far.  In most cases, I’ve run multiple races that start with the same letter, but I only listed one.

Athens Classic Marathon
Boston Marathon
Comrades Marathon
Darkside 8 Hour Race
Emerald Bay Marathon
FANS 24 Hour Race
Grandma’s Marathon
Honolulu Marathon
Illinois Marathon
Jackson Hole Marathon
Kentucky Derby Festival Marathon
Lean Horse 100
Midnight Sun Marathon
New York City Marathon
Olander Park 24 Hour Race
Pike’s Peak Marathon
Quad Cities Marathon
Reggae Marathon
San Francisco Marathon
Twin Cities Marathon
Umstead 50 Mile Endurance Run
Venice Marathon
Walker/North Country Marathon
Yakima River Canyon Marathon
Zoom! Yah! Yah! Indoor Marathon

I haven’t scheduled any X races, but my leading candidate is the Xiamen International Marathon, which is the largest marathon in China.  It doesn’t fit into my schedule for 2015, so it may take me a while to complete this goal.

Does anyone know of another marathon or ultra that begins with X (excluding the sponsor’s name)?


  1. You could run one of the XTERRA trail marathons. I ran XTERRA Oak Mountain Trail Marathon in Alabama last year, but I think they cut the full marathon this year. They may still have full marathons at some of their other locations.

    1. Technically, you could consider XTERRA to be the sponsor, but it's their own series, so I would think you're safe with this one.