Monday, November 3, 2014

A Second Circuit of 50 States Now Seems Inevitable

In 2010, I finished a long-term goal to run marathons in all 50 states.  For several years, I’ve been a member of the 50 States Marathon Club.  Some members finish their 50 states and then set out immediately to run a second marathon in each state.  I wanted to do something different.

Within two weeks of finishing, I joined two other running clubs.  One was 50sub4.  50sub4 members share a goal of finishing marathons within four hours in every state.  At the time, I had sub-4 finishes in 42 states, so I just needed to repeat eight states to get faster times.

The other club I joined was Marathon Maniacs.  This club is for people who run marathons frequently.  The minimum qualification to join is to run two marathons within 16 days or three marathons within 90 days.  There are higher levels for more extreme marathon streaks.

Having run marathons on two consecutive days, I joined at the four star level.  Over the next year, I wanted to run enough marathons to reach a higher level.  I eventually put together a running schedule that included marathons or ultras in 23 different states or countries.  That would qualify me for eight stars.  My schedule included the eight states where I still needed to break four hours.

Over the course of the next year, I reached both of these goals.  In the process, I ran my second marathon in several states.  In 2012, I set another goal.  I wanted to reach the highest level of Marathon Maniacs – 10 stars.  One way to do that is to run marathons in 30 different states or countries within 365 days.  It doesn’t have to be a calendar year, but in my case it worked out that way.

I was getting pretty consistent at running marathons fast enough to qualify for the Boston Marathon.  Once I had qualified for Boston in half of the states, I made a point of visiting states where I had not yet qualified for Boston.  By the end of 2012, there were only nine states where I had not yet qualified.  As I planned my race schedule for 2013, I made a point of running marathons in each of these states.  I reached that goal in January of 2014.

All of these goals brought me back to states where I had already run at least one marathon.  Earlier this year, I realized I had run two or more marathons in 43 states.  As I was picking races, I started looking for opportunities to revisit these states.

I just ran the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon.  This was my second Indiana marathon.  It was also a 50 States Marathon Club reunion.  During the expo, I visited the club’s booth.  They had a form for updating your statistics, which include your total number of marathons and the number of states you’ve done.  People who have started a second circuit usually indicate how many states they’ve repeated.  Since I had never previously committed to doing a second circuit, I was in the habit of writing 50 states – I had already completed my one (and presumably only) circuit of 50 states.  This time, I listed my state count as 47, since Indiana was the 47th state in which I ran a second marathon.

This map shows where I stand today.  I’ve run at least two marathons or ultras in 47 states.  I’m only missing Alabama, Hawaii and Alaska.  I’ve already scheduled another Alabama marathon, but I don’t know when I’m going back to Hawaii and Alaska. I don’t have a schedule for finishing my second circuit, but at this point it seems inevitable.

It’s worth noting that I’ve already run a third marathon in over half of the states.  Is a third circuit inevitable?  I think it all comes down to how many marathons I eventually run in Hawaii and Alaska.  It would be a lot easier if someone would organize quadzillas in Hawaii and Alaska.

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