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Archive for March 7th, 2008

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The Endurance 50 series 2006 presented a unique challenge that I didn’t think I was ready for. Dean Karnazes wanted to run 50 marathons in 5o states in 50 days. Although Sam Thompson had completed his series by then, the production quality of DK’s series was by far more organized and better coordinated. DK advertised in plenty of time what cities he would be in, where the start line was, the number of runners that can join him, and just generally the logistics necessary for others to be able to throw their hats in.

So there I was, a budding marathoner meeting this well-known runner. I joined him in San Francisco, Cleveland, and Philadelphia in the months of September and October. So in a way, repeat meetings allow better familiarity. By the time I ran in Philly, Dean knew who I was. He hinted that I could go on and run with him in Long Branch, two days before the NY ING marathon; at that moment in time, my body would not let me. Imagine this was his 49th day of marathoning sub-4s and here I was hee-hawing about my little pains.

I saw his 3:00 performance in his 50th in the series, 200 yards from the NY finish. It was an interesting finish, because he was just a few seconds behind the Lance Armstrong bandwagon. Imagine, two athletes I hold in high regard in the same time and place in 2006! I said thank you and congratulations to him at the Northface store a few blocks up from west Central Park.

Looking back, the best thing I learned from DK is that there are no limits. If you are willing, you can run forever. It forever shattered my notions of how much the body can take, seeing how well he held up during the series. I think he mistook me as an ultra-runner when I ran with him. Which is fine. Being able to run beyond 26.2 miles or 42 kilometers is amazing in my book, and being mistaken for such crazies is okay by me. In a way, DK introduced me to the big world of endurance racing and now I’m hooked!

Going forward one year, I was at mile 23 when I saw a familiar gait. The guy passed me, looking fresh at a late stage of a marathon. I yelled “Hey Dean!”. He turned around, had the biggest grin and said “I was wondering if you’d show up for SFM”. We had a few words just catching up. And then it was time for him to meet his fans. I finished a minute after he crossed the finish, and I could see he was already holding court. I caught his eye, nodded, and waved. He nodded in return, and turned to talk to a mature runner wanting his attention. I’ll see Dean again, and will be sure to always say Hi to a great guy!

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At 101, Buster Martin aims to be the oldest marathoner!  He looks like he could be in his 70s.  I hope he does cross the line and will run more marathons in the future.  Amazing!

I know a couple of septuagenarians and also met octagenarians in marathons.  They are slower with age, but they keep going.  What’s six or seven hours in an eternity of hours?  Keeping healthy is definitely the best use of time no matter what age anyone is.

What’s amazing with this guy is that you don’t believe right away that he could be 101.  But when you go back in time to where he was in major events, his family story, his British government record of employment, you are left with the reality that he is as old as he says he is.  And he drinks and smokes too, to this  day!  Few are blessed with genes as strong as Buster Martin’s.

I don’t think I’ll still be running in my old age.  As one feisty vet once said, he’s earned the right to slow down and have a relationship with his beer.  I don’t blame him!

Run long, and be well! 

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Running, simply put, is freedom in its pure form. You don’t need much; you don’t need clothes, or shoes, or special equipment. All you have to have is Desire.

When you run, you are free from the cares of the day-to-day existence. There is no competition. No shame. No fear. Just pure joy!

Although I haven’t tried this, here is a good way to run with with other runners world-wide: Yours Truly

Run those miles and kilometers 1 foot at a time.  Be well, and keep going!

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