4 races. 4 T-shirts. 5 freaking medals. 2 days. Yes, you read that correctly.
The Athens Marathon is like no other on Earth. According to legend, it covers the same ground that the Athenian messenger Philippides ran when he brought news of victory from the battlefield of Marathon 2,500 years ago to announce the Greeks’ defeat over the Persians.
The Historic Feud: Family, Honor, Justice, Revenge and a Vicious 26.2
The Hatfields and McCoys. Mere mention of their names stirs up visions of a lawless and unrelenting family feud that would span generations. The Hatfield-McCoy Marathon lived up to its reputation of being the Weather Channels “15 toughest marathons in the world.” Why?
100+ degree temperatures, winding hills for days in the Appalachian Mountains, the historic family feud rivalry that permeates every part of this route as runners crisscross between the Kentucky-West Virginia state lines! Oh, and the option to run a Double Half Marathon was too unique an opportunity to bypass (more on this shortly).
Runners had 3 options: a half marathon, a full marathon and what race director Shawn Cool (yes that is his name, and yes, he lives up to the billing) call the Double Half Marathon. You are likely thinking the exact same question I did when I asked Shawn “Is a double half marathon not the same exact thing as a full marathon?” Answer: not exactly. The double half marathon are two back-to-back 13.1 mile races with two separate start and finish lines. The first half marathon starts in Kentucky and runners have 3 hours to finish the race. IF you finish any time before the 3 hour time limit, you earn a break (finish in 2 hours, 30 mins = 30 min rest period).
The second 13.1 miles begins in West Virginia.
Round 1 – 13.1 miles, Kentucky, Temp: 65-85 degrees (2:29:21)
This was one of the first races that started with the firing of a real gun…and it was from both the Hatfield and McCoy representatives! We started in Kentucky and made our way through the heart of Feud Country (Miles 1 -6). We ran past the Randolph McCoy home place site and the graveyard where several of the McCoy’s were buried after they were tied to pawpaw trees and shot by the Hatfield’s. Six years later, The New Year’s Night Massacre occurred were the McCoy cabin was surrounded and attacked by Hatfield’s.
After passing these historic sites, you reach Mile 7 and run into the infamous Blackberry Mountain, a mere 30-degree incline spanning a full mile to the top. The elevation of these Appalachian hills are magnificent, and over the next 6 miles, this was a consistent theme with epic views of the countryside.Approaching my first finish line, I crossed into Matewan, West Virginia. With a rare 30-minute break, I assumed this would only be a positive; however, my plan and reality did not exactly match up.
Round 2 – 13.1 miles again, West Virginia, Temp: 85-105 degrees (3:14:30 mins)
I hydrated, stretched, ate several bananas and remained standing in the shade doing everything possible to avoid stiffing and cramping up. As soon as the second half marathon began, I ran 500 feet and felt both calves cramp up. NO! Cramps have followed me all my life in most races, but usually closer to the finish line. With 13.1 ahead, I ran through them and thankfully they went away by Mile 14. Unfortunately, at Mile 17, they returned in full force, but only because of “The Incident.”
After running up and down endless hills through muddy and rocky terrain, I came around a bend to find a woman shrieking on the ground as she held onto her unbelievably cramped calves. She was dehydrated, scared and in cringing pain. She was unable to put any weight on her feet and asked “Can you just carry me up the hill?” I have been in this type of pain before (Mile 24 during the Great Wall of China Marathon) and could empathize. I lifted her onto my back and proceeded to carry her several hundred feet up the muddy hill. Full disclosure, I attempted to film this because I thought it would make an epic video, but she was none too pleased, so I put my phone away and after 30-feet of walking, my calves cramped, and cramped badly! Eventually, we got to the top of the hill and a medical tent was within sight; I never saw her again but assume she received the proper attention.
Over the next 9 miles, I ran alongside rivers, over bridges and through coal mining areas. At Mile 20, I literally paused to get hosed down by some friendly supporters who mentioned the temperature was currently showing 101. At Mile 23, a couple cops were cheering on runners when I decided to stop and grab a picture. Needless to say, they wanted to have a little fun and handcuffed me! They asked which family I supported (we have to choose before the race). I chose McCoy’s because they are a bit more controversial.
With a combined time of 5:43:51, I felt that I earned every mile of this challenging race. was beyond exhausted and craving two things: an ice bath and moonshine.
When you surprisingly have to run 26.2 with leg cramps at a Major Marathon
Racing in a MONSOON at the Rio Marathon
Considered to be one of the top-guns on the international calendar, the…
Fifa World Cup – Running Against Dementia
Today is the big reveal for the 2014 official campaign video! Dementia is not restricted to a single location. It is a global problem.
My Goal: fund a state of the art brain imaging study to detect potential causes of dementia while people are ALIVE.
The Purpose: detection of dementia at a younger age = developing more effective drugs to fight the disease.
The race: This year, I will be running in Rio de Janiero during the month of the World Cup to raise dementia awareness on a global stage. This will be a prime opportunity to maximize awareness people fighting against dementia.
I need your help!
Join the worldwide fight against dementia and DONATE TODAY: Run4Papa
Dementia is a Global Epidemic/h2>
I am just an average person trying to create extraordinary things. Marketer by day, runner and fundraiser by night. Inspired by my “papa,” a pediatrician of 50+ years who recently lost his battle to this vicious disease. Do I have a cure…NOT YET. Am I trying to making a difference…YES! • World Wide Cases 35.6 Million = Worldwide Epidemic • This number will double by 2030 and more than triple by 2050 • In 2013, 15.5 million caregivers provided an estimated 17.7 billion hours of unpaid care valued at more than $220 billion (stats provided by the world health organization)
Running 21.1km, eh?
315 Days of Memories
AT LONG LAST! Here is the FINAL R4P montage video of this campaign: a look-back from START to FINISH and everything in between. What exactly can be accomplished in 315 Days? PLENTY!