I’m Sorry…I Thought You Said 145 Marathon WINS
When it comes to marathons, I was a “one-and-done” kind of guy. After I ran the Country Music Marathon in 2003, I was able to check it off my bucket list. I haven’t run one since, and I don’t plan on running one again. But that’s just me.
We work with a LOT of runners, and I absolutely LOVE working with them. They are extremely motivated to run pain free again and are willing to do almost anything to get back to form. If I told them that playing in traffic on I-65 would cure their back pain, we’d have a real-life game of Frogger on our hands. I have clients that run several marathons each year, and I even have one client who plans on running a marathon in each state, and she just checked her 15th state off of her list–what an achievement!
But what if I told you there was a guy who has won a marathon in every state? Not only has he won a marathon in each state, but he has tallied 145 marathon wins over his career. Yes, you read that correctly. One-hundred-and-forty-five victories. Let that sink in for a while. Unbelievable.
Here is the story of 41-year-old Chuck Engle from RunnersWorld.com:
145th Marathon Win Gives Engle World RecordBy Matt McCue
Chuck Engle has won a world-record 145 marathons.
On any given Friday morning, Coos Bay, Ore. resident Chuck Engle usually has no idea where he might fly for a weekend marathon. “If I am in the mood, I go,” he says of his sporadic race planning that could take him to New Jersey, Colorado, or possibly Seattle. “It’s almost always a last-minute thing except for a Boston or Chicago—you have to plan those out.”
Last year, the 41-year-old raced 51 marathons and won 33 of them. A win at the Canyon Meadows Trail Marathon in Redwoods Park, Calif., on March 17 put his career victory count at 144, which tied him with Norway’s Helge Hafsas for first on the all-time career marathon win list. This past weekend, Engle made a last-minute trip to Sacramento, Calif., to win the River City Marathon in 2:40:07 and claim sole possession of the record.
When I spoke with Engle a few hours after his finish, he was sitting at a Romano’s Macaroni Grill, waiting for his plane to take off and indulging in the nicest glass of wine on the menu, a $15 California Cabernet. “That’s how I am, no media, no press,” he says of his low-key celebration.
Owing to a number of logistical errors on the off-road course, Engle did more than run the River City Marathon. “It was a great course, good weather, but there were no water stops the last 8 miles,” he says. He reached two mid-race water stops that hadn’t been set up yet and paused each time to help the volunteers. Then, in desperate need of water in the last few miles, he passed the water stop at mile 24 to find nothing. The water, cooler, and table had been stolen. That didn’t stop Engle from winning by 13 minutes.
Engle does Internet marketing for MarathonGuide.com and is sponsored by them and Clif Bar. Both help cover his travel budget, but he’s also built up relationships with many race directors. “Lately, a number of race directors have stepped forward and have been super generous and given me an entry and a hotel room,” says Engle, who, alas, fears airplanes. “Even though I hit 125,000 SkyMiles a year, I am terrified to fly,” he says. His travel vice is fine wine. Wherever he goes, often along the West Coast, he samples the local varietals.
His mantra is “Run More,” and he obviously doesn’t follow the common practice of focusing on one or two marathons a year. “I tried to peak for a race a few years ago and I went out and ran a 2:37,” he says, noting that he didn’t even come close to breaking his 2:31:01 PR set at the 2007 Dayton (Ohio) Marathon. Perhaps what’s most impressive is his consistency. In 2011, he averaged 2:45 for his 51 marathons.
Last year, he became the first person to win a marathon in all 50 states. To reach that goal, the 5’8”, 140-pounder logs 90-120 miles a week. Since he works from home and MarathonGuide’s headquarters are on the East Coast, he often has to wake at an ungodly hour to tally a morning run before sitting down at his desk to meet the 9 a.m. Eastern time/6 a.m. Pacific time workday start. His weekly schedule is anchored by a midweek medium-long run and weekend race. A day off is a rarity. “Anybody who knows me knows that if I’m stuck in an airport, I’ll leave my stuff at the airport, pop my shoes on and run outside the airport,” he says.
Despite his unsurpassed roster of wins, Engle downplays his achievements. “What I am doing is unique in the sense that no one else chooses to run a marathon most every weekend,” he says. “I know there are a couple of Kenyans who bounce around race to race, and I know they could do it if they had the funding.” He pauses and adds, “I hope they don’t get it.”
QUESTION: What was the most challenging thing you’ve ever done?