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50 Marathons in 50 Days

In a test of self-discipline, a Hammer athlete runs a marathon equivalent for 50 straight days

By Brad Quinn

Last October 31, after moderate training and lots of contemplation, I decided to run a trail marathon a day for as long as my body and mind would allow. I wanted to set an example for my kids; I wanted them to SEE what it looks like to live out the self- discipline required to achieve their goals, and for them to learn the importance of support and encouragement.

I got the idea to run a marathon a day from a documentary I had seen. Back in the 1980s, cancer survivor Terry Fox ran a marathon a day (Marathon of Hope) across Canada on a simple prosthetic and basic running shoe, completing 143 marathons before his cancer returned and he lost his battle. As a long-distance trail runner and race director for the better part of 15 years, I didn't think my mileage goal was that outrageous. But I was a bit concerned about how I might fit my "life" - as a full-time occupational therapist, race director, husband, and father of four young children - into my running.

Getting there

My basic plan was to drop off the kids at school, run 18 trail miles before work, and then run the remaining miles on our property after the kids were in bed. I frequently run in two scenic but challenging parks near our home in the hill country outside Austin, Texas. Prior to starting my marathon goal, I measured the trail system of each park with my surveyor's wheel. The 10 acres we live on has a looped trail of approximately 2,325 feet.

As an occupational therapist, I'm inspired by the resilience and determination of the patients I see daily who refuse to be limited by their disabilities. Many of them endure real suffering and face extreme challenges. Not only do they not give up, but they triumph with grace and grit.

By mid-December, 50 days after beginning my marathon challenge, I had completed the equivalent of 50 marathons. Hammer Nutrition played an important part in helping me do it. I used Endurolytes and Hammer Gel (especially Montana Huckleberry) hourly for steady energy, day after day, and had no cramping or digestive trouble. After each run, I recovered with Recoverite.

There was never any question which fuel and supplements I'd use. Hammer Nutrition always meets my caloric and nutrition needs before, during, and after my runs. Hammer products also fuel the runners at the Capt'n Karl's Trail Series and Hill Country Marathon races that I direct. (The Capt'n Karl's Trail Series, which honors my late father-in-law, Karl Lembke, includes 60K, 30K, and 10K nighttime trail races in four beautifully rugged parks. Proceeds go to a local Hill Country charity; read more at www.traverserunning.com.)

After completing 50 marathons (1,325 miles) in 50 consecutive days, I'm even more in awe of Terry Fox. His ability to run 3,339 miles on essentially one leg while fighting cancer is truly amazing. As a healthy guy, I am humbled to experience just a part of what he endured. This sport brings out the awesome in us; I feel an incomprehensible pride, not in my own accomplishments but in those of others who have done more with less. They make me proud to be human. And for the record, my family is a fantastic team of supportive encouragers. HN