Brian Schweinhagen Runs Marathons In All 50 States
Archbold Buckeye (6/28/17)
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“I finished my quest on June 10,” running in the Duff’s Skagway Marathon in and around Skagway, Alaska, he said.
“I felt like a rock star on the course. The race director surprised me with a big ‘50’” on his racing bib.
wore a star-spangled outfit, so I pretty much stood out in the crowd.
I’ve run a lot of races and nowhere have spectators taken pictures of
me… Every corner I turned, if someone had a camera, they were looking
for me, screaming, and taking pictures.
“There is always a risk of bears in Alaska. This being a trail marathon, the risk was probably even higher.
“While I saw lots of bears while visiting Alaska, none were seen on the course.”
ran his first marathon in 1993, “way before I ever heard of the 50-
state club. There were only 13 (50-state) finishers, a pretty elite
crowd,” he said.
1999, after I had finished five states, is probably the first time I
was introduced to the notion of running a marathon in every state.
“At that time, there were only 70 (50-state) finishers.
“Fast forward 23 years, seven months, 18 days– I am the 1,266th ‘certified’ finisher.’
each state was an adventure in itself. Most marathons were three-day
weekends, so in the limited amount of time for each race I like to take
in as much as I could in the city or state I visited.
“Of course, there were many states where there was a weeklong adventure as it transformed into a full-out vacation.
enough, as much as I traveled and as tired as I may have been from both
the marathon running as well as the logistics getting home, I generally
made it to work on Monday morning.”
When asked about marathons that stood out in his mind, he said there are many that are special.
“For example, Chicago is my personal record. Boston, well, is Boston,” he said.
“One of my favorites is Grandma’s Marathon in Duluth, Minn.
most challenging was the Pikes Peak Marathon in Colorado, where the
13.1- mile turnaround is on top of one of the highest peaks in the
continental United States.
“I remember mile 12-13. With the elevation, that one mile took me 37 minutes.
“My first California marathon was through the California Redwoods. Each one has great memories.”
“People in different parts of the country were very different. For a race, the whole community comes together.
“Without many volunteers, none of this would be possible.”
race is way different. There are many things to consider including time
of the year, temperature, logistics, course profile (hard/easy,
hot/cold, flat/ mountains, elevation, etc).
“Every marathon I started I finished, but a handful of them I had my doubts.
interesting is the way everyone dresses at the start. For example,
let’s take a marathon in the middle of the country like Kentucky or
have the warmweathered people from places like Florida that are
freezing and layered up, while you have others from colder northern
states that show up in shorts and a tank top.
“All runners doing the same race, but each race is its own challenge just based on where you came from.”
Schweinhagen graduated from Bowling Green State University in 1991 with a computer science degree.
Today, he lives in Los Angeles,
Calif., with his wife Homeyra, and their daughter, Parisa, 12.
Parisa accompanied him to Skagway, riding a mountain bike along the entire 26.2-mile course.
Skagway, Schweinhagen said he “wasn’t the first to cross the finish
line, but they held up a pink ribbon for me at the finish.
“I have a ceremonial finish to a number of my races where I do a somersault across the finish line.
“I rolled across the finish line, actually going underneath the ribbon– so my only chance to break the ribbon and I failed!”
Brian Schweinhagen, AHS ‘86, has completed his quest to run at least one 26.2-mile marathon in each of the 50 U.S. states.