Tag: 2018

43 Laps.

This past week I have been focusing on mentally preparing myself for the Jackpot Running Festival. Sure it’s in February. But, attempting to run 100 miles is something I’m trying to grasp. And, as much as I still need to put in the work physically — I have to do likewise mentally.

That is one reason why I did two half marathons this past Saturday and will do it again next weekend when I run the Snow Canyon and Joshua Tree Half Marathons. And, yet another reason why I have a number looooooooong timed training plans planned for December and January at the Olympic Oval — among other places.

I’m a very visual person. I have to see the end from the beginning, otherwise I’m lost. This is how I prepared myself for my first races in the 5K, half marathon, marathon and ultra distances. And, this 100 mile race is no different.

Over the past several months I’ve visualized my laps — not just the final laps, but the beginning and middle as well. I’ve visualized the pain I went through at mile 45 of my 50 miler and tripled that in the scope of how I might feel at miles 63, 82 or 96.

That final lap is what carries me. That’s what kept me optimistic this past race season as I’ve dealt with health and sprained ankle. And, let’s not pretend that I didn’t completely freak out in August that this wasn’t going to happen at all — so why even try?

But, that final lap made me believe it was going to happen.

In my attempt to further entrench the reality of what I am going to do, I decided to calculate the laps I will need to do for my 100 miles. Barring another washout of the course — the course should be 2.38 miles (last year it was 2.5 miles because the course had to be rerouted because of the flooding).

That’s 42.0168067 laps.

And, since I’m not quitting mid-lap, that’s 43 laps. Which makes my mileage for the race 102.34 miles.

I just have to do 43 laps. That’s it — 43 laps.

I can do that.

And, instead of viewing it as 43 2.38 mile laps, I’m cheating and viewing it as mile loops. Just 43 loooooong single mile loops.

I can do that.

It’s been a tough year for me. It’s sucked. Having a sprained ankle from April that has still given me problems has been beyond frustrating. I’ve been slower than I’ve wanted to be, my training has been tougher than I thought it would — and I have had my share of doubts.

But, as my running coach has reminded me — this race isn’t about being the fastest, it’s about doing what you’ve set out to do. And, that’s what I’ve been trying to remember and keep in mind.

This is about running 100 miles. This is about doing something that pushes me physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. This is about doing something that was unimaginable for me to do not just 10 years ago, but even a year ago.

This is about so, so much.

And, all I have to do is run 43 laps.


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Running in 2018 …

A couple of weeks ago, I blogged about my road to 180 races. My 180th race will be July 24th — pretty much SMACK in the middle of the year. So that means I’ve got January through July pretty much covered — but, what about the last half?

What’s after my 180th race?

That’s a good question.

While I am trying to figure out my 2018 race schedule, I’ve had a couple focuses — one, my 100 mile run and, two, not doing as many back-to-back race weekends of a half marathon or longer. I know that if I am going to faster, especially during my half marathons, I am going to have to scale back on the long races.

I don’t anticipate myself PRing next year. But, I am wanting to use 2018 to set the foundation to PR in 2019. Well, I shouldn’t just say PR, but to break my long time goal of sub-two’ing a half marathon. That’s the goal.

To work on that fountain, I plan on not just scaling back on the races — but, focusing on doing two races a month. Ideally, a half marathon and a trail race, a month. This would be on top of shorter training runs on the other weekends. Runs that I want to vary between a canyon downhill run, trail run and challenge run (a mentally challenging run — run uphill, midnight all night run, etc) — but, I’ll blog about that later.

I just want to challenge myself, get faster and mentally stronger in order to attempt and achieve my goal. A goal I’d love to meet at either the Nebo Half or Revel Big Cottonwood Half in 2019. Something that seems rather doable for me.

But, 2018 will have to set that kind of success up for me. So, while I am scanning UltraSignUp, UtahRunning.com, Running in the USA, RaceEntry.com and other registration websites I’ve come up with tentative schedule for 2018.

Remember these are only races 13.1 miles or longer. I am sure I’ll have a few 10Ks and 5Ks planned throughout the year. Also, races in bold are ones that I am registered for already. And, there are a few in the later months that are planned on a projected date.

So, yeah, here’s my schedule …

1 — Revolution Run, January 1, 2018
2 — Sun Marathon, February 3, 2018
3 — Jackpot Running Festival, February 16-18, 2018
4 — Strider’s Winter Circuit Half Marathon, April 7, 2018
5 — Salt Lake City Half Marathon, April 21, 2018
6 — Provo City Half Marathon, May 5, 2018
7 — Vigor Big Cottonwood Half Marathon, May 12, 2018
8 — Drop 13 Big Cottonwood Half Marathon, June 9, 2018
9 — AF Canyon Race Against Cancer, June 23, 2018
10 — Canyon to Canyon Half Marathon, July 14, 2018
11 — Bountiful Handcart Days Half Marathon, July 24, 2018
12 — Elephant Rock Trail Half Marathon, August 11, 2018
13 — Mt. Nebo Half, August 25, 2018
14 — Revel Big Cottonwood Half Marathon, September 8, 2018
15 — Park City Trail Half Marathon, September 15, 2018
16 — Corner Canyon 25K; October 13, 2018
17 — The Haunted Half – Provo, October 28, 2018
18 — Mt. View Trail Half Marathon; November 10, 2018
19 — Thankful 13, November 22, 2018
20 — The Bakers Dozen Half Marathon, December 8, 2018

If you are planning on running any of these races or would love to suggest other races for me to do, please comment below! I love discovering new races!

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Running my Name: Joshua + Snow

We’re down to three months left of the year. And, here I am still tweaking with my race schedule. Is anything truly finalized with me? Sometimes I wonder.

But, as I work toward my 180th race and my 100 mile run, I’m looking to make 2018 a great year of running. And, part of that means spreading out my races to work into my time goals. That is one reason I’ve raced a lot this year. I don’t want to have to run a bunch of races in 2018 to get to my 180 while jeopardizing my speed training.

So that’s why I decided to add another race to my 2017 race schedule — the Joshua Tree Half Marathon in Joshua Tree, California.

Being named Joshua, I’ve always had a fascination with the Joshua Tree. Everything from the naming to the maturation of the tree — has a lot of symbolism that just speaks to me. I’d go into all of that — but, that’s really a post for another day. And, I’m pretty sure I’ve blogged about it before, but I’d have to find the post.

And, then there’s the whole correlation with U2’s album of the same name that I love.

The Joshua Tree Half Marathon is also the same day as the Snow Canyon Half Marathon — which I am also running. A group of my friends and I are planning on making a quick trip of it. We’re driving down to St. George on Friday after work, run that race the following morning then drive down to Joshua Tree from St. George, run that race and then drive back to St. George to stay the night before heading home on Sunday.

It should be a lot of fun.

After signing up for the race I realized that I will be running my name — Joshua Tree Half & Snow Canyon Half. What a fun coincidence.

Additionally, this will be my first Vacation Race. Of all my 162 races, I still haven’t done a Vacation Race. I’ve wanted to. Heck, I’ve signed up for the Zion Half Marathon twice but had to back out for a number of reasons.

So, I have to remedy that.

I am looking forward to the fun weekend. I am definitely jamming out to an exclusive U2 playlist during the run. Heck, I might have to record a special episode of The Runcast with just U2 music in preparation for this epic weekend?

Either way, the change made me make a slight change to my remaining races. I decided to drop the Riverton Half happening on March 24, 2018. I might still do the 5K or 10K during that weekend, but we’ll see? That means after my 100 mile run in February I won’t have a race until April 7th. And, that’s kinda by design.

I am planning on using that month/month and a half to recalibrate, heal and prepare myself to shift gears toward getting faster in my half marathon times. I feel good about the changes.

Anyways, here is the remaining schedule …

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It’s time to bet big … on myself

“I don’t like to gamble, but if there’s one thing I’m willing to bet on, it’s myself.”


When I started running, I had no idea where I was going. I started because I wanted to lose weight and I knew it would help me in that goal. But, beyond that, I had no idea where it was taking me?

Less than a year into my weight-loss journey my trainer, Kevin, challenged me to run a 5K in the midst of a plateau. He gave it to me as a challenge to work towards. So, I put in the work and ran my first 5K. It wasn’t pretty. It wasn’t fast. But, I did it.

But, then something happened. I looked at my results and said — “I can do better.” So, I set out to train for another 5K. One that I could run that would be faster and much, much prettier. And, I did.

So, I just kept running trying to improve. This lead not just in the desire to run faster, but longer. Soon, I had my eye on a 10K which naturally lead to a half marathon.

Training for my first half marathon — I thought THIS would be it. This is the crowning achievement of my running career. The thought of running any further — especially a marathon — was unfathomable. I wasn’t a REAL runner, so I couldn’t possibly do that.

Well, after I ran my first half marathon in July 2011, I ran another and another and another. I got faster and actually enjoyed running 13.1 miles — then I started entertaining the thought of doubling that mileage.

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And, before I knew it I was registered for a marathon. A FREAKING MARATHON! That race distance that only REAL runners run.

Once again, I thought this would be my crowning achievement in running. When I crossed the finish line I could cross off the accomplishment on my bucket list and go back running half marathons, 10Ks and 5Ks. But, then something happened — I signed up for more marathons. And, before I knew it, I had run a total of three marathons by the end of the year.

By this time I had a goal to reach 180 races by age 40. So, I kept training and running. Along the way, not only did I enjoy the accomplishment of racing, but I made countless friends and created many enduring friendships. Running was changing my life in nearly every faucet of my life.

But, it hasn’t always been a smooth ride. It’s been quite tough at times, actually. Whether it was dealing with my Mom’s breast cancer, the death of close family members or battling my own health issues — the common denominator has always been — running.

Running wasn’t a way to escape reality, but a time I could deal with reality. Running gave me time to process the challenges. It gave me moments of reflection, motivation and inspiration. It was leading me where I wanted to go.

Nearly three years ago I started having problems with my thyroid once again. The health issues took me through a roller coaster of emotions. It was frustration being as active as I was — and feeling fatigued and slower. Not only that but I was slowly gaining weight after a years of maintenance.

But, I didn’t let (or want) those issues to stop me. They couldn’t stop me. I had a goal at hand. Plus, I knew if I stopped I would signaling the white flag of defeat — which I could never do.

So, I just kept running.

I was much slower. And, it took a harder toll on my body, especially in regards to my stamina. But, I was now one of the last runners to finish, but I kept going.

Around this time I looked for ways to keep me motivated. I knew just running wasn’t enough. I had to do something new — something that scare and motivate me all in one.

And, since I knew I wasn’t getting faster, I started looking at longer distances — ultra races. I knew a number of ultra runners who spent their weekends in Utah’s backyard and it always appealed to me. But, running anything longer than a marathon didn’t.

That lack of appeal eventually subsided and I found myself registered and committed to running a 50K. So, despite everything going on with my health — I trained for the 50K around a schedule of marathons and long runs. It wasn’t easy, but I did what I needed to do to prepare myself for the race.

When race day came I was lucky enough to run with some great friends that helped me get through those 30-something miles on Antelope Island. The last half of the race was spent trying to meet cut-off times, dodging stubborn bison and battling the dark after my headlamp died.

But, I made it. And, I earned the title of ultra runner.

The accomplishment felt like crowning accomplishment of my running journey. After spending over 10 hours running 30 miles of dirt trails — I couldn’t think of any reason why any sane person would do anything longer.

Then I remembered — I wasn’t sane.

Within a few months I got talked into running a 50 miler. I wish I could say it took a lot of convincing, but it didn’t. It was the first time I formally met Blu Robinson and Jed Jensen from Addict II Athlete and they casually talked about the 50 miler like a novice runner would about a 5K.

And, like any long distance race I’ve run, I found myself registered and committed to running the Pony Express Trail 50 Miler. The biggest selling point was that each runner was required to be assisted throughout the race. Meaning, I had a car stalking me — stocked full of fuel, water and food throughout the whole race. This basically translated to me that I wouldn’t die.

My training for the 50 miler was no joke. It was tough. I did a number of 20 milers, including one on a treadmill in the middle of the night. Not to mention a number of marathons specifically laid out to help prepare me for my 50 miler.

Once race day came I just focused on putting one foot in front of the other. I relied on my training and just focused on the goal at hand — getting to the finish line.

There were a lot of ups and downs — physically, emotionally and even spiritually. But, after nearly 17 and a half hours — I got to the finish line. I reached my goal — I ran a 50 mile race. I did something I felt at times nearly impossible, even just days before the race.

But, I made it.

“If you think you can — you can!”

Ronald Reagan

I really fell in love with the longer distances — for a number of reasons. Not only did I love the physical challenge, but I really learned a lot about myself. I learned a lot about pain. Because that happens a lot during an ultra race.

I never cried as freely and openly as I did at mile 45 of my 50 miler. But, I learned how to process the pain I was feeling — and control it. Being able to manage and control pain is a remarkable feat and I believe a true test of one’s character. Ultra races were becoming great teachers to me.

Since that 50 miler, I have run a couple more ultra races. A couple weeks after that 50 miler I ran the Antelope Island 50K once again (cutting off nearly an hour on my time — mind you!), in February I ran 40 miles in 12 hours at the Jackpot Ultra Running Festival in Las Vegas and then there was my ill-fated Salt Flats 50K that I DNF’d last weekend. But, if I didn’t fall ill with the flu I would have tackled that beast!

My favorite ultra race so far has been the Jackpot Running Festival, I like the idea of a timed race on a looped course with the goal to see how many laps you can do within that time. Not only do you get an aid station every two miles or so, but you’re literally competing with no one else — but, yourself.

Jackpot has a number of timed races — a 6, 12, 24 and 48 hour race. They also had a 100 miler, marathon, half marathon, 10K and 5K, but most of the runners did one of the four timed courses. The winner of the 48 hour race managed over 210 miles.

Yeah, you read that right.

In fact there were nearly 30 runners who ran over 100 miles, including six runners who ran over 150 miles. Mind boggling numbers if you ask me.

I read all of these results as my legs were still recovering from my 40 mile run — and I couldn’t shake the feeling that “I could do this” from my conscience. Every time I dismissed the thought — it just came back stronger. Even when I reminded myself of the pain I experienced at mile 45 of my 50 miler — the feeling remained.

So, I did the only logical thing that came to mind — I signed up for the 48 hour race in 2018.


I signed up to run my first 100 mile race.

Typing this makes it feel very surreal to me, even a couple months after doing so. I am running a 100 miles. The thought makes me want to pee my pants out of sheer terror and excitement all in one emotion.

I’ve kept my registration relatively private since February. I’ve told a couple of close friends and family members. Heck, this is the first that my parents are hearing of this news. It’s just been a lot to process and this is a HUGE goal and milestone for me.

I still have my doubts about my ability. And, I am sure others do too. Heck, my parents definitely do, because their fear of my running is that one day my legs will fall off.

But, I have to at least try. I have too.

I have to try.

I have to try.

I have to try.

I’ve journied so far from my first 5K — heck, from the couch itself — that I can’t stop myself now without trying. To borrow a phrase from a favorite song of mine, “If you never try you’ll never know, just what you’re worth.” (Fix You, Coldplay).

When I stepped on the scale back in 2009 to start my weight-loss journey, I started the journey accepting failure — and success. I didn’t know where my decision that day would lead me. I accepted the consequences to my decision to LIVE my life. And, it’s lead me here.

I don’t see this decision any different. I am accepting the possibility of failure with the determination of success. I don’t know what lays ahead for me in the next nine months — but I’m going to find out. I’ve got a training plan in the works that I fill will give me the chance of success come February.

The motto for the Jackpot Ultra Running Festival is “BET BIG. RUN LONGER” — it’s something that’s on their shirts and medals. And, it’s something that I took to heart during my run this past February — especially since I signed up for the 48 hour race.

I feel like I am betting big with this goal. I am betting big on myself. Because, this is a gamble. There’s no guarantee of success, but there’s also no guarantee of failure either. So, I’ve got to place my bet.

But, unlike casino gambling, I can control more variables to my advantage. I can control my effort. I can control my training. I can control my preparations — both physically and mentally. And, I can control the odds come race day. But, with a goal like this, it’s going to take much more than this — in essence, I am not just betting big on myself — I’m going all in.

So, all in it is!

As a reminder of this goal and the needed commitment and dedication I’ve been running with a poker chip on me since I registered for the race. Every run — training and race — I run with it on me. I’ve tucked it in my pocket, but I really should make a necklace out of it to keep it on me better.

But, it’s just this little $100 souvenir poker chip that reminds me of not just the 100 mile goal at hand, but the bet I’ve placed upon myself. I might be a cheesy little emblem, but in the three months that I’ve been running with it — it’s been my reminder to keep going, keep pushing and keep putting one foot in front of the other.

I don’t dare say that this will be my one and only 100 miler. I’ve learned from my past that’s just a temporary lie I tell myself on occasion. But, I don’t know? And, I’m not worried about. My focus is simply on the journey in front of me.

This is a journey of a thousand miles. I know it will get daunting at times and there will be doubts. There will always be doubts. But, I know if I just focus on that footstep in front of me, it will take closer to my goal and a place I once dreamt possible.

It’s just up to me to take that next step.

“You can, you should, and if you’re brave enough to start, you will.”

Stephen King

40 before 40: The ‘Push Up The Hill’ List

If you haven’t heard — it was my birthday on Monday. I’m officially 35. Half way through my thirties. I’m not one of those people that has a crisis every birthday after 30. I thought I would when I turned 30, but it just never came.

My 30s really aren’t that bad. Now let’s forget the fact I still live in my parents basement for a moment and focus on the fact that during my 30s I’ve really found myself, found a sport and community that I love and attained the Pokemon Master rank on Pokemon Go am working in a direction I want to take in regards to a career.

So, yeah, the 30s have been pretty good to me so far.

But, I know it could be better (TWSS).

My friend Amy just completed a 30 before 30 bucket list she made a couple years ago (that’s like a round about way saying she just turned 30). And, it’s been fun watching her progress over the past year or so — so much so that it inspired me to make a list of 40 things I want to do before I turn 40.

Let’s call it — the “Push Up The Hill” List. That’s catchy, right?

Now, one of my 40 items is kind of a gimme — it’s my 180 race goal. When I made the goal back in 2011 (or maybe 2012? — I’m getting old so it’s hard to remember) it was a goal I wanted to hit before I turned 40 years old. Some might say that’s cheating, but — well — this is my list and I make the rules. So yeah.

Anyways — I am doing this for a number of reasons. One, I want to. Two, I want to push myself out of my comfort zone. And, three — I want to do somethings I’ve never done before and see things I’ve never seen before. You know — be a bit adventurous..

There’s really no rhyme or reason to this list — some are running related, some are travel related, others are family related. While there are also religious and social related items as well. The goal is really to just push myself and have some fun in the process.

Well, I guess there is only one rule — and that these goals have to be something that I am in control of — so basically no “get married” goal, because that’s kinda out of my control. Those it’s definitely one of my top priorities and goals.

So without any further adieu — here’s my 40 before 40 list ….

  1. Run 180 road/trail races over 13.1 miles.
  2. Write my immediate family’s history.
  3. Create a family cooking book and publish it.
  4. Write a book and have it published.
  5. Take piano or vocal lessons.
  6. Take a painting class and PROUDLY frame and display my finished work at home.
  7. Attend 40 different LDS Temples.
  8. Attend all 17 Utah LDS Temples within one week.
  9. Learn 40 phrases in Greek.
  10. Visit my family in Greece.
  11. Go on a solo out-of-state vacation.
  12. Visit the Mighty 5 National Parks of Utah — Arches, Bryce Canyon, Canyonlands, Capital Reef & Zion.
  13. Watch the top 40 films of the American Film Institute’s 100 Greatest Movies of All-Time.
  14. Attend a NHL game.
  15. Read all four of the standard works — Old Testament, New Testament, Book of Mormon and Doctrine & Covenants.
  16. Memorize 40 scriptures from any of the standard works.
  17. Visit Lake Powell — yup, never have done this.
  18. Visit the Grand Canyon — again, never have done this.
  19. Attend the Sundance Film Festival — again, in my backyard, yet, never have done it.
  20. Go skiing or snowboarding — again, never have gone. I’m a horrible Utahn.
  21. Go deep sea fishing.
  22. Run across the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.
  23. Run a 50 mile ultra marathon.
  24. Run a triathlon — this is big because I hate bikes.
  25. Run the Boston Marathon.
  26. Boil a live lobster … and eat it.
  27. Bake bread from scratch.
  28. Make and prepare pasta from scratch.
  29. Make a pie — crust and all — from scratch.
  30. Lay on all four corners — Utah, Arizona, Colorado and New Mexico.
  31. Climb Mt. Timpanogos.
  32. Climb Mt. Olympus.
  33. Climb Ben Lomond.
  34. Legally marry a couple.
  35. Legally change my name to Joshua Oscar Snow Hansen.
  36. Visit all bordering states of Utah in one day — Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming and Idaho.
  37. Visit Alcatraz in the San Francisco Bay.
  38. Visit Yosemite National Park in California.
  39. Give 960 hours of service — which equals 40 days.
  40. Perform 40 random acts of kindness.

So there you have it. My 40 things to do before 40. As I mentioned above — some are easier than others. Some might be slightly out of my control, but for the most part — they are things I have to do myself. Which is good right?

The goal is to get out of my comfort zone, broaden my horizons and see the world. Gosh, even the world around me here in Utah. I couldn’t believe how many list items were for things most people do every year here in Utah — skiing, Lake Powell, hike mountains or get married.

Some of these items will have to make me travel some — which again — is good! The biggest places being Greece and another trip to the Bay Area. Two of my favorite places. Well, okay, I’ve never been to Greece. But, I’ll tell you now — it’s one of my favorite places. Being Greek and having family still there — I gotta go! My heart is there.

A lot of these items can be knocked out on these trips as well — deep sea fishing, visiting LDS Temples, national parks, giving service, etc., etc., etc. There will be a lot of traveling, not just abroad or out of state, but here in Utah as well. I run enough races all around the state there’s no reason I can’t plan running trips around national park and temple visits. That’d be fun.

And, then there’s visiting all of the temples in Utah within a week. That one will have to wait until probably next year because I want to wait until the Cedar City Temple is complete. I can’t miss out on the Cedar City Temple — especially with how much that place means to me. But, as soon as it’s dedicated I am drawing agendas for the week long trip.

So here’s to the next five years and whatever make come from this list — it should be a fun adventure, eh?

There are two roads to Boston

I love running. It has given me a lot in the past six years or so since I’ve started deliberately doing it. Before then the only time you would see me run was — because I was being chased by a bear, going shopping on Black Friday or because the ice cream man decided to take a left turn into my neighborhood.

Running has been a life saver, a blessing and very much a savior — ever since I laced up my inadequate running shoes and decided to go for a run. I owe so much to who I am now — both on and off the road — because of what running has taught me.

I could make a list — dealing with my mother’s breast cancer fight, overcoming addiction, helping me process the passing of dear family members, gaining confidence in myself and my abilities and over course aiding me in my weight-loss and overall health.

The list is nearly endless.

I really started running to get healthy and to lose weight — I never would have imagined that it would help me through many tough situations. When I learned of my Mom’s breast cancer diagnosis — I ran. When my aunt passed away — I ran. My Grandma’s passing — I ran.

I wasn’t running away from the situation. I was running to clear my mind. I was running to process what was ahead of me. I was running to feel the emotions of my heart.

Before running similar news would have probably been met with destructive behavior. Behavior that was meant to numb. Addictions are great at numbing and blinding emotions — but, that’s a post for another day.

I’ve experienced a lot during my running journey the past six years — I’ve ran numerous 5Ks, a few 10Ks, 100+ half marathons, four relay races, a few 25K + races, seven marathons and a 50K. That’s a lot of running. Roughly 1700+ miles of just racing — that’s not including the training miles.

Like I said, that’s a lot of running. And, I don’t regret a minute — or mile — of it.

I’ve learned over the years — that running isn’t really just about the miles. It isn’t even about the pace or time. It’s about breaking personal walls of doubt. It’s about the friendships and community you create. It’s all about the journey.

My friendships, overcome obstacles and accomplishments have meant so much more than any PR or time. Sure, I shoot for them — but, if that’s my sole focus — I am missing everything else running has to offer. I can’t allow myself to gain that kind of tunnel vision, because for me that would defeat the whole purpose of why I run.

But, just because my speed and pace isn’t my main focus doesn’t mean I don’t value it — in myself or in others. I would be foolish to not. In fact, I get just as much a thrill watching the winners as those who are pushing up the rear. That is one reason why I love the Boston Marathon so much.

It takes mad dedication to qualify — sure to some elites those qualifications might be rather “easy.” But, to the average runner — it’s a standard that takes extraordinary dedication, hard work, faith in the process and patience. Lots of patience.

I have watched many friends triumph, struggle and even fail at qualifying for Boston. For someone who, more than likely, will never qualify for Boston — it’s an interesting drama to watch unfold. Both as a fellow runner and human being.

I often feel like an insider liking from the outside — if that makes sense. I understand the struggle of setting running goals and pursuing them — just not on the level that it takes to qualify for Boston. Especially when it comes to the physical requirements to qualify. And, I admire EVERYONE that undertakes that goal and strives for it.

Ever since I started running — I’ve had others ask me if my goal is to qualify for Boston. Honestly, I haven’t given it much thought, because I came to the realization rather early in my running journey that I — more than likely — would never qualify for Boston. Unless, I was 85 years old, blind or missing a limb.

And, I’m fine with that.

Well, until this past Boston Marathon.

I’ve known about charity runners at Boston ever since I started running. While, I think it’s admirable to be a charity runner (I’ve been one before locally) — I’ve felt about pursuing to be one at Boston is a no no. Why? Well, because it’s Boston. The Boston Marathon isn’t for runners like me — I’m too slow and not a “real” runner like the thousands who actually qualified.

And, I know I am not the only one who believes this. Many in the running community feel like charity runners cheapen a race. So, if you didn’t qualify for Boston — all you have to do is just write a check to a charity and you’re in.

There’s also the belief that a charity runner will take the spot of qualified runner. Which, I learned, at least in relation to the Boston Marathon, they don’t. There are the same amount of qualifiers and charity runners each year — and that won’t change.

Anyways, as I am watching the marathon during my lunch break, I am having this internal debate with myself about Boston. Do I try to get in as a charity runner? Why would I do that? What would others think? What kind of charity would I run for? I wouldn’t want to run for a charity that I don’t believe in or feel passionate about?! Am I even worthy to run Boston?

All these questions — these pros and cons — swirled through my head.

And, then it just kind of dawned on me with the thought, “Josh, there are two roads to Boston — and you’ve got to qualify for either road with a lot of the same principles of dedication, hard work, perseverance and ingenuity”


There are two roads to Boston.

This thought erased any doubt I had about whether or not I should run Boston — let alone publicly announce it. I was going to run Boston. I am going to run Boston.

So, I started looking at the Boston Marathon charities to see what would fit with me. I hate saying some charities looked — meh (because all charities do good) — except there were some that just didn’t excite me.

And, then I found it.

The Martin Richard Foundation.

It’s a foundation started by the parents of Martin Richard, one of the victims of the Boston Marathon bombings. You might remember Martin’s message of “No More Hurting People, Peace” — that went viral after the tragedy. The foundation works to spread that message by investing in education, athletics and community.

I knew in my heart — right then — that this was the foundation I wanted to be a part of and raise money towards my goal of running the Boston Marathon.

How did I know?

Well, after the bombings — not only was I inspired by young Martin’s message — but, I was compelled to action. The Salt Lake City Marathon was happening that weekend and was the first major marathon after Boston — so I decided to have a special shirt made for the race.

That shirt …


The message of young Martin is so simple, yet profound. And, I clung onto that during the aftermath of the bombing and throughout my race. I won’t get into details about the day (here’s my race recap), but it was an emotional day. The weight of Boston was on our minds while the weather was rather nasty — rainy and cold.

I knew I had to do this. I had to run for the Martin Richard Foundation.

So, I eagerly shot off an email to the foundation to ask about applications for the 2017 marathon. And, surprisingly, I got a response back within a day. They simply told me they weren’t accepting application for Boston until around September or October — not until they were done filling the teams for the Chicago and New York Marathons.

That was a minor setback to my eagerness — but, I didn’t let that ruin the enthusiasm. I ended up buying myself a shirt and decal for my computer from the foundation — to keep me track of my new goal.

To run the Boston Marathon.

Now, I haven’t planned much more ahead of that. I would love to do this in 2017, but 2018 or 2019 are options — I guess? Not sure. Earlier the better, right? I even thought how cool it would be to have Boston be my 180th race?

Either way — Boston is on my mind. I’m going to run it. I am taking one of the two roads that take a runner there and I couldn’t be more excited. Because, Boston is a celebration of running — and I am a runner.

And, I too, I belong in Boston.


A photo posted by Runcast USA™ (@runcastusa) on