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Local man finding success in quest to run 13 marathons

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By Andrew Harner

In most circumstances, it’s much easier to run 338 miles over a calendar year as opposed to 2,012.

Just don’t tell that to Rick Myers.

The Vandalia resident achieved his goal of running 2,012 miles during 2012 with four days to spare, but when he started to talk to people about his goal for 2013, the distance became much shorter, but the task became a lot more challenging.

Talking at church with Pastor Dan Rush and his friend Matt Roberts, an idea was floated, and Myers said he was just crazy enough to give it a try.

“Dan used to run cross country when he was younger, so he came up the idea of  running 13 races in 2013,” Myers said. “He said races – but I heard him say marathons, even though he didn’t say it.

“I don’t usually run the smaller races, so it just evolved from that brainstorming session to me saying I am going to do it.”

And now eight races into his goal – which includes races in 13 states to help his career goal of running a marathon in every state – Myers is still going strong.

He has completed 26.2-mile runs in Louisiana, Texas, Georgia, Tennessee, Illinois, New York, California and Montana so far this year, and will also travel to races in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan and Missouri before completing his journey in Hawaii on Dec. 8.

Despite all of the miles logged – both running and traveling – Myers said he has yet to experience any regrets.

“I might be right now, with 10 more hours to drive back to my Mom’s house, but it’s been great,” Myers said on July 15 as he traveled home from a marathon in Missoula, Mont. “I don’t think I have seriously second-guessed myself once.”

The journey began on Jan. 20, when he and Roberts traveled to Baton Rogue for the Louisiana Marathon, and his next two marathons were in Cowtown, Texas, on Feb. 24, and Atlanta, Ga., on March 17.

In April, he elected to run two marathons to ensure that if he wasn’t able to finish the journey, he would know it early instead of late.

Both of those runs – the Knoxville (Tenn.) Marathon on April 7 and  the Illinois Marathon in Champaign on April 27 – finished on the 50-yard line of a college football stadium – those finishes being personal highlights, Myers said.

In May, his family was able to see Niagara Falls, while he was at the Buffalo Marathon on the 26th, and his June marathon took him across the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco on the 16th.

“The most interesting, in general, was San Francisco, because we got to run across the Golden Gate Bridge, and that town is unique to run through,” Myers said. “Personally, the most interesting was Baton Rouge, because I lived there for a year and recognized some of the places.”

In Montana, he ran his personal-best time of 4 hours, 15 minutes – thanks in part to low humidity levels – and he said his average time is between 4:30-4:40, which tends to put him in the middle of the overall pack and the middle of his age group.

Additionally, the finish to the marathon was also one of the most memorable he will probably have all year.

“I finished this race with my son Andrew, who ran the last 300 yards with me, and that was pretty cool,” Myers said. “Hopefully, that will grow on him to where he becomes active in the future.”

Andrew – a fourth-grader – is the youngest of his four kids. The others are: Holly Goldsmith, a 2011 graduate of Vandalia Community High School; Heidi Goldsmith, a 2013 VCHS grad; and Audrey Myers, an eighth-grader.

Myers has been married to his wife, Dana, for 14 years, and works as a civil litigator for The Law Group in Vandalia.

A member of the 50 States Marathon Club – which includes about 3,200 athletes – Myers will still have 32 more states after this year, and though he is 45 years old, there is still plenty of time to finish off his career goal.

That’s because, Myers said, it’s not just the training aspect that allows a person to complete a run.

“It just takes determination,” he said. “I’m not a professional, and finish about in the middle of the pack, but you see 90-year-olds doing it, or 250-pound people doing it, or people with obvious physical disabilities doing it.”

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Rick Myers has completed more than half of his goal of running 13 marathons in 2013. Below is his race schedule.

•Jan. 20 – Louisiana Marathon, Baton Rouge, La.
•Feb. 24 – Cowtown Marathon, Fort Worth, Texas.
•March 17 – Georgia Marathon, Atlanta, Ga.
•April 7 – Knoxville Marathon, Knoxville, Tenn.
•April 27 – Illinois Marathon, Champaign, Ill.
•May 26 – Buffalo Marathon, Buffalo, N.Y.
•June 16 – San Francisco Marathon, San Francisco, Calif.
•July 14 – Missoula Marathon, Missoula, Mont.
•Aug. 18 – Drake Well Marathon, Titusville, Pa.
•Sept. 21 – Air Force Marathon, Dayton, Ohio.
•Oct. 20 – Detroit Marathon, Detroit, Mich.
•Nov. 2 – Bass Pro Marathon, Springfield, Mo.
•Dec. 8 – Honolulu Marathon, Honolulu, Haw.