“Are you crazy?”
“Who runs 50 marathons in 50 states in 50 weeks?”
“I do. It isn’t crazy. I’m on a mission.”
Those that follow me know that I help executive coaching clients think bigger, reach higher, and do what others consider “impossible.”
What is your audacious goal for 2021?
Those of us who do what others think impossible often encounter skeptics. They can’t imagine running at all, much less running 13.1, 26.2 or 100 miles. They can’t imagine disrupting their comfortable lives or purposely enduring pain. Maybe that is why they will never do what we do. Runners know that sacrifice is critical to pushing ourselves farther than even we thought possible.
That’s why runners set audacious goals.
Aaron Burros’s goal might be one of the most audacious. To celebrate his 50th birthday, he is running 50 marathons in 50 states in 50 weeks.
Click Here to Support Aaron by purchasing his logo sweatshirts or t-shirts.
Why Be So Audacious?
Aaron has four compelling reasons to tackle this audacious goal.
- He is running to get back to what he was prior to being shot. In a previous article, I detailed how Aaron was on the verge of turning professional in the trail running world when he was shot 5 times trying to save the lives of his coworkers. Any competitive athlete who has suffered an injury or an illness wants to return to the previous level if possible. That is Aaron’s quest.
- He runs to fight off PTSD, build his mental health, and be healthy. He has found running to be the best treatment. Runners know running marathons is a mental game. He is determined to win this battle. That is Aaron’s task.
- He’s the Running Servant. This isn’t for ego but to live out his heavenly mission. As a man of faith, he believes he is running to help others as God would have him. His goal is to help others make the changes they want and need to make. That’s Aaron’s mission, serving God by helping others. That’s why he is #RunningServant.
- Aaron’s purpose this year is to fund St. Jude’s Hospital and one little boy. Aiden, a little boy afflicted with several childhood diseases, caught his attention at the Chicago marathon. He immediately prayed for him as he heard God telling him to help. He had done that before, but the image of Aiden persisted in his mind and spirit. He is running in 2021 to raise funds on behalf of Aiden. Check it out. #IrunforAiden.
Examine the Challenge
For those of us unaccustomed to the rigor necessary to tackle running 50 marathons in 50 states in 50 weeks, let’s take let’s look a little deeper to see what his schedule involves.
He starts running January 16th in Georgia with the Daufuski Island Marathon and ends with the Houston 50th Anniversary Chevron Marathon and the Aramco Half. His early schedule takes him through the southern states of South Carolina, Alabama, and Mississippi in consecutive weeks. Then he goes west but stays in the warmer weather with Arizona and California, before returning closer to home in Arkansas and Louisiana. Then it’s west again with Nevada and New Mexico after a side trip to Delaware. Each of those marathons require a flight, hotels, and a return flight. That gives him a couple days at home before doing it all over again. Of course, there is also continual training and attending to personal issues.
I have run a marathon and know what it takes to prepare and then recover. I even challenged myself and ran 8 half-marathons in 9 weeks during the fall of 2020. But I can’t imagine the physical, mental, and emotional demands to accomplish this schedule. Then consider the stress of not knowing whether the races will be canceled. Also consider the stress of extra COVID-19 precautions.
But then consider his physical and emotional issues. He still carries two bullets in his body. One in the glute muscle (the powerhouse engine for running) and the other in the fleshy tissue. Mix in his PTSD and you find a man that has formidable challenges before ever lacing up his running shoes.
Where Does Aaron Get His Strength?
Aaron is a dreamer, thinker, and planner, all necessary traits for those willing to do what others never consider possible. He wisely considers that some races will be cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He wisely constructed a backup plan.
He has one condition for running the 50-50-50. He refuses to run a virtual marathon. Every race must be held in person. To compensate for those that cancel, he is scheduling additional marathons. Given he already has one marathon scheduled per week, that will ensure he runs more than 50 marathons in a year, multiple marathons in some weeks, and even a few in successive days.
Examine his schedule closely and you will see two particularly challenging sections. On May 1, he runs the Pittsburgh Marathon before quickly hitting the road to run the Frederick Running Festival half in Frederick, Maryland the very next day, May 2. But that’s not enough. Immediately after finishing the half, he quickly travels to Washington, D.C. to compete in the Potomac River Run marathon. Since one falls on Saturday and the others on Sunday, they count for different weeks. Never-the-less, that’s demanding.
The second, the New England Challenge in early May, may be the worst. Beginning on Monday, May 17, he runs the Pine Tree Challenge in Portland, Maine. The next day, he runs the Granite State Marathon in nearby Nashua, New Hampshire. That’s less than two hours drive but marathons on consecutive days are brutal. Like the commercials tell us, “But wait, there’s more.” He gets a day off before another short drive to run the Old Colony Marathon in Westfield, Massachusetts on the 20th, the Old Nutmeg Marathon the 21st in Hartford, Connecticut, before finally finishing this brutal stretch with the Red Island Marathon in Warwick, Rhode Island on the 22nd. That’s five marathons in six days, resulting in running 131 miles in six days.
Crazy? Most of us would think so.
Because that is all in one week, he will only count one of those runs toward his 50-50-50 challenge. As you can tell, he is a man of integrity, unwilling to take shortcuts. Wouldn’t most of us count them?
Mix into that schedule two races from 2020, the Tokyo and Boston Marathons. Both will be run in the fall of 2021. He isn’t counting them towards the 50 because they were part of his previous challenge to run the six world marathons. He ran New York, Chicago, Berlin, and London before the other two were cancelled. The cherry on top of this marathon sundae is being invited back to run the London Marathon 2021. He will participate as part of the “back of the pack guest” from the mishaps of its 2019 marathon — and yes, Aaron is raising funds again but for the Organization for Autism Research (OAR).
Aaron already has the next challenge in mind. He will return to his passion of trail running and complete in 50 trail runs of 50 miles in 50 weeks. For good measure, he will run a 100 miler, just like he did before the shooting.
Is he crazy?
No,remember, he is on a mission.
We can do more than what most believe is possible when we learn to think bigger, reach higher, and work to exceed expectations. You can do more in 2021 than you have thought possible in 2020 or 2019.
Notice that by just reading about Aaron, you realize there is more to life that you can do. Get up and get active. Challenge yourself to do more than you have. Push yourself to make a plan, put it in place, and then, like Nike says, ‘Just Do It. When you feel like quitting, remember what Walt Disney said, “It’s a lot of fun to do the impossible.”
To make your 2021 goals audacious, answer these three questions.
- What is your goal for 2021?
- If you could remove any limitations, what would you really want in 2021?
- Are you willing to sacrifice to make that audacious goal a reality?
Your success is your choice. We can do far more than what we usually think is possible.
DO THE IMPOSSIBLE IN 2021
Loren Murfield, Ph.D. is the author of 21 books, 3 plays, and a movie short. Contact me today to learn how I can help you seize your breakthrough opportunity in 2021.