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We're All in This Together

We're All in This Together

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We're All in This Together

169 pagine
2 ore
Mar 18, 2014


You've seen them. The people with funny-looking clothes, a number pinned to their chest, and they're running. Running to where? Usually in a big circle, or in many smaller circles. Sometimes in a straight line back and forth. For hours on end. Why? Because they can. They're marathon runners.

This book is about a special group of runners: endurance marathoners, those who run dozens of marathons, many events in consecutive days. Or both.

We're all in this Together introduces you to a specific group of these runners who embarked on a journey to America's Dust Bowl to run 5 marathons in 5 states in just 5 days. They began as individual runners and left as family. Along the way, they found courage, inspiration, triumph, and friendships that will last a lifetime.

Mar 18, 2014

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We're All in This Together - George Rose

We're All in This Together

Copyright 2014 George Rose

Published by George Rose at Smashwords

This book is available in print at most online retailers.

Smashwords Edition, License Notes

This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your enjoyment only, then please return to or your favorite retailer and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

Table of Contents



Chapter 1: Getting There

Chapter 2: Mainly Marathons

Chapter 3: Dalhart, TX

Chapter 4: Volunteers

Chapter 5: Guymon, OK

Chapter 6: Seeing the Sights

Chapter 7: Ulysses, KS

Chapter 8: More Than 5

Chapter 9: Lamar, CO

Chapter 10: Running For a Cause

Chapter 11: Clayton, NM

Chapter 12: Accomplishments, Stories, and Inspirations

Chapter 13: Virgil

Chapter 14: Post Dust Bowl

Complete List of Full Marathon Runners

Complete List of Half-Marathon Runners



Very few books have gone from concept to print without the help of many people, and this one is no exception. Hundreds inspired this book, dozens volunteered their stories, and many other sources contributed to the final outcome. This project could never have gotten off the ground without their inspiration, generosity, and guidance.

First, I would like to thank Clint Burleson, president of Mainly Marathons and the man who took this running caravan from dream to reality. Without him, none of us would have gotten to experience this adventure. He was very generous and patient in answering my questions, and was very supportive of this book.

Secondly, I need to thank all of the writers who covered the Dust Bowl Series and the participants. They did a superb job in letting the general public know there was a band of crazy people approaching their towns, and reporting on the aftermath. I borrowed facts and information from their stories, and I greatly appreciate their hard work. In particular, I want to thank Russell Anglin, Amarillo Globe-News; Jon Mark Beilue, Amarillo Globe-News; Katelyn DeVarenes, Amarillo Globe-News; Trudy Hart, Guymon Daily Herald; and Julia Savacool, espnW.

If not for the world wide web, there would be far fewer books these days. I mined the internet on a daily basis, and would like to thank the following websites, whose hard work in compiling information and housing it in one place is invaluable:;;; and

Several runners are also bloggers, and I appreciate the information they shared via their blogs. Thanks to Patrick Weldon,; Erika Howder,; David Lund,; and Cathy Duesterhoeft,

Without the runners, Clint would have been very a lonely man, standing out in the middle of nowhere waiting for people to run by. Similarly, I would have been lost without the stories they shared with me about their experiences. Countless emails and Facebook messages flowed back and forth between us, and I appreciate their kindness and patience more than I can hope to convey. I want to send a special thank-you to a couple of runners who went above and beyond, in my opinion, to contribute to this project. Stephanie Oellermann and Bethany Jessup, I sincerely thank you both.

Last but certainly not least, I need to thank my wife Kate. Without her love, dedication, support, and endless hours she put up with me during the writing process, I would accomplish nothing. Thank you!


Why do we run? The simplest answer is because we can. As soon as we took our first wobbly steps as infants, we wanted to get to more places. After we learned to balance a bit, and stay on our feet for more than 30 seconds, our instincts were to get to more places faster. We learned we could do this by running. Soon, our parents were chasing most of us around the house and down the street. There is a scientific theory called the Endurance Running Hypothesis, the basic principle of which is that early humans adapted the ability to run long distances from necessity, to gather food and later hunt. Before sharp weapons were developed, our ancestors would chase their prey until the animals became exhausted, and could no longer run away. This made them much easier to kill by clubbing, without the risk of the animals attacking the hunters; the creatures were simply too tired to go any further.

Why did humans not get exhausted as well? From studying the earliest human skeletons, scientists have found there was an evolution over thousands of years that made our bodies able to absorb the impact of running long distances, and the stamina to do so. Although our parents aren't chasing us anymore, and we don't have to outrun our dinner, we all have the ability to do so. No matter how sedentary your life has become, you can still run. You were born to do so.

Almost everyone knows the story of how the modern marathon was born, but if you are not up on your Greek history, here is the CliffsNotes version: In 493 BC, the great Persian Army invaded Greece via the Aegean Sea near the town of Marathonas. Despite great odds, a small army of Greek soldiers defeated the massive Persian army. The Greeks then sent a messenger named Philippides to the city of Athens (26.2 miles from Marathonas) to deliver the news of victory. Upon arriving in Athens, Philippides said, Rejoice, we conquer, then fell over dead. (Historians have now deemed this story to be mostly myth, but it is still a great tale.) Fast forward about 2,400 years to 1896 and the first modern Olympics, where the first event was the Marathon, a new 26.2-mile race designed to honor Philippides. Over the next 100-plus years, this new event would resonate with millions of people worldwide, who would embrace the challenge of running a marathon. Some did it for fame and glory; most ran just to prove they could.

Although many marathon events have been around for 100 years or more (the Boston Marathon was started in 1897, a year after that first Olympics), they were once thought of only for well-conditioned male athletes. That started changing in the 1960's, with the first women competitors at Boston. As Americans became more health conscious through the ‘70s, ‘80s, and ‘90s, many took up the sport of running to get into or stay in shape, leading to an influx of runners and a boom in the number of marathons available to them. Now there are hundreds of thousands of runners in the US, and hundreds of marathons to accommodate them. A runner can find a marathon to compete in every weekend of the year, and usually without travelling a great distance.

Since the time of Philippides, humans have been pushing themselves as far as their bodies would allow, and beyond. Once you run one marathon, how many more can you run in your lifetime? Two? Ten? A hundred? A thousand? How many can you run in a year? A month? A week? Can you run a marathon in every state? Every country? Every continent? For some, the 26.2-mile distance isn't enough of a challenge. They want to know just how far they can push themselves. How far can you go in a day? 50 miles? 100? 300 or more? For the last 20 years, people have been asking themselves these questions in steadily increasing numbers. Many such athletes thought they were the only ones who ran marathons in back to back-to-back weekends, or even back-to-back days, but soon began seeing the same runners at different races over and over. They realized they were not alone in their craziness. Local running clubs started forming, race-calendar websites started popping up, and the movement was on for this select group of runners who just wanted to keep on running, as much and as far as they could.     

In May 2003, Steve Yee, Chris Warren, and Tony Phillippi took this new concept to a whole new level. They were avid runners, so much so that their friends started calling them maniacs. The name struck a chord with other runners, and it stuck with them. Knowing they might be on to something (and not on something, as their friends and families may have believed), the three formed Marathon Maniacs, an online community of extreme runners. Steve, Chris, and Tony were the first three members, sealing the deal on May 25, 2003. Their group started growing little by little, and they welcomed their 500th member on 3/16/2007. From there, the community’s membership exploded: Maniac #1000 joined on 6/11/08, #2500 on 5/9/10, #5000 on 2/4/12, #8000 on 11/11/13, and the site is on track to have more than 10,000 members by the end of 2014. There are different criteria to join Marathon Maniacs, but in essence, you have to run marathons, and a lot of them. Marathoners are rated by the number and frequency of marathons run on a tier system: the lowest is bronze, for which the bare minimum to join is two marathons completed in 16 days, or three in 90 days; the highest level is Titanium, a plateau for which the base requirement is 52 marathons in 365 days. Most members strive to make it to Titanium.

Now you have a word to describe these type of marathoners, besides crazy. There are also subsets to this group, such as people who are trying to run a marathon in each of the 50 states, or on every continent, or in every time zone, and so forth. This book will introduce you to a smaller subgroup of these maniacs, runners I like to call endurance marathoners. These are people who run multiple races on consecutive days, usually in a different state each day. In March 2013, a relatively small group of such runners converged in the dust bowl region of America. Mainly Marathons, a startup running promotions company based out of New Mexico, was hosting a brand-new event that was the first of its kind anywhere. Runners were attempting to complete five marathons or half-marathons in five states, in just five days. Such an undertaking had never been attempted before, and it promised to be a ground-breaking adventure.

Races were organized in the five states that suffered the most in the dust bowl: Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado, and New Mexico, from March 18-22. Each race would consist of both a full marathon and a half-marathon (a distance of 13.1 miles). From this point forward, I’ll to use the words marathon and marathoners to include both the full and half races and runners, unless it is necessary to differentiate. (For example, if I say the marathon in Texas, I mean both the full and half-length runs; when I say marathoners, I'm including everyone who ran, regardless of distance. With this fantastic group of runners, everyone was treated equally.)

Over the five days of the Dust Bowl Series, 162 unique runners laced up their shoes for at least one of the races. All together they ran a total of 307 full and 153 half marathons for a grand total of 10,047.7 miles. You will meet many of them in these pages, with stories as varied as the runners themselves. People came from all over the globe: Great Britain, Japan, Canada, and 38 states were represented. By the end of one magical week, were all one big, happy family. Our journeys were filled with laughter and tears, aches and pains, and triumphs that will raise your spirits. No one got there alone, and you will meet their support staff and learn what motivates them to run. It takes a lot of planning and organizing to pull off an event as monumental as this, and you will meet the mad professor (yes, he really is a professor) behind this production. Of course, he couldn't, and wouldn't want to, do it on his own; many outstanding volunteers, family members, and runners pulled together to make this experience as wonderful as it could be.

This book is not any sort of how-to guide for running. There are several hundred great resources out there to learn how to get yourself into running shape and enjoy it. But if you are already a runner, or would like to run, I hope you will find the stories of this special group of people inspiring, uplifting, and motivational. If, after reading this book, you kick yourself for missing this amazing experience, don't fret! Mainly Marathons is putting on more of these series, all over the country. Please visit to see when they are coming to your neck of the woods. Trust me, you don't want to miss out on this fantastic adventure!

Happy running to you,

George Rose

Getting There

A very wise person once said, Getting there is half the battle. I don't know if more true words have been spoken. It takes preparation, hard work, and discipline to get to the starting line of in life. Whether it is starting a new job, attending the first day of college, or running a marathon, getting there is indeed half the battle. Of course, the amount of time and effort you put into your objective will dictate your degree of success, but lacing up your sneakers for the first time is always the hardest part.

For the participants of the inaugural Dust Bowl series, the road to the first marathon didn't start in the host city of Dalhart, TX; it was in England, or California, or Florida, or various other places around the world. Runners flew or drove in from three different continents and 38 states to embark on something crazy, something

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