As most runners are aware, there’s a 50-state marathon club out there made up of folks who try to do a marathon in each state. This past weekend, several of these club members made the trek to Maryland to run the George Washington’s Birthday marathon. There was only one problem–with the 50-plus inches of snow that had fallen in the area in the week leading up to the event, the race directors had to cancel.
This would have been a crushing blow to the 50-staters who came to Maryland if it had not been for a fantastic group of runners who wanted to ensure they had a race to run. Within my running club, the Howard County Striders, is an incredibly supportive group of runners dubbed “Bogan’s Heroes,” for one of the members’ last names. These guys rallied to the cause of the 50-staters and, with only a day or two to plan, threw together an impromptu marathon.
After driving around town for about two hours to find the most runnable neighborhoods, the Heroes selected a 5.25-mile course for staging the event. They put together aid stations with all the trimmings, set up a clock and signs for the runners, and several of them even ran the 5-loop course in a show of encouragement to the 50-staters. In all, 18 people ran the course, some from as far away as Georgia and Illinois.
The Bogan’s Heroes represent the spirit of running at its best. When I heard about the group’s feat, I was amazed, but not surprised. Each Saturday, our running club puts together an organized run for what can be over a hundred runners. The run courses offer three different water stops. It’s my job to ensure we have volunteers to put the water out each week. Sometimes, this can be one painful task because finding volunteers isn’t always easy. But every year, the Bogan’s Heroes step up to the plate and block out a series of weeks–this year four months long–to place the water out. These guys and girls are the best.