Marathon Junkie in Aspen Valley Marathon
The Aspen Times
The runner nicknamed “The Marathon Junkie” will lead the field Saturday in the fourth annual Aspen Valley Marathon.
As usual, he’ll be chasing a marathon record.
Chuck Engle, aka The Marathon Junkie, will attempt to set a record for winning 50 marathons in 50 states — all in less than 2 hours, 50 minutes.
“Chuck Engle was here three years ago, and he’s coming back this year,” said Aspen Valley Marathon co-director Sean Solon. “He’s looking to be the first runner to win a marathon in every state in 2:50.”
The Dublin, Ohio, super runner has completed his mission in 49 states.
Guess which state is still on the list?
Three years ago, Engle won the Aspen Valley Marathon in 2:50:43.
Engle, 51, is targeting a sub-2:50 Colorado run with the gradually downhill Aspen Valley Marathon, which leaves Aspen at 6 a.m. Saturday, then follows the Rio Grande Trail to the eventual finish in downtown Basalt.
His marathon best is 2:31. In all, he’s won 150 marathons.
He’ll race in the largest field in the four-year history of the Aspen Valley Marathon.
Solon said the entries for the 2014 event, including a half-marathon and a 5K, will total close to 700.
That’s 300 in the marathon field, 350 in the half field with entries still open.
“We’re very happy with the progress we’ve made with the race,” Solom said, adding that the exposure from the recognition by travel industry source Trip Advisor helped significantly.
The Aspen Valley Marathon was listed among the 2014 Top Marathons and Races Worth Traveling For, as selected by FlipKey.com, the vacation rental company of Trip Advisor.
One marathon was selected for each state.
Solom said the partnership with Challenge Aspen and the Hope Foundation also has helped the event grow this year.
In addition, the full race is a USATF-sanctioned Boston Marathon Qualifier.
The marathon is set for a 6 a.m. start at Wagner Park in downtown Aspen.
The half-marathon will start at 7 a.m. at the W/J in Woody Creek.
The 5K will start and finish at Lions Park in Basalt.
Entry information is available at aspenvalleymarathon.com.
Another marathon record-holder will take aim at a new mark at the Aspen Valley Marathon. He’s 70-year-old Larry Macon and his team of “Marathon Maniacs.”
Macon will attempt his 1,352nd marathon Saturday in Aspen.
“We are so honored and excited to have Larry at our event,” Solon said.
The champagne will be chilled to celebrate his arrival at the finish line in Basalt Lions Park on Saturday,” he said of the Aspen Valley Marathon finishing tradition.
Aspen Valley Marathon founder Kat Fitzgerald and the staff invite locals and visitors to the finish party in Basalt.
Openings still remain in the 5K with some spots in the half-marathon and marathon, according to Solon.
Last year, the event attracted a wheelchair racing contingent. Grant Berthiaume of Tucson, Ariz., rolled downhill to Basalt and won in 1 hour, 50 minutes.
Berthiaume and two wheelchair racing colleagues participated in the Aspen Valley Marathon last year as part of a national campaign to promote research and treatment for those with spinal-cord injuries.
They won’t race in the 2014 Aspen Valley Marathon, but Solon said the wheelchair team will be back in 2015.
They will be releasing a book about their marathon quest for spinal-cord research next year.
Two-time Aspen Valley Marathon defending champion Gary Krugger of Flagstaff, Ariz., will not return this year because of a previous commitment.
He won last year in 2:48.10.
Ross Bryant was second at 2:50:29.
Dominika Sosna won the women’s marathon last year in 3:2215. Christina Gallagher was second in 3:25:10.
In the 2013 half-marathon, Mary Cote won the women’s division in 1:32:34.
Rachel Bachman was second (1:33:26).
Randy Work won the men’s divisionin 126:59. Justin Stewart finished second (1:31:08).
Other races that FlipKey.com listed as worthy of travel in 2014, besides the Aspen Valley Marathon, include:
Moose’s Tooth Marathon in Anchorage, Alaska;
San Diego Half-Marathon;
University of Iowa River Run in Iowa City, Iowa;
Bay of Fundy International Marathon in Lubec, Maine;
Princeton Half-Marathon in New Jersey;
Outer Banks Marathon and Southern Fried Half-Marathon in Nags Head, N.C.;
Myrtle Beach Mini Marathon in South Carolina;
Race to the Top of Vermont in Stowe, Vt.;
Crazy Horse Marathon in Hill City, S.D.;
Duke City Marathon in Albuquerque;
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