Marina White, 27, from Irvine, Calif., has accomplished something well before her 30th birthday that often takes a serious runner decades to complete. On Sept. 22, White completed the Fox Valley Marathon in Geneva, Ill., which was the last race she needed to complete a marathon in all 50 states.
While Marina has been busy with her own racing to reach No. 50 this year, she’s also been helping to mentor a first-time marathoner as part of the Saucony 26 Strong program, a collaboration between Competitor and Saucony that pairs experienced marathon vets with first-timers (“cadets”) as they both train to achieve their marathon goals. Marina’s partner, Elizabeth Brown, 26, of Los Angeles, Calif., will compete in her first 26.2-mile race at the Santa Barbara International Marathon on Nov. 9.
To complete her 50th marathon in 50 states this year, the toughest part for Marina was the planning and traveling that made it possible.
“As the joke goes, the hard part is getting to the start line, after that it’s all easy,” she says. “I have been fortunate for the most part to have my plans work out fairly well, and to have the input of other runners, where we pool our skills together to plan the travel.”
The last race went off “super smoothly” according to Marina. She finished in under 5:30, which is impressive considering that she ran marathon number 49 the day before in Ohio.
Which was the toughest marathon of the 50?
“I’d say, hands down, Pikes Peak in Colorado,” she says. “I barely made the strict cut-offs, and was booking it the whole way. It was totally worth it though!”
Marina set out on the 50 in 50 quest as a way to travel with a greater purpose.
“I love to explore and see new places, and I wanted another goal besides just ‘exploring,’” she says. “I wanted a plan and a ‘focus’ of my travels. The running crowd, and sport itself, is amazing, so I knew hat was a great goal to put the travel with the marathons.”
One benefit of completing the 50 in 50 at such a young age: You get to do it again.
“I will continue to pursue another round of all 50 states,” she says. My goal is one new state each month, but at a different race than the one I have already run in the previous round.”
To read more about Marina, Elizabeth and the rest of the Saucony 26 Strong team, visit 26strong.com.