Michael Wardian raced 52.4 miles on Sunday at an average pace of 6:15 per mile.
Michael Wardian made a good run at it, but in the end, he found his goal of running two fast marathons in one day to be a pretty tall order.
Still, his double-marathon effort on Sunday—which saw him run 2:31:19 while winning the Rock ‘n’ Roll San Antonio Marathon and then running 2:57:56 to place 10th at the Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Marathon only about 10 hours later—was a pretty solid effort.
Naysayers might relish in the notion that he didn’t meet his goals of trying to win both races and run sub-2:30 in each one, but no one can deny him the guts to try it. The 39-year-old resident of Arlington, Va., a three-time U.S. Olympic Trials Marathon qualifier with a 2:17:49 lifetime best, has run numerous back-to-back races, but never two marathons on the same day.
He admittedly came up short in Las Vegas because of stomach issues, but he still averaged 6:15 mile pace on the day, meaning his average half marathon split (for four half marathons) was about 1:21.
In San Antonio, Wardian ran in second place for the majority of the marathon, finally outpacing Moses Leuvano at mile 17. He cruised in from there with a three and a half minute margin of victory. The bigger challenge in Texas was the weather, where temperatures reached the mid-70s.
“I was super pleased with the first race in that heat and for a kinda bumpy course,” he said. “I thought, all in all, it was a decent time.”
After winning the race in San Antonio, Wardian and his younger brother, Matthew (who was serving as his crew), boarded a Southwest Airlines flight to Las Vegas. But he said he checked in later than he should have and was in a middle seat and wasn’t able to get up and walk around to keep his legs loose as much as he would have liked.
In Vegas, things started off pretty well for Wardian, who reached the halfway point in 1:18. But by then he knew his stomach was going to be an issue because he had a sloshy feeling and he had to stop for two bathroom breaks.
“I felt kind of good, but my stomach started to go early and my gels were just sloshing around, and then I had to stop a few times to go to the bathroom, which is a no-no in a marathon,” Wardian said. “I’m so happy to break 3:00 with all those issues, but man it was fun.”
Wardian thinks he probably drank too much water between races and didn’t eat early enough. He also thinks he wasted too much energy running around before the race.
So what will he do for recovery? He’ll take it easy this week and then get ready for the JFK 50-miler on Saturday in Washington D.C., followed by the Kinhaven 5K (which he and his wife organize) on Sunday in Arlington, Va. Then he’s planning to run a Turkey Trot next Thursday in Alexandria, Va. His next big race is The North Face 50-Mile Championships on Dec. 7 near Mill Valley, Calif.
But when asked just hours after finishing the Vegas race, Wardian said he’d consider attempting the feat again.
“I am always up for challenges and heck yes, I would do it again,” he said.
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