First things first. Leah Reid did not sell her car so that she could globetrot the United States, seeing our nation by foot, running about the country via the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series. Repeat, Reid did not peddle her 2006 Honda CRV for $14,000 last December just to feed her running habit.
“I was thinking about selling it anyway and decided to pull the trigger,” says Reid, a 37-year-old accountant from Vancouver, Canada.
But the $14,000 has made it much easier for Reid to run and rock ‘n’ roll, from Brooklyn to San Diego, from Nashville to Seattle, and seemingly all points in between. Reid will be among the thousands partying down The Strip this Sunday night when she runs the GEICO Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon.
Sin City marks Reid’s 22nd Rock ‘n’ Roll 13.1-miler this year. San Antonio next month caps her year at 23.
As for selling her ride, well, it did provide a nice nest egg in her quest to see the nation. “I wanted to have some experiences rather than have a car,” she says. “I’ve always been an all-or-nothing girl.”
Reid began running in 2007,having finished a 5K that October, then four months later knocked off a half marathon in 2 hours, 15 minutes.
“I remember looking around seeing people running the race, doing it so effortlessly,” she recalls. “I said, ‘I could do that if I put in the time.’” She ran her next marathon 15 months later. Her time: 1:49.
In 2012, Reid hopped on the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series train by running 10 events. This year, she bought a Rock ‘n’ Roll Global TourPass, which enables runners to enter as many events as they wish for one fee.
“I wanted to see some new cities,” she says.“Every race you do, it makes every one you ran before that cheaper. C’mon, I’m an accountant!”
In chronological order, this has been Reid’s itinerary this year: Arizona, New Orleans, Washington, D.C., Mexico City, San Francisco, Dallas, Raleigh, S.C., Nashville, Tenn., Portland, Ore., San Diego, Seattle, Chicago, Dublin, Virginia Beach, Montreal, San Jose, Calif., Brooklyn, Denver, Vancouver, Canada, Philadelphia, Savannah, Ga., Las Vegas, and finally San Antonio.
Reid is not alone in gallivanting about the world, running Rock ‘n’ Roll events. “There’s a community of runners that go town-to-town,” she says.
Reid has made friends along the way. Some of the friends have morphed into roommates. They split rental cars and taxis to cut costs.
“You skip a few meals, just eat all the (free) food after the race,” Reid jokes. She estimates the weekends have set her back about $500 to $600 per race.
As for memories, Reid is blessed with more than a few. She suffered a hamstring injury back in May, which she described as feeling, “like a knife in the back of my thigh,” and felt embarrassed that she would have to walk in Portland.
“I had met all these runners and thought they’d look down on me,” she says. Instead, it was just the opposite. “They were so supportive, saying, ‘Wow, that’s so impressive you’re going to do it anyway.’”
One man she had known for maybe six weeks promised to walk with Reid. She told him, “No, don’t sacrifice your race.”
She eased past the starting line and there waiting for her was the guy who promised to walk with her.
“If nobody kept an eye on you, I know you’d try to run. I’m making sure you’re sticking to the doctor’s orders,” he told her.
“I never felt so supported,” Reid says.
Montreal was beautiful. Reid was stunned by the radiant fall colors in Philadelphia. She ran across the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. “Everywhere you looked it was like a postcard,” she says.
As for New Orleans? “I walked Bourbon Street, saw some graveyards, had some soul food and listened to live jazz.”
She doubts she’ll do a 23-race repeat next year. “It’s kind of taken over most of my free time,” she says. Plus, she misses her car.