Inspiration struck Simon, a Lyft driver in Boston, when he found a Groupon deal for the Providence Marathon. The 29-year-old was a track athlete in high school, and he wanted to return to living a healthy lifestyle — it was just the motivation he needed to hit the ground running. His first 26.2-mile race ignited an addiction, and Simon quickly upped the ante with a goal to complete a marathon of marathons. More than 180 miles later, he now boasts a colorful collection of bibs from around the world and a whole lot of frequent-flier points:
- March 2013: Cape Vaal Marathon, South Africa (5:29)
- April 2013: Santiago Marathon, South America (4:40)
- October 2013: Chicago Marathon, North America (3:57)
- October 2013: Dublin Marathon, Europe (4:40)
- November 2013: Auckland Marathon, Australia (4:40)
- February 2014: Hong Kong Marathon, Asia (5:20)
- March 2014: Antarctica Marathon, Antarctica (5:57)
"Running makes me feel good. It's therapeutic for me," he said.
DS: How did you train for this marathon of marathons?
SK: Training included 4 to 6 days of running, usually a combination of short runs of roughly 6 miles and long runs between 12 and 20 miles. I also liked training in different weather conditions to prepare for extreme marathons like Antarctica. At one point, it hit 10°F in Boston, so it was a great time to train for that one.
DS: How did it feel when you crossed the finish line of the last marathon?
SK: It was amazing. I was really excited, tired, and relieved all at the same time.
DS: Which was your favorite race?
SK: Favorite was the Cape Vaal Marathon in Johannesburg, South Africa. The other runners, course and crowd were amazing there.
DS: Out of all the marathon you've run, which was the most challenging?
SK: The most challenging race was the Great Wall Marathon. We had to scale approximately 1200 feet of hills twice.
DS: Did you ever feel like quitting? What kept you going?
SK: I thought about quitting the Great Wall marathon. I was walking most of the time, tired, dehydrated, and still a bit jet lagged. The only thing that kept me going was the fact that I knew I could make the cutoff, even walking, with some time to spare.
DS: What advice do you have for someone who wants to train for a marathon of marathons?
SK: Injury prevention is key for marathon training. You don't always have to finish the training program if your goal is to finish your first marathon. Also, there is no shame in walking at any part of the marathon. Walking early on in the marathon could save you time at the end if you haven't trained enough to run all 26.2 miles. Out of the 19 marathons I ran, I only ran all of it once.
Since Simon’s been back home in Boston, he’s run two more marathons, and has plans to run 10 more before the year’s end, but he's not stopping there. His next major goal is to complete his first Ironman soon. Go, Simon, go!