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Marathon for a Cause Challenge Races. Why, you ask, would someone attempt to run two races on consecutive days of the week?  One answer might be “just because it was there” as in the case of Mount Everest in the Himalayas.  Another answer might be “to test my physical and emotional limits” much like a decathlete.  Yet another answer might be “for bragging rights in my running group.”

Regardless of the reasons, multiple races at the same location and over the same weekend are popping up all across the 50 states and notably in the Pacific Northwest.  Largely to satisfy the demands of members from two national running clubs – the Marathon Maniacs and the Half Fanatics – a number of Race Directors have started offering 3 races in 3 days, 4 races in 4 days, and even up to 7 races in 7 days.  And race numbers are proving these types of “challenge races” to be popular.

But why, you ask, has the Sunriver Marathon for a Cause decided to offer them?  Well, we didn’t at first.  We first decided to add a second half-marathon on Saturday. Then someone (OK, I plead guilty) suggested that we offer extra “swag” (tech shirts, finisher medals, etc) to those completing both of them.  The idea of “challenges races” was born and we decided to allow all kinds of combinations – a half-marathon plus a full-marathon, two half-marathons, and possibly a half-marathon plus a 10Km race.  Our goal was to provide a wide range of fun activities for the whole family over Labor Day Weekend in Sunriver.

I can hear you muttering under your breath “does he eat his own cooking?”  Fortunately the answer is yes.  One year, purely for bragging rights, I ran 2 full-marathons in 2 consecutive days (48 hours) on two separate occasions.  That same year I also ran 3 full-marathons in 9 consecutive days in 3 different states, but that is a story for another day.  Yet another year, I ran a full-marathon on Saturday and a half-marathon on Sunday, but have yet to do 2 half-marathons in 2 days.  That feat will be attempted in the 2013 Sunriver Marathon for a Cause, along with the rest of you.

Please understand that completing two races in 48 hours, without injury, is a very doable goal with proper training.  I’ll gladly help you craft a sound program, but understand that longer race combinations require a longer build-up period.  And you must simulate in training what you expect to experience within the races (so train on back-to-back days at least once a week).  We run to enjoy ourselves, so let’s have a little fun and experience the satisfaction of reaching a more “challenging” goal.

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