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#22 – Phoenix Marathon

Australia's Marathon Man Trent Morrow chasing the World Record for the most marathons in twelve months; marathonman; running man; phoenix marathon

2 March 2013 – 4 hrs 42 min

The moment was fast approaching in the lead up to my lifetime 100th marathon/ultra marathon in Phoenix and the original plan had been to share this special milestone with Carol Morrow who I had shared so many years of my life growing up with back home in Australia. Carol had been married to my Dad for 21 years and played a significant role in my younger years sharing many incredible experiences and sharing fun times. It would have been great to share this day together although with Carol bravely fighting Stage 4 Lung Cancer and having been admitted to hospital only a matter of days earlier this was not going to happen. I decided to dedicate my 100th lifetime marathon and ultra marathon to Carol and enjoy the experience in Arizona.

Australia's Marathon Man Trent Morrow chasing the World Record for the most marathons in twelve months; marathonman; running man; phoenix marathonIt was a very early start with runners jumping on school buses at the Finish Line before 5am and then being shipped to the start line at Usery Mountain National Park to arrive before 5.30am. Now I had gone all out on this memorable day and invested in balloons to celebrate the milestone, new blue moustache, blue paint and a red whistle. I was lucky enough to meet Melissa Fischer from California and she kindly painted 100 on either cheek while the bus bumped up and down on the way to the start line. Melissa was from California and more than a little nervous with anticipation as she was going for a 3:35 finish time to qualify for the Boston Marathon. I had no doubt that she could do it with a solid preparation and good team around her for support. It was great to see the results later and find that in fact Melissa did qualify for Boston with a time of 3:34:23. Congratulations and all the best wishes for Boston 2014.

I was fortunate enough to meet up with the Race Announcer and was able to share some of my story with the gathered runners in the starting area before joining the long lines for the toilets. It was somewhat of a surprise to many that the National Anthem started to play just after 6am with more than half an hour to the race start time and then the fireworks were released. It was great although perhaps would have been better when all the runners were gathered on the start line almost ready to run. There was enough time to gather around the warm fires before the short walk to the starting line where I passed a gentleman playing the bagpipes in full Scottish kit and many giant cactus. The start line was at the Usery Mountain Shooting Range where I met up with my running buddy Chuck Struckness with blue moustache and whistle at the ready to get the large crowd started.

Australia's Marathon Man Trent Morrow chasing the World Record for the most marathons in twelve months; marathonman; running man; phoenix marathonIt was a nice mild morning in Phoenix with runners in a good mood although a little quiet with many probably still waking up. There were some characters on the course with Chewbacca and Princess Leia lending support to runners by popping up at different points during the day. There were a number of first time marathon runners spotted in Phoenix with the first being Megan from St.George, Utah who had always loved running having completed a few half marathons and had the marathon on her bucket list at the age of 20. This was impressive and with the support of her friend Corey the Phoenix Marathon had been a target since November. The discussion then turned to the St. George Marathon as I have heard from many people and read in Runner’s World that that it is one of the best organised marathons in the USA and soon found out that Corey’s sister is in fact the Race Director. I made a mental note on the run as the St.George Marathon would have to be included on the Race Schedule for the first Saturday of October.

The next first time marathon runner was the diminutive Kim Folzen who at the age of 50 had chosen to take on the marathon after taking up running three years ago. Kim’s brother is a marathon runner and decided that she really wanted to do a marathon. At the start Kim could barely run around the block as an ex-smoker.  Only five years before she had gone cold turkey as she had had enough of feeling bad, and wanted to change her life. The training had started back in September with plans to originally run the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon in Phoenix although unfortunately she was injured for this event earlier in the year and was now taking care of business.

Australia's Marathon Man Trent Morrow chasing the World Record for the most marathons in twelve months; marathonman; running man; phoenix marathonIt was around the 11 mile stage when I met up with Stephanie and Sarah who were two young attractive girls in bright running clothing taking on the first marathon from the Phoenix area. There had been a lot of training gone into preparing for this day and when prompted as to why the marathon, Stephanie responded that it sounded like a good idea at the time before revealing that it was on the “bucket list” of things to achieve. Now the most impressive part of  meeting these girls was that Stephanie was 21 and Sarah 19 years old. This is awesome and very inspiring to find people taking on such a challenge so early in life and hopefully this is a trend that many more take on  sooner rather than later.

Australia's Marathon Man Trent Morrow chasing the World Record for the most marathons in twelve months; marathonman; running man; phoenix marathonI continued to push on before meeting up with Michelle close to mile 21 who was also running her first marathon having started training since November. The motivation for taking on this first marathon was her kids with three boys aged 5, 3 and 1 waiting at the finish line. There was no doubt that this 31 year old mother sure was about to make her family proud on crossing the marathon finish line for the first time.

I soon approached the 22 mile marker and had a quick photo to represent my 22nd marathon for 2013 on this incredible journey before putting the head down and focusing on coming home for the 100th time. There were thoughts rushing through my head over the closing stages of the fight Carol is going through and it was important to me to represent and push a little harder. In the approach to the line I spotted the 100 balloons waiting for me and quickly collected these before the balloons popped apart. I crossed the line with balloons proudly overhead for my official 100th finish.

It was great to complete such a special milestone although at the same time noticeable that there was no one to share the moment with … I know there will be many more moments to share with friends and loved ones over the years ahead although it sincerely puts life in perspective that the journey is one thing although the people around you are what makes it worthwhile in the end! There are many lessons we learn and this year would peel back and reveal much more than ever thought at first and lead towards a very exciting new direction in life.

There was not much time to dilly dally as I really wanted to get across to visit Carol while in Phoenix and quickly cleaned up and had a little food before dropping into Scottsdale with some bright coloured balloons to provide some cheer. The highlight of the day for me was being able to give Carol my Finishers Medal and let her know that I had dedicated my 100th Marathon to her. It was very special to see her and also see her sisters Lin and Janice while in town. It was too soon before I had to leave for the airport to catch my flight and while I did not wish to leave and it was terribly hard to say goodbye the car was soon pointed back to the airport.

Australia's Marathon Man Trent Morrow chasing the World Record for the most marathons in twelve months; marathonman; running man; phoenix marathonNow I knew it was going to be a close shave as I needed to refuel and drop the car before catching buses to the terminal. I arrived close to an hour before the flight departure and the friendly lady at Check-in with Southwest Airlines was not interested in my story telling me that I should have been there 2 hours before departure and instructing me to the back of the line. The only option given was that I had to ask everyone in front as to whether I could pass in front with a flight due to  leave. After waiting for a moment or two I thought why not and soon was kindly let move through the line and check in. The bags were soon re-packed as is now standard operating procedure to ensure the correct weight and I was informed the bags may not make it as they were late checked. There was no time to spare and I went straight through Security and to the Gate where there were no people and on entry to the boarding platform one of the baggage guys mentioned “Are you Trent” so there could be no doubt that I had cut it pretty close and I proceeded to board. I asked if my bags were ok and he assured me that they would make the flight which was nice of him to ease my mind before taking up my favourite exit row seat in 1D with all boarded. It was now time to bring on some fun times in Little Rock …

Phoenix Marathon Gallery

2013 Statistics:

Marathons Run – 22
Total Distance Run – 928.3 km / 576.4 miles
US States Completed – AZ, CA, FL, LA, NV, TX, WA
Total Drive Distance – 3,833 km / 2,382 miles
Total Flight Distance – 18,568 km / 11,539 miles

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