Less Than Two Hours · 5 July 2017

This work is in the public domain.

What can you do in less than two hours? Maybe see a movie. Or run some errands. Surely a trip to the mall could be done that quickly. But how about running 26.2 miles?

Several runners tried to run 26.2 miles in under two hours on May 6, 2017. The three who started out were paced by other runners in the attempt. In the end, Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya (2016 Olympic Marathon champion) ran the distance in two hours and twenty-five seconds. Just missing the two hour mark.

At least a few runners from Cedarcrest High School in Duvall, Washington watched the attempt. Afterward, these runners from the small towns of Duvall and Carnation did some calculations. The 26.2 miles of a marathon equals 42.16 km. Each lap on a track is 400 meters or 0.4 km so a marathon would be 105.4 laps on the track. There are 7200 seconds in 2 hours. That meant that breaking a 2 hour marathon would be hitting just over 68 second laps for each of those 105.4 laps. It meant crazy fast.

Well, these boys were in the middle of the track and field (T&F) season, which for distance runners meant they were running 400 repeats as part of their training. These repeats are a grueling training regimen, where their coach, Bruce McDowell, tells each runner how fast he or she is supposed to run a single lap of 400 meters. The runners also get a specific number of repeats they are supposed to run and a specific amount of time they get to rest between said laps. Since the attempt by Kipchoge was during the high school T&F season, the boys knew what the 68.31 second 400 meters meant. It meant running fast for a long time.

The marathon attempt and the thoughts of 400 repeats got the boys to thinking. The elite marathon runners and their pacers did not break the 2 hour mark, but could a bunch of people running 400 meter repeats break the two-hour barrier as a team?

The question turned into an idea and the idea turned into a plan and the plan turned into an event.

The event is a relay run to break the two-hour marathon on Friday, July 7, 2017 at 7:00 pm at the Cedarcrest High School stadium (29000 NE 150th Street, Duvall, WA). In the attempt, eight current or former Cedarcrest runners, will run a lap, then rest for seven, then do it again and again until they run a marathon as a team. And they are doing it for charity. People are giving pledges per lap or donating money to the event. The proceeds will benefit Treehouse, a foster care non-profit. (Contact Bruce McDowell at to donate or for more information.)

The intrepid runners are Daniel Murphy, Ian Fay, Grant Van Valkenburg, Ben Benson, Emmet Klaiber, Ryan LaTurner, Patrick McCabe, and Chase Bolin, who would love any and all support. So join them at the Cedarcrest stadium in Duvall as they run. Or at least donate to their cause.

The event will not be quite like a quick trip to run errands, but it might be as entertaining as some movies. And who knows, maybe, just maybe they will finish in less than two hours.

[They did it! The relay team ran a marathon on the track in 1:57:22.]

© 2017 Michael T. Miyoshi

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