Courtesy of Leanne Davis, Dublin Associates
Sunday, Dec. 7, 2008 | 6:13 p.m.
Beyond the Sun
As of Sunday, 63-year-old Larry Macon will have run 103 marathons this year. That’s nearly 2,700 miles and the distance it would take to make a round trip from his home in San Antonio, Texas, to Las Vegas.
The Aiken Gump lawyer often runs more than one marathon in a weekend in his attempt to beat the world record for the most number of races in a calendar year. In order to be considered for a Guinness World Record, Macon had to run at least 100 races, with the Dallas White Rock Marathon on Dec. 14 marking his 105th and final race for 2008.
Not only has Macon run multiple races in a weekend, but multiple races in a day. Just this year, he ran the Darkside Marathon in Georgia and the Vermont City Marathon — both on May 25. While he’s been a serious runner for only the last seven years, he has made up for lost time by accumulating 506 races to his name.
Just after his Memphis race on Saturday, Macon spoke about his quest for a world record and his crazy marathon stories.
Q: Why are you going for the record?
I didn’t set out to go for the record. Two or three years ago, I ran 79 marathons each year and this last year I ran 93, and when I hit 93 someone said, “that’s pretty close to a record!” So, we checked around and contacted Guinness and they said the record was 99, so I thought, “What the heck! Let’s see how next year goes.” This year has been very lucky and once I got to the halfway point and I got 50, I thought, “Why not, why not go for it!” I run marathons because I want to and because its fun, so the record is sort of a surprise.
Q: Why start now?
My first marathon was at 49, I’m now 63 about to turn 64, and you’ll find if you ask most people who do a marathon just before a “0” year, either 30, 40, 50 or 60, they all just do it because all of sudden they have a fear of getting old or whatever. And so, I did it before my 50th birthday, just sort of a hallmark, and all of sudden, boom, I got addicted and I thought “this is not so hard.”
Q: What does your family think?
My wife, who is a lawyer, and whose real application is she’s a rancher on weekends. So we see each other during the week, but then on weekends she goes out to the ranch and she raises 600 miniature horses and so she has her hands full, full of horse manure. And I have zero-minus interest in that and so this just works out great. In fact on the rare occasion that I’m around on the weekend, she says, “isn’t there some place you could run?” We’ve been married for 40 years, so it seems to work, it’s a pretty good thing.
Q: What was your favorite race?
The Las Vegas Marathon is one of my favorites, the new one, the old one was horrible …
but this one is neat, you run through the Strip, you run through a little parking lot, a casino shopping center you run through, but my favorite, is the one I’m doing that day – wherever it is, whenever it is.
Q: I heard that you once took a conference call during the Boston Marathon, do you have any other weird marathon stories?
Forty-nine states in the country are silly enough not to close down for Patriot’s Day, which is when Boston has its marathon. And so, you know I’m supposed to be practicing law at this time and it's hard to tell your clients, “well, you know hey, I know we have some important business, but I have to go run a marathon.” So last year we had a big conference call scheduled and I took the call for an hour during the marathon. I don’t say that I spoke very much, I tried to keep my comments quiet. When I told them later, they said, “We didn’t know that!” Thank God, these phones have mute buttons on them.
Q: How do you prepare for a race? Do you have any pre-race rituals or superstitions?
Absolutely. I go through this elaborate work in the way I tie my shoes; I won’t do it unless I get my shoelaces tied this specific way, that’s just strange. They have to be tied in bunny ears. What happened was I had a really good run doing that and you never know, maybe that’s what caused it, but you never know so why tempt fate. That was six years ago.
Macon said that his obsession with tying his shoelaces a specific way has lead him to the endless hobby of finding discontinued New Balance sneakers. And with so many marathons, he’s gone through 10 pairs of shoes already this year, buying them six pair at a time. He uses them for a little more than a month, or about every 10 races.
Proudly wearing his bright yellow “Marathon Maniac” jacket, Macon finished the Las Vegas Marathon at 5:43:46 — and just a day after running a marathon in Memphis at 5:15:22.