1:08 PM CDT, July 3, 2012
What happens in Vegas doesn't always stay in Vegas …
But this isn't always associated with sin and squalor.
For Mike and Kristin Kiss of Palatine, a visit to Sin City to take in the sights and run a half marathon along the famous strip inspired the young couple to create the 50in100 challenge, a goal to complete a half marathon in each of the 50 states in under 100 hours total.
"After running a handful of marathons, triathlons and half marathons, we created the 50in100 challenge as a way to push ourselves even further," Mike said. "We both agreed that the half marathon was the perfect distance, and the two-hour average pace (50 states x 2 hours = 100) was a challenging, yet attainable goal."
The challenge, which they began in December 2009, has taken the Kiss couple to 35 out of 50 states, and they expect to complete the challenge in September 2013.
As avid runners and self-described craft beer lovers, the 50in100 challenge not only gives them a runner's high, but also allows them to explore new cities and get a taste for the local culture.
"While our weekend trips revolve around a race, we want to make sure we really enjoy the spoils of a new city, so we do quite a bit of research to put together an itinerary of attractions, restaurants and breweries, etc. to really capture the essence of a city in a brief period of time," said Mike, vice president at Denali Capital. "And the beauty of running half marathons versus marathons is that we usually don't shy away from a day hike or a few beers the day before a race in a new city."
Planning each race took the same amount of research since some states only host one or two half-marathons a year. Mike and Kristin, senior communications officer at the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, made sure to seek advice from fellow friends and runners for "must-do" races and filled in the blanks for the states in-between.
Through injuries and illness, the couple has pushed on and note that the Run Crazy Horse half marathon in Hill City, S.D., was their favorite race to date, while Wyoming became their favorite state after celebrating their 30th birthdays there (complete with a half marathon, of course) in June.
As for the future, we might just see the Kiss's running half marathons on every continent. (Minus Antarctica, of course.)
"Maybe we'll run a half marathon on every continent, or maybe organize a local half marathon in Palatine, or maybe just trade in weekend training runs and destination races for a baby stroller and some lessons in parenting," Mike saod. "Whatever the next stage of our life is we just hope it's as exciting and rewarding as the last few years of running have been for us."
With a total time of 64:29:51 and 15 states left to go, the 50in100 challenge is still attainable. To check on Mike and Kristin's progress along the way, Visit 50in100.com.
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