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More And More Runners Are Chasing The 50 Races 50 States Goal

Elizabeth Heidal
Age: 35
Hometown: Atlanta

I used my honeymoon to help get me to my goal of running 50 races in 50 states!

I’m working toward my dream of racing in every state, so when my husband and I started planning our honeymoon, it only made sense to include a run. Thankfully, as an Ironman finisher and runner, he didn’t think twice when I proposed the idea—and even decided to join in so that we could run our first race as husband and wife.

After celebrating our racethemed wedding, we boarded a plane to Maui, Hawaii, where I would run my 31st event on my path to 50 in 50.

The morning of the Maui Half Marathon, we arrived at the start line dressed accordingly: I wore a Oiselle wedding dress, while he sported a tuxedo shirt. As newlyweds, we set out on the course at 5 a.m. under a pitch-black sky.

I adjust goals for each race according to my journey (some are for time and some are for experience), and this event was all about the fun. Knowing that this was the first half marathon my new husband was running after suffering a bike crash, we didn’t care about the clock. Instead, we focused on getting to the finish line together and starting a new chapter of our lives.

We ran the flat course side by side, listening to the ocean beside us. Not fully back in race shape, but determined to share my 50- in-50 mission, my husband started to struggle during the second half. We slowed our pace, vowing not to walk and to continue running the rest of the way.

As the sun rose, we forged ahead, enjoying congratulations shouted our way by fellow runners and spectators alike. When we crossed the finish line holding hands, I knew this was the first of many things we’d accomplish together, making it one of my favorite memories on my journey so far.

Running has taught me to be present in each moment. There’s a whole world out there to explore. Sure, chasing 50 in 50 is a pretty cool physical goal, but the memories I’m gathering along the way mean so much more. Through this experience, I’ve learned to be independent and open to learning new things.