How to Complete Your First Marathon

Have you always wanted to run a marathon, but don’t think you can? I have news for you…you can!

If completing a marathon is on your bucket list, then I want to tell you about a company called Mainly Marathons.

I discovered Mainly Marathons in 2015. I was driving across the United States from Lexington, Kentucky visiting my friend, Kim, to St. George, Utah where I was doing a race.

I had just decided a couple years beforehand that I was going to run 50 marathons in 50 states before I turn 50. I was going to be driving right through Kansas and Oklahoma and still needed those states, so I was looking for a race in one of them around the time I would be driving through. It was just my luck that I ran into Mainly Marathons.

They specialize in series’ from 4 to 9+ days where you can run a marathon in a different state on multiple days in a row. I happened to be driving through Oklahoma and Kansas right in the middle all of their “Dust Bowl Series” that covers five states. And bonus that the races were during the week, which was perfect for my schedule.

They were less than a week away, so I emailed them to find out if I could sign up the day of the race, which I could…another bonus!

I drove to the first race. It was a little hard to find because it was in a small town, it was dark, and there were only about 20 to 30 cars in the parking lot.

I am used to racing in races with thousands of people, so this threw me off at first. I showed up and everyone was super duper friendly and helpful. They asked me if these were my first marathons, which they were not, but they were my first two in a row. I had never run two long runs back-to-back, not even more than a 10K two days in a row, so I wasn’t sure how my body would respond.

The courses are set up so that there is a 5K, 10K, half marathon, and marathon (and now even a 50K) so if you wanted to run a marathon and your kids or partner or friend wanted to run a 10K or half marathon, you could both do it on the same day on the same course. I love this.

The other thing I love is that the marathons are loops or out and backs that you repeat several times. For example, the course might be 14 laps for the marathon, seven laps for the half marathon, etc.

Each time you come around for your next lap, you take a rubber band and put it around your wrist, so you don’t lose track of your laps.

At the turn around area, there are tables set up with pretty much anything you could ever want to eat or drink during your race, and there’s another table where you can put your own food and drinks. I super love this! That way you don’t have to carry any of your own stuff because you know you’ll be coming back by the tables every 15 to 25 minutes or so.

The other thing I like about loops is that if it starts off cold in the morning, you can wear all the clothes you want, and as soon as you warm up after the first or second lap, you can shed all the clothes put them in a pile by the table as they are there for you after the race.

No need to put on an old shirt because you know you’re going to have to toss it and never get it back. This is also nice because I don’t like to be freezing cold at the start of the race, but I warm up really quickly when I run.

The very best part of the Mainly Marathons races are the people! Not only the people who run the company, but the people who follow them around and do all of their races, and I mean ALL of their races.

There are people that run all of the series’, all over the US, all year long with the company. I’ve been doing races for them now for years, and I saw the same people last month in Washington and Oregon that I saw in Kansas and Oklahoma in 2015. That is really amazing!

And there are all sorts of people walking/running at every race. There are young people, old people, short people, tall people, heavy people, light people, disabled people, and more.

At their last race I ran, there was a woman walking with two braces on her legs and crutches! WHAT!? Mainly Marathons has no cut off time so literally ANYONE can finish one of their races.

If you look at their race results, you’ll see the average marathon time is about seven hours. Sure, there are people that finish in four hours, and less, but there are equal number of people that finish in nine hours or more.

This is definitely the company to go with if you’re not sure if you can finish a marathon in a specific time. There is so much support on the course. Every time somebody passes you or you see them on the out and back, they say “Hi”, “Good morning”, “Great job”, “Looking strong”, etc. Over the course of a marathon, and especially if you do a series, you get to know every single person you are running/walking with.

In 2015, I did a seven-day series. Yep! You read that correctly, I ran seven marathons in seven states in seven days.

It. Was. Hard.


One of the days I walked over half the marathon and the entire time I found people to chat with if I wanted to, or if not, I just put in my earbuds, listened to music, and pushed through on my own.

Either way I felt constantly supported 100% of the time. Nobody acts like they are better than anyone else at any of the races, and everyone truly wants to see each and every person out on the course succeed in whatever goal they have for the day.

I still stay in touch with people I met on social media. Every series they have, has a different Facebook group where you can learn the best hotels, places to eat, and tips about the courses, towns, etc. They have group meetups in each town, and past participants stay in the groups to help out the newbies.

Before my seven-day series, I asked in one of the groups how to even train for it, because I personally have never done something like that before. A girl got on and told me to run 10 miles for 10 days in a row. I did that. I think that is what made my experience so great as far as my body was concerned. I have no idea if I would’ve felt as good as I did for seven marathons in a row if I wouldn’t have done that training.

I have seen that woman (Patricia) at almost every race I’ve done with mainly marathons. And at every race, when she sees me, she treats me like we’ve been besties forever, and I love it! She treats everyone that way, as does every other person that I’ve met during any of the races.

I still have 14 states to do before my 50th birthday, which is in three years. I’ve already planned my next three years and it includes three different series to check off 13 and then finally, the summer before I turn 50, I will head to Alaska and do the race with them there.

When I was originally looking up races in Alaska, I found several. I thought I had always wanted to do the one that is on the Summer Solstice in June for my final state. But after my experiences with Mainly Marathons, there is no one I would rather finish my 50 states with than Mainly Marathons.



See you SOON!