If you put a thousand runners in a room, you'll likely overhear a cacophony of discussions about shoes, how many miles they ran that day and, especially, what exactly they're training for. What the next big running event is. Because no matter how much they run, they want to keep right on running. A runner's gotta run.
There's just something about running that motivates and pushes and makes someone want to go farther, run faster. And even when they're not Forrest Gump-ing it on tracks and trails and pavement, runners spend their downtime searching for a race to sign up for that's even more challenging than the last. They get the running bug, so that the next run is a mere stepping stone to the one after that. You could say that they all have a bad case of the runs.
We asked several seasoned runners at all different levels what's on their running bucket list. Here's what they told us.
Doing the Marine Corps Marathon would be cool. It's in Washington, DC, and you run around all the major stuff: the Capitol, the White House, the Washington monument — all of downtown Washington. And the person who gives you your medal is a marine.
I also want to do a 50- or 100-miler. Just because it's 50 or 100 miles.
–Erich Heinlein, Red Bank
The New York Marathon! I think it'd be great to run around the city, seeing the sights, taking pictures. I've driven through New York City before but never been a tourist there. And that's how I want to see it.
I had a 50k on my bucket list, but now I've done it. I don't think I'll do that again.
–Jennifer Hollingsworth Carter, Signal Mountain
I just accomplished my bucket-list run. It was the Big Sur Marathon, the last weekend of April. The Bixby Bridge is an iconic thing that you see in all the photos. I saw it on the cover of Runner's World magazine back when I was in college, and I was like, I have to run that! So I did.
–Ginny Bumpus, Chattanooga
I want to do a marathon, and without walking any of it. I swore I'd never do one, but I'm training for Nashville now. It's in October. It makes me want to throw up every time I talk about it because I'm so nervous.
–Dayna Smith, Chickamauga
The Pinhoti 100 is on my bucket list. You run from Sylacauga, Alabama, to Pelham, Alabama. It's about just finding out how far you can go. I got into running roughly seven years ago. I was really just needing to find some sort of physical exercise to rejuvenate; I was 29 and feeling stagnant. So I did a bunch of half marathons. Then marathons. Then a 50k, then a 50-miler. And now, the next step is 100 miles. Luckily, I have a lot of friends who normalize this. They'll be like, "Let's go run 30 miles!" I have a lot of friends who do this, and a lot of support. They train with me; they're down there with me on race day. When people ask how you run a hundred miles, I say, "With a lot of help."
–Wesley Watkins, Chattanooga
I just finished a 50k, and there's a local 50k that's always been on my bucket list. And that's the Rock/Creek Stump Jump, because it's local, and it's iconic – not only locally, but nationally. It was one of the first 50k trail runs ever.
I also have my eye on a buckle. You have to do 100 miles (sometimes 100k) to get a buckle. It's a huge, gaudy belt buckle that you wear everywhere. That's a thing in trail running, to get a buckle. So I'm looking for the easiest buckle that I can find, even if it's tiny.
–Wendy Halsey-Richardson, East Brainerd
I'm from San Francisco, and I didn't grow up running. I hated it. I didn't run until I moved to Chattanooga and started running with the group at Fleet Feet. I thought they were all major runners, and I was intimidated. But they were wonderful and welcomed me. That was five years ago, and running became fun. It wasn't fun before that.
I'm 61 now, and I would love to go back home and do the San Francisco Half Marathon — before I end up in a wheelchair and am too old to run anymore. I wouldn't call myself a runner, but now, I love to run.
–Pearl Pangkey, North Chattanooga
It'd be cool to do a marathon. I haven't done one yet. As for which one, I'll probably fall back on my friends to recommend one. They've run a lot more miles than I have.
–Stephen Cox, Chattanooga
To run in a professional track meet. I love track and field. I found myself inclined to be good at middle-distance running, and I want to see how far I can go with it.
–Ryan Lay, Chattanooga
It would be fun to go to the Great Wall of China. They do a marathon there.
I also want to do the first race and the fifth race and the 10th race in a race series. Those are always the milestones, and they have cooler shirts. They do something nicer.
–Larry Aulich, Soddy-Daisy
I've done the run that was on my bucket list, and that's rim to rim to rim in the Grand Canyon. It was 47 consecutive miles, with 26,000 feet of elevation change. I experienced four seasons twice in one day: It was 25 degrees at the start. 80 degrees at the bottom. 25 and snowing on the north rim. I ran down the canyon and across the Colorado River. I ran on cliffs with a 2,000-foot drop right beside me. It was all the weather and every emotion. Took me 17 hours. It's not an official race, but I do have a shirt.
–Jim Cone, Hixson