Some marathon runners might do three or four marathons a year if they’re on top of their game.
But Overland Park’s Brian Cole is chasing a major marathon goal: He is running eight in a row to raise money for the local Kansas City chapter of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.
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“The JDRF is a charity that is important to me because my wife has Type I Diabetes (T1D), and the main goal of the JDRF is to find a cure,” he said.
Cole, the director of catering sales and marketing for Panera Bread, has just three marathons left in his quest. One of the marathons he just completed was the Kansas City Marathon on Oct. 19.
Still ahead on the schedule is the New York City Marathon on Nov. 3, the Pilgrim Pacer in Lenexa on Nov. 9 and the Route 66 Marathon in Tulsa on Nov. 24.
Cole was not an athlete on the high school or collegiate level.
“I was a recreational athlete in that I played soccer and racquetball,” he said. “I was not part of any organized sports team. Running is the one sport-related activity that I have consistently stuck with since I started in 2005.”
There have been challenges with eight marathons in a row.
“The biggest challenge is eating properly during the eight-week span and getting enough sleep,” he said. “The body needs the proper nutrition to fuel me through the running and help me with recovery after the marathon.
“Sleep is necessary for the healing process as well.”
And he does all of this with a family and a job.
“I could not run this many marathons without the support my family,” he said. “They have been very supportive of my journey and have been there to cheer me on through it all.”
Training for eight marathons is a huge task.
“The first thing I needed was to have a base to start my training,” he said. “I needed to get my body ready for running by getting 20-25 miles a week for six-to-eight weeks.”
He changed his training in the spring when he decided to take on the challenge of the eight marathons.
“I slowly increased my weekly mileage to 55-60 miles, then maintained that mileage for the last two months to keep my body trained to run that many miles over the eight weeks.”
The physical training is one thing, but there is also the mental aspect of running so many miles in that short of a time span.
“To be able to complete this journey, I needed to pick a cause that was important to me,” he said. “I just remind myself that this is for my wife and to find a cure for Type 1 Diabetes, and that I need to trust my training.
“The rest is to just have fun with each race and enjoy the run.”