Top This Resolution: A Marathon a Week

Dane Rauschenberg stretches before a run. His endeavor, dubbed Fiddy2, begins today in Orlando.
Dane Rauschenberg stretches before a run. His endeavor, dubbed Fiddy2, begins today in Orlando. (By Larry Morris -- The Washington Post)
By Arianne Aryanpur
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, January 8, 2006

With his law school finals just days away, Dane Rauschenberg had the urge to jump off a mountain. So he rounded up two buddies who were also studying in Florence, hopped a plane for the Swiss Alps and went paragliding.

Another time, Rauschenberg had a desire to take trapeze lessons. He found a class and learned to whiz between swings 20 feet above the ground.

"If something strikes me as something I want to do, I just do it," said Rauschenberg, an Arlington patent lawyer.

So it came as little surprise to his family and friends when, late last year, the trim 29-year-old announced that he was embarking on another physical challenge: running a marathon every week this year.

"He was always over the top, but that's what made him so endearing to everyone," said Terry Funk, Rauschenberg's high school principal and swimming coach.

Rauschenberg's quest, which he dubbed Fiddy2, begins today. He plans to travel all over the country, including to Alaska and Hawaii, to run in 52 marathons. His goal is to finish the 26.2 miles each time in under four hours.

Talk about a New Year's resolution.

Rauschenberg, who calls himself an average runner, decided a few years ago that he wanted to run a marathon in each state before turning 50.

"I didn't really feel like waiting," he said. "I've never really felt like waiting."

Rauschenberg has always been athletic. As a high school student in Titusville, Pa., he swam, ran track and played football. Much of his athletic motivation, he said, came from his father, who was disabled in a hunting accident before Rauschenberg was born.

"For me, it's never been 'I have to run,' " he said. "It's 'I get to run.' "

Rauschenberg joined the long-distance running circuit after picking up jogging to lose weight as an undergraduate student at Pennsylvania State University. Later, he ran 5K and 10K races "for fun," he said, and completed his first marathon in 2001 while pursuing a law degree at Penn State.

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