Set the world record for most marathons on consecutive weekends (159). Richard Worley started running because he wanted to lose weight. Now more than 20 years later, he has run 285 marathons. That's 7,467 miles, or the equivalent of running from Washington to New Delhi. He set the Guinness world record for most marathons run on consecutive weekends when he ran 200 in 159 weeks from 1997 to 2000. Worley will run his fifth Marine Corps Marathon on Sunday.
Worley's original goal was to run his 10th marathon when he turned 40, then run one at age 50, one at age 60 and so forth. But when he read about a runner who had completed 50 marathons the year he turned 50, Worley decided one a decade was not enough.
"I thought, 'Boy, that makes running one sound kind of cheesy,' " Worley said. "I said when I turn 50, I'll just run one every weekend."
A couple of marathons into his quest, Worley noticed runners wearing 50 States Marathon Club T-shirts and decided he might as well run every state and the District of Columbia as long as he was at it. He also wanted his efforts to benefit others, so he created a college scholarship fund for a children's home in Texas.
"When the year ended in '97, I had run every weekend. I had run all 50 states and D.C. I had finished 59 marathons for the year, but my fundraising hadn't contributed as much as I wanted," Worley said. "Then several people said, 'You know Rick, if you're wanting to raise more funds, the existing record for the most consecutive weeks to run a marathon is 74. You're already at 59, so why don't you try and break that and see if that doesn't add to the contribution?' "
Worley continued to run every weekend through 1998 and '99. He added the Canadian provinces and territories along with Mexico to his list. Worley is down to "only" one marathon a month now. He is running this marathon with his son to honor his late father, a Marine.
Said Worley, "I probably will never stop."
-- Kathy Orton