By Mr. Larry D Mccaskill (Army Contracting Command)December 1, 2014
Some people collect magnets, postcards and quarters with the hopes of getting one from each of the 50 states. Anthony Anderson is the same but it's not trinkets he's chasing.
Anderson, an auditor in the Army Contracting Command's Internal Review and Audit Compliance Office, has run in 90 marathons and half-marathons since 2000. To put it in perspective, during races alone, he ran from Washington, D.C. past Albuquerque, New Mexico.
In the late 1970s, Anderson was assigned to the 25th Infantry Division at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, where he was able to run year-round and discovered a passion for it.
"I was in a field artillery battalion and the unit would fly to the big island of Hawaii to participate in field exercises," said the 17-year federal civilian. "During the three-day break they would give us, I would stay in Kona, Hawaii."
Throughout the next three decades, Anderson found himself running in 5K and 10K races on a regular basis. Often considering participating in marathons, he just kept putting it off. It would be years later before he would run in his first marathon and the location for his inaugural run was a place from his past.
"I ran my first marathon in June 2000 in Kona," said Anderson, who was born in Harrison Township, Pennsylvania, but grew up in Woodbury, Tennessee. "I was living in Nashville, Tennessee, at that time and the Country Music inaugural Marathon was that year. Unfortunately, I had to attend my National Guard annual training that weekend so I could not participate in it."
Anderson decided since he couldn't run in Nashville, he'd do his first marathon at a place where he had fond memories.
I had such a fond memory of Kona that I wanted to do my first marathon there since I could not run in the inaugural marathon in Nashville."
After Hawaii, Anderson, much like the battery-operated bunny, has just kept going and going and going.
"At one time I wanted to run a marathon in each state. Unfortunately, I kept suffering from running injuries," said the man who has run marathons in 34 states. "I downsized to half-marathons and less to prevent running injuries and to allow me to enter more runs in different states."
To date he's run in 36 half-marathons. His most recent run was Nov. 23 in his 46th state, New Hampshire. His 2015 run schedule includes North Dakota, New Jersey, Delaware, and the final state--Alaska in August.
A member of the 50 State Marathon Club, Anderson has never competed in two of the most famous marathons in the country -- the Boston and New York City marathons.
"I ran in Salem, Massachusetts, earlier this year and thought the scenery was a lot better than Boston," said the 5-foot-9-inch Anderson. "I do not see myself qualifying for the Boston Marathon. As far as the New York City Marathon, I did run in Buffalo so I did not see a need to run in the New York City Marathon. The Buffalo marathon is a lot less crowded and I visited Niagara Falls while I was there."
In all, he's run 54 marathons and 36 half-marathons. His best marathon finish was 03:59:58 at a 2009 race in Las Vegas. In 2013 he finished a half-marathon in St. Paul, Minnesota, in 01:25:50.
"I at least do a half-marathon every three months and I will travel anywhere," said Anderson who ran two half-marathons in Edinburgh, Scotland, in 2012 and 2013.
After running in all 50 states, Anderson said he would look to participate in some international races.
"I spotted a run in Chile that interested me very much."
Anderson said he doesn't see a point in his life where he'll ever stop running.
"I believe that exercise benefits every part of the body, including the mind," said the 54-year-old. "It causes the body to produce endorphins and it helps me sleep better. Plus, exercise gives me a real sense of accomplishment and pride at having achieved a certain goal."