Running 50 Marathons in 50 States with Marathon Training Academy’s Angie Spencer

Running a marathon is challenging. Running consistent marathons is even more difficult. But 50 marathons in 50 states… with the last one being your Personal Best is truly demanding.


The 50 State Marathon Club is an elite group. To finish the challenge, you “only” have to finish a marathon in every state in the US.

But of course, membership is more inclusive. Their website says:

The club operates under the direction of a board of directors selected by the membership. The club is a non-profit organization dedicated to the promotion of health and fitness and the members share the common goal of running a marathon in each of the fifty states. To join, a runner must have completed a marathon in at least ten states.

Even though about 500,000 runners finish a marathon every year, less than 1% of them have ever run the race in all 50 states. It’s a staggering feat that requires an incredible amount of dedication.

Consider that most runners can only successfully finish 2-4 marathons per year. That means the 50 state challenge will take decades.

It’s a challenge that – like a running streak – demands long-term planning, commitment, and a focus on staying healthy.

I’ve never personally attempted a challenge like running so many marathons. And I have a lot of questions!

  • What drives a runner to focus so intently on the marathon distance?
  • Does the training need to change for a challenge like this (instead of racing 26.2 miles for time)?
  • What does it take, logistically, to run so many races all over the country?

To get a clearer idea of the requirements for the 50 State Marathon Club, I invited a recent finisher to talk all about the process onto the podcast.

Angie Spencer on 50 Marathons in 50 States

50 States Marathon Club Angie Spencer

Angie Spencer is the cohost of the Marathon Training Academy Podcast and someone who just finished the 50 state challenge.

But she added two important twists: first, not every race was a marathon. Some of them were ultramarathons!

And she didn’t run all of the marathons just to finish them. In fact, her 50th marathon this past January in Hawaii was a substantial Personal Best (her recap is here).

How in the world did Angie run a PR in the marathon – a BQ no less – more than a decade after starting the challenge?

She’s on the pod to talk about just that. We’re also discussing:

  • How she maintained her motivation over more than 10 years to finish the 50 state challenge
  • The mistakes she’d avoid if she were to start over again
  • How her training evolved to make her into a more resilient, stronger, faster marathoner
  • What’s next for Angie after completing such a long-term goal

If you’re thinking about committing to a monumental goal like a multi-year running streak, 50 marathons in all 50 states, or even a time-based goal like a sub-3 marathon, this episode with Angie Spencer is for you.

Subscribe to the podcast in iTunesSpotifyStitcheriHeartRadio, or Google Play.

Resources & Links:

Thank you Angie for sharing your story with us on the podcast! Be sure to say hi on Instagram!

Enter to Win with PATH Projects

Path Projects

This episode of the Strength Running Podcast is sponsored by PATH Projects. They’re an online-only retailer of high-quality running gear and apparel that I’m falling in love with (and they’re giving away three $75 gift cards!).

Currently, I’m wearing the Sykes 5″ Shorts (see them in action in this video), the Pyrinees hooded sweatshirt, and the Torch base liner. Their gear is unique, stylish, and a premium quality that feels great to wear. And because there’s no retail markup, PATH is quite affordable.

They’re using new technical fabrics and innovations to create award-winning apparel for endurance athletes. In fact, their Brim shorts and Tahoe base liner won Runner’s World’s 2018 Gear of the Year award. And the Pyrinees hoodie was named one of the best six sweatshirts for running in the cold by Gear Patrol.

Check out their full lineup of shorts, tops, hats, and base liners on their site – and don’t forget to enter to win one of three $75 gift cards at (the giveaway ends on May 3rd!).

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