VEGA HALFWAY TO GUINNESS WORLD RECORD

VEGA HALFWAY TO GUINNESS WORLD RECORD

📅04 May 2014
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By Eddie Vega

My quest to set a new Guinness world record for “Most Barefoot Marathons Run in a Calendar Year” started on January 1, 2014.  But, after four grueling months fraught with flight delays/cancellations, extreme weather conditions, minor injuries, technical glitches with my video recording equipment, and working a full-time job I have finally arrived at the pivotal halfway mark to reaching the magic number of 50 official barefoot marathons to set a new Guinness World Record.

Reflecting on my progress and what I’ve accomplished so far, I have conquered 25 barefoot marathons as shown in the table below in 17 different States and 2 Countries for a total of 655 barefoot miles while traveling approximately 78,777 air miles and 8,472 land miles. At least 16 of the marathons were run back-to-back over a period of 8 weekends.  My fastest barefoot marathon was completed in 4:50:37 and my slowest finishing time was recorded at 8:06:21.

# Date State / Country Marathon City 2014 State #
1 1/1/2014 Texas

New Years Day Marathon

Allen 1
2 1/5/2014 California

Camarillo Marathon

Camarillo 2
3 1/11/2014 Mississippi

Mississippi Blues Marathon

Jackson 3
4 1/12/2014 Alabama

First Light Marathon

Mobile 4
5 1/19/2014 Hawaii

Maui Oceanfront Marathon

Maui 5
6 1/25/2014 Nevada

Running from an Angel Marathon

Lake Meade 6
7 1/26/2014 Georgia

Callaway Gardens

Pine Mountain 7
8 2/1/2014 Texas

Surfside Marathon

Surfside Beach
9 2/2/2014 Louisiana

New Orleans Rock n Roll Marathon

New Orleans 8
10 2/8/2014 Arkansas

Mississippi River Marathon

Lake Village 9
11 2/15/2014 South Carolina

Myrtle Beach Marathon

Myrtle Beach 10
12 2/16/2014 Alabama

Mercedes Marathon

Birmingham
13 2/23/2014 JAPAN

Tokyo Marathon

Tokyo
14 3/9/2014 California

LA Marathon

Los Angeles
15 3/15/2014 District of Columbia

Rock n Roll USA Marathon

Washington 11
16 3/16/2014 Virginia

Shamrock Marathon

Virginia Beach 12
17 3/29/2014 Indiana

Circular Logic Marathon

Lafayette 13
18 4/5/2014 Virginia

Charlottesville Marathon

Charlottesville
19 4/6/2014 Missouri

Go! St. Louis Marathon

St. Louis 14
20 4/12/2014 Kentucky

Riverboat Series Day 1 Marathon

Columbus-Belmont State Park 15
21 4/14/2014 Arkansas

Riverboat Series Day 3 Marathon

Lake Chicot State Park
22 4/15/2014 Mississippi

Riverboat Series Day 4 Marathon

Leroy Percy State Park
23 4/19/2014 Kentucky

Kentucky Derby Marathon

Louisville
24 4/26/2014 Kansas

Oz Marathon

Olathe 16
25 4/27/2014 Oklahoma

OKC Marathon

Oklahoma City 17
Barefoot Marathon #25 since January 1, 2014. Oklahoma City Marathon with Leslie Driskill after crossing the Finish Line.

Barefoot Marathon #25 since January 1, 2014. Oklahoma City Marathon with Leslie Driskill after crossing the Finish Line.

One of the most challenging aspects of completing these marathons was dealing with the logistics and the lack of sleep especially for those marathons that were scheduled back-to-back on a given weekend. On about nine separate occasions, I slept in the car or in the airport because I did not find it practical to pay for a hotel room when I arrived only a few hours prior to the start of the race.Most recent example is this past weekend when I arrived late Friday evening and, with only a few hours sleep, ran the Garmin Marathon in Kansas on Saturday morning. Soon after I crossed the finish line, I drove nearly 8 hours including pit stops arriving almost at midnight in Oklahoma City.

I slept a couple hours then ran the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon on Sunday which started 2 hours later due to a weather delay. After crossing the finish line, I drove nearly 10 hours including rest stops to Kansas City Airport in Missouri just in time to catch my 6:00 a.m. Monday flight to Boston. I took a bus as soon as I landed in Boston then went straight to my office to work on a project once I arrived in New Hampshire late Monday afternoon.

Another challenge is dealing with injuries and, so far thanks to the Good Lord, I have been blessed to have sustained only minor injuries resulting in 4 marathon cancellations. Some of these injuries were the result of running on roads that are constructed with chip-seal pavement creating a very rough surface and are usually littered with sharp pitted stones that jab the soles with every step.

 

Nilda and I rubbing elbows with Meb Keflezhigi, 2014 Boston Marathon Champion, and his lovely wife. This picture was taken in Athens, Greece, on November 9th, 2013, at the Expo the day before the Athens Classic Marathon. Notice that we are about the same height? I can't use my height as an excuse anymore as the reason why I run so slow.

Nilda and I rubbing elbows with Meb Keflezhigi, 2014 Boston Marathon Champion, and his lovely wife. This picture was taken in Athens, Greece, on November 9th, 2013, at the Expo the day before the Athens Classic Marathon. Notice that we are about the same height? I can’t use my height as an excuse anymore as the reason why I run so slow.

At this juncture of my quest for a Guinness World Record, I will have to switch my mindset from thinking “how far I’ve come” to “how close I am to reaching my goal” to avoid getting trapped in a declining state of motivation. The most difficult part of staying motivated is the amount of time that I have to spend away from home as a result of traveling to the various marathons compounded with the fact that I also work full-time in a different State from my home during the weekdays.Since I began this journey I have only been home three times and it was only for a few days.

I am very fortunate to have a Significant Other, Nilda, who is also an avid marathoner that is always there to offer solid support while providing me with the self-confidence and drive to keep going.I have to keep reminding myself that this is temporary and that, hopefully, this is the only year I am going to attempt this quest for Guinness. Therefore, I have to maximize the number of barefoot marathons to finish before the end of the year in order to make it extremely difficult for anybody else to break my record. Frankly, I do not want to have to do this again assuming somebody comes along to break my record.

In order to succeed in this mission, I must always remain laser-focused on my goal by rehearsing what motivated me in the first place to pursue this quest:1) To honor my late mother and father 2) To raise awareness for the millions of children who have no shoes3) To make my mark in historyIn my opinion, motivation stems from the heart, therefore, you must really love what you are doing. I love running marathons and I love the fact that I am also doing it for a good cause. By constantly reminding myself of the goals builds upon my mental toughness especially during those times in a marathon when I am dealt with adversities and struggling with every step just to cross the finish line.

There were several occasions in a race where a medic or volunteer would try to rescue me by offering a pair of shoes, socks, bandages, or a ride to the finish line. Of course, I would have to politely decline otherwise the race will not count towards the Guinness World Record. As tempting as it is to just quit in the middle of a race, I have to keep telling myself that it’s easier to just finish than to have to explain to everybody why you DNF’d (did not finish).

Lastly, please keep in mind that this entire quest for a Guinness World Record is being funded solely by me. I do not have any corporate sponsorship to help defray any of my expenses. However, it would help tremendously in motivating me to complete this journey if you would be kind enough to donate generously to my charity, Soles4Souls, via my donation page:www.Gofundme.com/BarefootBanditoNote that 100% of your donation will go towards delivering shoes to poor children living in the Philippines and the Pacific Islands providing them with valuable protection from harmful wounds and infectious diseases.Thank you in advance for your generous contribution.

On February 26, 2014, I distributed almost a thousand pairs of brand new Sketchers to a couple of elementary schools in Davao City, Philippines, whose student population are primarily made up of the poorest of the poor.

On February 26, 2014, I distributed almost a thousand pairs of brand new Sketchers to a couple of elementary schools in Davao City, Philippines, whose student population are primarily made up of the poorest of the poor.

Below is a schedule of my remaining barefoot marathons to reach the magic number 50 for the Guinness World Record:

# Date State / Country Marathon City 2014 State #
26 5/3/2014 Wisconsin

Wisconsin Marathon

Kenosha Lake 18
27 5/4/2014 Michigan

Kalamazoo Marathon

Kalamazoo 19
28 5/10/2014 North Dakota

Fargo Marathon

Fargo 20
29 5/11/2014 Delaware

Delaware Marathon

Wilmington 21
30 5/13/2014 New Hampshire

#2 Granite State Marathon

Nashua 22
31 5/14/2014 Rhode Island

#3 Red Island Marathon

Warwick 23
32 5/15/2014 Connecticut

#4 Nutmeg State Marathon

Hartford 24
33 5/16/2014 Massachusetts

#5 Old Colony Marathon

Springfield 25
34 5/18/2014 Vermont

Shires of Vermont Marathon

Bennington 26
35 5/24/2014 Texas

Multiple Sclerosis Marathon

Dallas
36 5/25/2014 Idaho

Couer d’Alene Marathon

Couer D’Alene 27
37 5/26/2014 Texas

Memorial Day Marathon

Dallas
38 5/31/2014 California

Blast The Bay Marathon

Long Beach
39 6/1/2014 Wyoming

Casper Marathon

Casper 28
40 6/4/2014 Michigan

Heartland Series Day 1 Marathon

Niles
41 6/5/2014 Indiana

Heartland Series Day 2 Marathon

Anderson
42 6/6/2014 Illinois

Heartland Series Day 3 Marathon

Bloomington 29
43 6/7/2014 Iowa

Heartland Series Day 4 Marathon

Clinton 30
44 6/8/2014 New York

Lake Placid Marathon

Lake Placid 31
45 6/14/2014 Utah

Utah Valley Marathon

Provo 32
46 6/15/2014 Washington

Vancouver USA Marathon

Vancouver 33
47 6/21/2014 Minnesota

Grandmas Marathon

Duluth 34
48 6/22/2014 Wisconsin

HFM Maritime Marathon

Manitowoc
49 6/28/2014 Oregon

Pacific Crest Marathon

Sunriver 35
50 6/29/2014 California

Charlie Alewine Summer 7 Day 2

Long Beach

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