Member Spotlight: David Grudzien

We celebrate the amazing accomplishments of our club members!  David M. Grudzien is one of our 100 half marathon finishers.  In fact, he completed both his 100th lifetime half marathon and finished his 50th half marathon state on the same day!  He achieved these two goals together at the Old Port Half Marathon in Portland, Maine in July 2014.

We asked David to share this running history and goals with us.  This is his story.

Meet David

"I began running in 2010 (at the age of 53), focusing on 5Ks for about a year.  In January 2011, I decided to step it up a notch and train for the Peachtree Road Race 10K, which I completed in July, 2011. I continued with the 5Ks & 10Ks for a few months, at which time I decided I needed MORE!  In November 2011 I began training for my first half marathon – The Publix Georgia Half Marathon which was scheduled for March 16, 2012.

March 16, 2012 was the beginning of what has become my obsessive journey of running half marathons.

During the week or so that followed, I joined the 50 States Half Marathon Club, signed up for a few more halfs and decided that it would be my long term goal to run an average of one half marathon per month.  (This would allow me to complete my 50 State goal in approximately 5 years – or so I thought.)

Following the Publix Half, I managed to maintain pace on that goal by running one per month through 9/2012 except for June.  I decided I HAD to maintain, so October would be a catch up month.  Long story short I ended up running four halfs in October and felt great.  This is where the true obsession began.

During the first months of my “half” running, I joined club after club.  Today I belong to at least dozen clubs including Atlanta Track Club, New York Road Runners, three chapters of Front Runners and the 100 Half  Marathons Club.  By the end of 2012, I had run 16 half marathons in 12 different States.

I continued my journey in 2013 with a focus on adding new states to my list and progressing up the ranks of the Half Fanatics running club.  On 9/19/2013, I reached the pinnacle (The Sun) of the Half Fanatics by completing my 30th state within 365 days.  

2013 also brought a new running experience, in the form of the Center of the Nation Running Series produced by Mainly Marathons.  This is a series of races during which you run five half or full marathons over five days in five different states.  Absolutely, this was the best experience a runner can have. By the end of 2013, I had accumulated 70 half marathons and had completed 39 different states.

David at the Mainly Marathons Riverboat Series, April 2014

With the start of 2014, it became foreseeable that I could complete my 50 States + DC during the year. The challenge to coordinate the remaining 11 states & DC began. I will add that as you get closer to completing the 50 states, it becomes more and more difficult to schedule races/states, especially when you still need both Alaska & Hawaii. I was early during 2014 that I heard of and joined the 100 Half Marathons Club, which added another challenge for me to complete this year.  With a great deal of focus and effort I managed to reach 98 total half marathons and 49 states plus DC.  My 50th state was scheduled on July 13th at the Shipyard Old Port Half in Portland, ME.  Now the issue was “Could I reach the point where my 50th State would also be my 100th total half marathon?”  Conveniently, I found a race in Jamestown, RI on 7/12, which just happened to be on my way to Portland, sort of!

I am now continuing on my journey to running as many halfs as possible with the target number of 500 in mind (by my 70th birthday).  As of 2/1/2015, my total count stands at 117. ONLY 383 TO GO!"

Congratulations David on this incredible journey!