In 2006, Dane Rauschenberg accomplished what no other runner had by running 52 marathons on 52 consecutive weekends--all while working a full time job during the week. More than just an extreme runner, he also raised over
$44,000 for L'Arche, an organization
which benefits the developmentally disabled--absorbing all the expense himself. If that was not enough, Dane did more than just complete those marathons–he competed in them, averaging a 3:21 for each race.
He chronicled the journey in his book See Dane Run, and we can also keep up with his current running and adventures in his blog, DaneGer Zone.
On Saturday he competes in the Kentucky Derby Marathon. Wish him luck and welcome Dane Rauschenberg!How did you get started running and how did you recognize your ability for endurance running?
In law school, I wanted to get back into shape but my preferred method of exercise (swimming) was hampered by limited time to actually exercise because of grad school obligations and the schedule of the one and only local pool. Running was the easiest and least time-consuming way of getting into shape.
My recognition of how endurance running would be integral in my life was not for several years later when I participated in a multi-race event in Florida with the lowest combined time of the three events (15k, 5k and marathon in 24-hour period) signifying the winner. I surprisingly won handily and the wheels began turning.
Take us back to the year of running a marathon each weekend. What was the key to your success?
Ignorance, stubbornness and drive. I did not know I was not supposed to be able to accomplish the feat, so I would have refused to quit even if the going got hard (which it did) and also possess the desire to push myself to new heights previously thought impossible.
What went through your mind those weekdays between weekend marathons?
Please don’t let them cancel the next race because of bad weather. Please don’t let them cancel the next race because of bad weather. Please don’t let them cancel the next race because of bad weather.
What did you learn about yourself from your 52 marathons?
That I am fortunate enough to be surrounded by many great friends. I must be doing something right.
What were the most dramatic moments of your marathons?
Usually it was the events around the marathons (getting to and from) which provided the most drama. Missed flights, bad weather and potential snafus marked the entire year.
Tell us about reaction to your book.
I have been pleasantly surprised by the way the book has been received and am happy that my message of pushing oneself to achieve the potentially impossible, not only in athletics but in life, is being taken to heart by many.
When it gets tough on your runs, what do you tell yourself? What are your best mental techniques for combating fatigue on during bad patches in your run?
I live by one great quote: “Someday you will not be able to do this. Today is not that day.” When you have a parent who has not been able to walk due to a hunting accident your entire life, getting out to go and accomplish little things ever day seems quite insignificant. When it comes to running through difficult times on a run or a race, I just accept the fact that I am having difficulty, don’t dwell on it and begin to focus on how to turn it around. The realization that often the difficult times will pass has helped me through more than my fair share of tough miles.
How did your outlook on achieving goals change during your year of running marathons?
As I continued to surprise myself by putting up increasingly faster times and eventually breaking my PR in the marathon late in the year, any thoughts I may have once harbored about just “completing” the marathons was demolished. In fact, that was probably gone by the 3rd marathon of the year as the competitive juices kicked in.
Where was the pleasure in completing the marathons?
No marathon run ever guarantees that you will finish the next one. Each time I finished a marathon there was the pleasure in knowing that once again I had conquered the beast.
Tell us a little about your life and interests outside of running.
As much as I share information on just about everything I can, I am inherently a private person. Running is just the last in a line of sports that I have taken to. It just happens to be the one I am lucky to do well in and make a name for myself by doing. I boxed amateur in law school, I have sold a painting or two and I hope to someday become fluent in a language or two. I love running but it does not define me.
What future challenges are you interested in taking on?
I am currently planning some long multi-day races to traverse great sections of the country. I would love to take part in the Comrades Marathon in South Africa. I will be competing in some aquathlons this year to maximize my best skill set (swimming) and hope to place continually higher in USATF events around the nation (having taken 10th overall in my first USATF even, the 50k National Championships in March).
What are your favorite distances and why?
The longer distances suit me much better. I do not have the turn-over to be competitive in short distances (5k,10k) and I feel like I have to go and do another 5 miles after either of those to actually get a workout in for the day. I am still dabbling in the ultradistances and finding out what I may be best in. With a 84 mile run in a 12 hour race to my credit, I seem to get better as the day goes on. Whether I can compete against the greats at those distances will depend on if I decided to pursue those types of races.
As for now, my mistress is the marathon and she is a wonderful lady.
What inspired the book and what your dream for the book?
I have often said that knowledge not shared is wasted and when I realized how much I learned during my 52 Marathon quest, I knew it would be a crime to not let others benefit from that accumulated knowledge. I hope that it will grace the bookshelf of every runner and walker in the nation so that they too can realize that you never know what you can do until you try.
If you could spend $1million on a running-related dream, what would it be?
A million bucks would go a long way towards financing about 50 running related dreams I have. Hopefully it would be where I can both chase personal goals and inspire others to do the same as well.
Do you know a runner you would recommend for Open Mic Friday?
Pass along their name, contact info, and some background and we'll explore introducing them to the Runners' Lounge Community.
Send to Amy@runnerslounge.com or Tom@runnerslounge.com.