Larry Macon has told the story countless times, but that’s what happens when you’ve run something like 1,250 marathons.
On this day, he doesn’t have the exact count because he hasn’t tallied up his 2014 feats yet, but last year he finished 255 marathons – recognized as a record – and while he hopes for his own sanity that he doesn’t approach that number this year, well, he’s not exactly slowing down.
“I enjoy it as much as I ever did – in fact, more,” Macon said. “I know more people, and I will see – depending on the size of the race – up to several hundred people that I know. And I’ll talk to them and run – if you can call what I do ‘run’ – with them and just have a great time. … Then when you’re out there by yourself, which I often am, your mind is working and all the things that have been so important to you during the week all of a sudden are not important at all.”
Macon will take part in the 17th annual Myrtle Beach Marathon this Saturday for what he says is the 10th time. It’s one of his favorites. Along with the usually pleasant weather, it’s a flat course, which is nice every now and then when you run as many marathons as he does.
So the back story …
“I think it’s a brain problem now, but it started off because a bunch of lawyers were sitting around lying to each other about what athletic things they’d done the weekend before,” Macon said. “Somebody said they had played 48 holes of golf, somebody else said they had swam a couple miles and I said I was training for a marathon because I just happened to look at the newspaper and they said that [was coming up]. And they said, ‘Super.’ We’ll have a party for you. It’s in three weeks, so we’ll have a party afterwards.’ So I was stuck, and the rest is history.”
Not bad for a 69-year-old workaholic lawyer from Texas who says he spends upwards of 60 hours or more a week.
His Facebook page claims he’s broken the Guinness Book of World Records mark of most marathons run in one year three times – including last year.
“My wife says I’m obsessive compulsive so this is a better thing,” Macon said. “Before I started doing this, I worked 24 hours a day, and she said ‘This is better.’ I can get in worse trouble if I wasn’t doing this.”
It’s less sport and more social endeavor these days, Macon says. The 5-foot-10, 155-pound self-acknowledged marathon maniac says his best time ever was four hours and 15 minutes, and nowadays he’s likely to finish in anywhere from five-and-a-half to six-and-a-half hours.
OK, the title has a story of its own too.
“About nine years ago there was an organization formed called the ‘Marathon Maniacs’ and the president of this thing said, ‘We’re going to award somebody who is the maniac of the year,’ ” Macon said. But he said, ‘And by the way, I think I’m going to win.’ I said, ‘I don’t think so.’ So we competed all year, and I ended up with 56 or something and won. And everybody said, ‘Boy, that was crazy. Nobody does 56 marathons in a year. That’s insane. That’s one a week!’ I won it, and the next year somebody said ‘I’m going to win,’ and I said, ‘Not so fast.’ I won it eight years in a row. They finally stopped giving it away because I’d win it every year.”
After the Myrtle Beach Marathon on Saturday, he’s hopping down to Birmingham, Ala., for another one Sunday and off the top of his head he thinks he has two more in Oklahoma next weekend.
“It just goes on like that,” he said. “… It’s just a zoo. I’ve done marathons in all 50 states 16 times. I just criss-cross and see people I know. Life couldn’t be much better than this.”
The satisfaction remains the same all these years later, he insists, but last year might have been a little much because he was constantly having to jet off to the next race on his list. So he wants to enjoy them as much as he can now.
As for being a full-time lawyer with offices in San Antonio and Dallas, he admits sometimes his hobby and his career conflict. Not that it’s a problem.
“My greatest accomplishment is three years ago in the Boston Marathon I carried on an hour conference call, which I billed to my client, during the race,” Macon said. “I didn’t tell him that. I told him that later, and he said, ‘There were a couple of times you seemed out of breath.’ ”
And while he’s slowing down a bit, don’t think Macon has given any consideration to retiring his running shoes. That won’t be his choice, he insists.
“When I can’t make it by the time limits, I guess they’ll carry me off,” Macon said. “Hopefully I’ll cross the finish line somewhere and drop dead. That would be a perfect end. I’ve got a note that I pin to myself. [It says] ‘In the event my body is found, please take my bib and carry it across the finish line.’ ”
Contact RYAN YOUNG at 626-0318.