Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

CHRISTIAN'S SPORTS BEAT ; 50 Marathons in 50 States

Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

CHRISTIAN'S SPORTS BEAT ; 50 Marathons in 50 States

Article excerpt

Someday I want to run a full or half-marathon, but, in the meantime, I recently met a local runner who has run a marathon in all 50 states. Jeff Ranson, currently a part-time pastor at Gateway Christian Church in St. Albans, completed his 50-for-50 marathon feat last year in Maui, Hawaii.

Before a recent track practice of my Hurricane Middle School track team, I talked to Ranson about running in general. I asked him, out of all of his marathons, which one was his favorite.

"The last one I was in Maui and that was pretty special. That was my 50th state, and I really liked that being my 50th, because my brother (Steve, a preacher in Indiana) did that one with me, which made it even more special for me.

The running preacher is a native of St. Albans and currently resides in Hurricane.

In 2013, the Boston Marathon was marred by a fatal bombing at the finish line. Ranson was a participant in that year's race and shared his memories of the event with me: "It was highly emotional. I was hearing from about mile 22 or 23 on about a bomb or some kind of problem at the finish line. But no one was telling us any details, so we just kept running. There were water stops like normal, there were still people cheering us on, but when we got a half-mile from the finish line, Homeland Security had barriers across the road, which stopped all of us right there.

Ranson continued to tell me what emotions were going through his mind at that point. "It was strange, because all they told us was that there was a bomb event. They didn't tell us how serious, if anybody was hurt or if anybody was killed. My family, like a lot of the other runners' families, was at the finish line waiting for us, so we didn't know if they were affected or not. Catching back up with them was very emotional.

The 63-year runner is set to run in this year's Boston Marathon, Monday, April 18. …

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