There are marathoners and then there are the special and slightly insane athletes who competed in Saturday's Frank Maier Marathon.
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From trying to complete marathons in every state or finish a different 26.2-mile race every week for a year, running is more than a casual activity for some of the competitors on Douglas Island.
It's a lifestyle and all-consuming passion.
"It's amazing because it's all walks of life," fifth-place finisher Dane Rauschenberg. "You could be a construction worker or a CEO and it doesn't matter. I don't know if running attracts good people or if good people become better people when they run, but a lot of runners are just wonderful people."
Rauschenberg, a 30-year-old patent licenser from Arlington, Va., knows plenty about running and has taken his passion to an extreme.
The Frank Maier Marathon was his 31st race this year. In an effort to raise money for L'Arche Mobile, a community house for people with mental handicaps in Mobile, Ala., Rauschenberg decided to run one marathon per week for an entire year.
For more on dane rauschenberg, check out www.fiddy2.org. for more on chuck engle, check out www.chuckengle.com.
Rauschenberg works in Washington, D.C., during the week, fitting in 10 to 15 miles per week while traveling to different marathons on the weekend.
He pays for all his own travel while all donations goes to L'Arche Mobile. So far he's raised $17,123.50 of his $52,000 goal.
People can donate to L'Arche Mobile and follow Rauschenberg's travels on his Web site, www.fiddy2.org.
"I never ran 12 (marathons) in my life heading into this year," Rauschenberg said. "I didn't know if I was going to die. Muscle-wise, I'm fine. I've got some aches and pains. My legs hurt after (a marathon in Leadville, Col., on July 1). Mostly, I'm just tired."
Amazingly, Rauschenberg wasn't the only runner Saturday trying to complete this quest.
The men's open champion, Chuck Engle, is also attempting to complete 50 or more marathons in 52 weeks.
The Frank Maier marked his 32nd marathon, and 18th victory, for this former three-time All-American.
Much like Rauschenberg, Engle is using his quest to benefit others. He's running to raise money for St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital.
"I do odd jobs in the week for food money, but we have sponsors and individuals that say, 'Chuck, this is a great thing you're doing and let me help you with a plane ticket or a meal or a hotel room," Engle said. "The Juneau folks were great. I had a group of people pick me up and say, 'We got dinner covered.'"
In addition to Rauschenberg and Engle, a number of runners ran to try to complete a popular goal of running a marathon in each of the 50 states.
Seattle's Janet Burgess completed her 40th marathon Saturday and knocked out her 15th state.
"After a while they get easier," Burgess, 45, said. "Mentally, you're ready for them."
While some go after goals, other runners are trying to pack in as much running as possible.
Though 44-year-old Carol Dellinger of Spokane, Wash., finished last in the marathon, she padded her impressive running resume. Dellinger completed her 202nd marathon in 15 years.
Tim Nichols, sports editor, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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