TRAVERSE CITY — Tony Anderson has a seven-year plan to finish his quest to run a marathon in all 50 states.
“May 2020 is the goal,” the Cherryland Electric general manager said. “That’s three to four marathons a year.”
Anderson just passed the halfway mark Sunday when he ran a personal best 3:47:25 in the Smuttynose Rockfest Marathon in New Hampshire. It was marathon No. 26 and his first under 3:48.
“That’s three years in a row I’ve been able to get a hair faster,” the 51-year-old said. “I’m getting a better base, working a little harder.”
Smuttynose is touted as having “the flattest and easiest course in New England,” according to its Web site. But the 26.2-mile course was far from flat.
“There were hills all day long,” Anderson said.
It was Anderson’s first marathon since El Paso in late February.
“I did four marathons in five months,” Anderson said. “I did two last October, then Disney in January and El Paso in February. I needed a little break after that.”
Anderson, who follows a marathon training program designed by the Hanson Brooks Project, resumed serious training in mid-June and had about 600 miles in when he ran Smuttynose. He’ll follow that up with the Green Mountain Marathon in Vermont this Sunday.
Anderson decided to try to run a marathon in all 50 states after finishing the New York City Marathon in 2005. In 2009, he came up with a plan to use that goal as a means to raise money for Big Brothers Big Sisters. To date, he’s raised more than $80,000 for the organization.
Of the 26 he’s completed, Anderson has four favorites: the Bayshore in Traverse City, New York City, Boston and Big Sur. He ran his first sub-four hour marathon in Boston.
“It took me 17 tries to break four hours,” he said.
The quest for 50 has taken him to some unique parts of the country.
“I never saw the country when I was a kid,” he said. “I never had those opportunities. It’s a big country.”
His toughest marathon? Well, that had to be in Delaware in 2011 when he ran a trail marathon and rolled his foot — fracturing a bone — at mile four.
“I limped along for 22 miles,” he said. “It took me six hours. I toughed it out.”
Next year’s marathon schedule tentatively includes Arizona in February, South Dakota in June, and Connecticut and Rhode Island in October.
“That (Connecticut and Rhode Island) will be a back-to-back, Saturday and Sunday,” he said.
He’s actually done that before. In 2007, Anderson ran marathons in Missouri and Iowa on consecutive days.
“I was younger then,” he said, laughing.