OGDEN, Utah -- Runners take your mark!
Hundreds from all over the world will be running the Ogden marathon Saturday morning, but for one Utah man it’s a very special race as this marks the 100th time he’ll be crossing a marathon finish line.
“Every medal is a memory," Craig Oberg said as he held one of his 99 marathon medals. "You think you can't remember, but after I look at it for a few minutes I realize, oh I can remember that it was raining or I was having a tough day."
Throughout the last 13 years, Craig has earned every single one of the memories, and Saturday he’ll add a special one to his collection.
“Tomorrow is my 100th marathon, which seemed impossible when I started because I was just going to run one,” Oberg said.
It's been thousands of miles since Craig’s first marathon, a race he took on after his daughter dared him to run just one.
“The farthest I had ever run was the length of the basketball court in one straight line,” Oberg said.
But at 50 years old Craig decided to go for it. After conquering his first race of 26.2 miles, he thought he could improve his time, so he ran a second marathon.
After crossing that finish line his friend told him: “’You could qualify to go to the Boston Marathon’, and I thought that's like telling me I could go play in the NBA finals,” Oberg recalls.
Craig did what he once thought was impossible on his third marathon: he qualified for Boston. And then he qualified six more times.
The 2013 race was among those he ran.
“I was in the 2013 Boston Marathon, I was crossing the line when the bombs went off, but that was not my most memorable one," Oberg said. "It was the next year when my wife, who had been near the bombs, asked me if we could go back. She wanted to stand there again and not let them win, and I ran the Boston Marathon in 2014… I felt like I was on a 26 mile course of the American spirit undaunted."
Craig kept those Boston medals but gave away the other five.
“I wanted to give each of our kids a Boston Marathon medal to show them you're never too old to achieve something that seems out of reach,” he said.
Since 2005 he's been bringing home medals from across the country: New York City, Death Valley and of course Utah.
Running two marathons in a matter of four days with his best time of 3 hours and 23 minutes. But even after 99 marathons:
“Nothing beats those last few blocks where you know you’re going to finish and you've conquered yourself,” Oberg said.
The Ogden Marathon holds a special place in Craig’s heart and is one of his favorite courses, making his hometown run the perfect one for number 100.
“They say, 'Oh that 100th marathon, that's going to be awesome', but when you really look back it’s the journey. It’s not the 100th marathon, it's the 99 marathons I ran before it,” he said.
For more about the Ogden Marathon, visit their website.