MANKATO, Minn. (WCCO) — Minnesota had another weekend of good running weather, which made for perfect conditions in Mankato.
For most runners, finishing a marathon just once is good enough for a bucket list, but one bold runner decided 26.2 miles just wasn’t enough.
So as runners left the Mankato Marathon start line Sunday morning, Ryan Chukuske had already gone the distance and was ready to launch into the second half of his 52.4 mile journey.
“Usually about once, twice a year I’ll come home and he’ll say ‘We need to talk. We need to do something,'” Chukuske’s wife Megan Giesen said. “So it’s not surprising.”
In this case, “something” was running the Mankato Marathon forward and backward consecutively.
At 3 a.m., with his wife bicycling at his side, Chukuske set off to complete his first of two marathons. It would be the longest distance he would ever have run on blacktop.
“Having support next to you definitely helps quite a bit,” he said. “During the run, it’s all about not thinking about the run and just kind of enjoying what you’re doing. ”
Just over 4 hours later, with a little fatigue and runner’s high, he made it to start line, just in time to do it all over again.
“Those thoughts will come no matter what race you’re running — 5K, 10K, marathon, half marathon, whatever. You’ll have those moments,” he said. “I use ‘Looking strong, feeling strong.’ That’s what I say to myself usually. Having people out supporting races and having them out in the cheer zones, that is tremendous.”
And for a second time he put rubber to road, in honor of those who cannot run for themselves.
“The journey was the inspiring part,” he said. “That’s the part that you remember the most. You remember what that was like being out on the road, seeing all the people, seeing the other runners, sharing that camaraderie with the people on the road with you. That’s the part. That’s the journey. And it’s about being bold.”
Feeling strong, looking strong: a mantra for any amount of miles at the Mankato Marathon.
Chukuske ran his double marathon in just under 9 hours. Organizers say he is the first person to run it twice in a row.