Last week I wrote about Kurt Austin , who ran 12 half marathons or marathons, one each month, in 2012.
He’s not the only local runner who had a big racing goal for 2012.
Joe and Kelly Bails of Mahomet marked their 40th birthdays this year by running 40 races.
Joe turned 40 on Jan. 10 and Kelly turned 40 on July 6. They had already planned to travel to Houston for a half marathon on Jan. 13, and in early January, Joe decided to run 40 races in 2012 to mark his birthday.
The Bails ran a variety of distances, from one mile to a half marathon. Their heaviest racing period was from April through the summer. They raced nearly every weekend from May through August, and on a few weekends, they ran more than one race.
Joe ran nine races in July, and in one week ran a half marathon on a Sunday, a mile race on a Wednesday and a 10K on a Saturday. Kelly ran the half marathon and the 10K that week.
While most of their races were within an hour’s drive, the Bails also traveled for several, including the half marathon in Houston (which coincided with the Olympic marathon trials).
Joe went to Eugene, Ore., in June for the track and field Olympic Trials, where he volunteered and was a spectator, and also ran a 5K race during the trip.
The Bails also ran a couple races in Chicago, one in St. Louis, and they finished their 40 races with the Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon the first weekend in December.
The couple ran 33 of the same races, and ran together during four half marathons and one 5K race.
Kelly’s favorite races included the Main Street Mile in Peoria in July (her first mile race, where she won her age group — on her birthday), and the Las Vegas half marathon (“first time to Vegas and running the strip at night was very cool”).
Joe’s favorites also included the Main Street Mile (where he ran his second fastest mile time), the FOLEPI 4-mile race in East Peoria (his favorite distance that he raced) and the Las Vegas half marathon.
Kelly found the experience stressful and mentally exhausting to think about making sure she could complete 40 races this year, as well as traveling to races.
“It was very time consuming,” Kelly said. “At least one day of the weekend was taken up on races. I always recovered well physically, so that wasn’t an issue. However, I was in no mood to use another day of the weekend for a long run, so my mileage definitely suffered.”
She is not thinking about racing again for a while.
Joe loves to race. He also enjoys speedwork and tempo runs, and the racing allowed him to use them as training tools. He was also pleased with his consistency, especially in shorter races.
But he said it was definitely a challenge mentally to get prepared to compete nearly every weekend, and to maintain his motivation to get to the end.
The Bails say they are not planning anything similar for their 50th birthday year, but they’d like to do something unique. Just not so many races.
Photo: Kelly and Joe Bails in Las Vegas, before the Rock 'n' Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon. Photo provided by the Bails.