A challenge

The experience of running along my beloved Route 66 the other day was so incredible that I have decided I would like to try something: Beginning Jan. 6, I plan to run a different section of Route 66 in Oklahoma every week (with a few exceptions for travel and such, of course) until I have covered the entire distance from the Kansas/Oklahoma state line to Oklahoma City (roughly the halfway point of 66 in Oklahoma).

I plan to take along a camera and notebook. I also plan to throw down a gauntlet for all of my readers who might be thinking about New Year’s resolutions:

I challenge you to complete a marathon in 2007.

No, you don’t have to do it all by yourself. I’m going to do it with you. And I’m going to do it in such a way that anybody — even someone who is at this moment reading this blog with a Twinkie in one hand and a bag of pork rinds in the other — can pull it off.

The training starts Sunday. While I’m out running the Route 66 Half-Marathon here in Tulsa, you’ll be getting up off the couch and walking one block.

One. That’s it. One lousy block.

Think you can handle that?

I’ll post more details as I work them out. But for now, you just start psyching yourself up to walk one block. You’ve got until Sunday to think about it.


UPDATE: Thomas Hill, ultrarunner extraordinaire and organizer of the Mother Road 100 and the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon, just sent me an e-mail, upping the ante a little bit. If any of y’all want to take six months to get ready for your first marathon instead of a year, Thomas will make you a deal: You can run OKC as his guest. The only conditions are that this must be your first marathon, and you must make a donation (the size is not important) to the Oklahoma Route 66 Association’s historic preservation committee.

Got that? Get yourself ready for your first marathon by April 27, send a few bucks to the OK 66 Association, and you get to run OKC for free.

Beginning Nov. 19, I will post two sets of training runs every day: One for people who want to take Thomas up on his offer (which I highly recommend — I ran OKC this spring, and it was awesome) and one for people who want to take it a little slower and shoot for Route 66 next fall instead.

If you are in decent shape (and by “decent,” I mean you can walk around the block without wheezing), you could easily be ready to run 26.2 miles by April 29.

The usual entry fee for OKC is $60 if you register before Jan. 1, and it goes as high as $80 if you wait until the last minute, so this is a really good deal. The schwag they hand out with the race packet isn’t bad, either, and the finisher’s medal is absolutely beautiful.