Running Motivation – Race Challenges

Contributed by Leanna Peppercorn, a 2017 Ambassador for The San Francisco Marathon.

The San Francisco Marathon is so many things. It is iconic, beautiful, and hilly. It takes place in the greatest city in the world. It also comes with some serious race bling. 

When I signed up for the 2nd Half Marathon in 2015, I stumbled across the Challenges section of The San Francisco Marathon website and was hooked from that point on. I took it upon myself to sign up for the Berkeley Half Marathon later that year, since runners who complete both races consecutively earn the illustrious San Francisco/Berkeley Challenge medal. 

Upon receiving my first medal, I was inspired and signed up for the 1st Half Marathon in 2016. I learned that each half of The San Francisco Marathon is its own unique race with its own challenges. The differences between the two races are depicted on the Half it All Challenge medal, which I earned after completing the 1st Half Marathon in 2015 and the 2nd Half Marathon last year.

At some point between the two races, I was hungry for more and convinced some friends to fly to Huntington Beach with me for a weekend “race-cation” at the Surf City Marathon in February 2016. By running a race at The San Francisco Marathon and a race at the Surf City Marathon, I earned the California Dreamin’ Challenge medal.

Along the way, I also stumbled onto the San Francisco Original Run Series. Running any distance during the following races completes this challenge: Bay to Breakers, The San Francisco Marathon, The Giant Race, and Bridge to Bridge. By taking part in all of these events, runners embark on a tour of San Francisco and achieve a great sense of accomplishment at the finish line of the final race.

I still have a few challenges left in my bucket list with The San Francisco Marathon. Lucky for me, this year is the 40th Anniversary of The Marathon and I am able to partake in both the 40 for 40 Challenge and simultaneously strive to join the 52 Club, as I will be embarking on my first Full Marathon. Runners racing in 2017 and 2018 are eligible to earn the 40 for 40 Challenge medal by running at least 40 miles over the course of two years. The 52 Club goes one step further and requires the completion of 52 miles: first the completion of the Half it All Challenge and then the completion of the Full Marathon.

My ultimate goal is to earn Loyal Runner status in 2020 by running some distance of the race in five consecutive years. Hopefully by 2025, I’ll be fortunate enough to have run the race 10 years in a row. At this rate, I’ll be a San Francisco Marathon runner for the rest of my life!

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