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Minnesota woman completes 50 state marathon quest in Steamboat

A pack of half-marathon runners makes its way toward Steamboat Springs on Sunday.
Scott Franz

— Visiting all 50 states is an accomplishment in its own right. Running a marathon in each is a whole different ball game.

Minnesota’s Shannon Lorbiecki accomplished that feat Sunday when she ran in the 35th annual Steamboat Marathon, finishing 77th overall and 33rd among women with a time of 4 hours, 9 minutes, 52 seconds.

But the story isn’t her time. It was how Colorado became state No. 50 in her 16-year quest to run a marathon in every state.



“I thought it would be fun to try and see how many places you can get to,” Lorbiecki said. “A lot of people finish in either Alaska or Hawaii, but because I have family here and my parents live in Arizona, we live in Minnesota, so Colorado is kind of in the middle.”

What makes Lorbiecki’s story so fun is how late she started this journey. She ran her first marathon in 2000 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. She was in her late 30s at the time, and thought the marathon would be a one-time affair.



Before she knew it, things had escalated beyond her wildest dreams.

“It was going to be my one and only,” Lorbiecki said. “I started one a year, then I started doing one in the spring and one in the fall, then pretty soon it was three or four. Then, the last few years, it’s been like maybe about eight a year, to get them done.”

In her first marathon in Wisconsin, she qualified for the Boston Marathon and couldn’t pass on the opportunity to compete. A few races later she met a friend who inspired her to try and go for all 50 states.

Sunday, only 26.2 miles from Hahn’s Peak Village to downtown Steamboat Springs separated her from accomplishing that goal.

“It was incredible. I thought I would get more (emotional),” Lorbiecki said about crossing the finish line. “Kudos to the town and the organizers. For a really small race, it was extremely well done. I really enjoyed it.”

With her tall task taken care of, Lorbiecki is trying to figure out what’s next. At 53, she still has the pluck to keep going. Some go for the Seven Continents Club, but she isn’t excited about the prospect of racing in Antarctica, a requirement.

Instead, Lorbiecki’s next goal looks to be completing the “Majors,” a six-marathon tour that includes Boston, New York, Chicago, London, Berlin and Tokyo. Of the six, she has already crossed off the three in the United States and she ran in London within the past year.

To reach Austin Colbert, call 970-871-4204, email acolbert@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @Austin_Colbert


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