Thursday, August 30, 2007

Collecting Counties

Recently a member of the Mangum Track Club, David Soloman wrote about his experience running across his home county. Now Mark Long is planning a run across his. I have no plans to duplicate their efforts (my county is a lot wider than theirs) but it reminded me of a goal I was pursuing at one time. In the early 80's I began a new job that required driving over a large territory, I would often carry my running clothes with me and before heading home, I would look for a place to run. Sometimes I would explore towns, other times a trail in a State Park . As I drove I was constantly scouting places that looked like a fun or challenging route. I soon realized I had run in a lot of different counties so I decided to began tracking them on a map. I took a NC highway map and taped it on my wall in the bedroom and after every new county, I would outline it on the map. Since NC has a perfect number of 100 counties, I made it a goal to run in all 100.
I was also occasionally traveling out of state for business and pleasure so I got a Rand McNally road atlas and started marking the States and counties all over the country I had run in. During the Dark Years, I stopped tracking these things and the atlas hadn't been opened in long time. Last night I decided to pull it out and update all the unmarked locations I've been to in the past few years. It took a lot longer than I expected! I was a bit surprised that my count now is up to 81 counties; only 19 to go. Since I'm that close I now have decided to try and complete the map. It will require some effort because all that remain are in the far outlying corners of a very long state. (Roughly 600 miles end to end)
As far as the State count, I am up to 21 now. At the time I started this, the 50 States and DC marathon group did not exist. There probably weren't marathons in more than about 20 States back then anyway. I would like to join that club but the travel and expense are not an option for me unless I hit the lottery so I will be content to run a marathon or ultra out of state once or twice a year while trying to finish my 100 county goal. Probably hundreds of people have done the 50 States and DC thing but I wonder how many can claim they've run all 100 counties of the Great State of North Carolina?

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