June 21, 2024

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Dirk Runs a Marathon in Every US State: ‘Still Gotta Go’

Dirk Runs a Marathon in Every US State: ‘Still Gotta Go’

Running a marathon is already an achievement for most, but Dirk van Oerskot (60) from Loosbroek raised the bar even further. He wants to run a marathon in every US state. Fifty in total. On Sunday, he ran his 47th in the state of Maine. “After the first one I thought: I’ll never do this again.”

“The idea came to me in 2007. I was 44 at the time,” Dirk says from his hotel room in the US state of Maine. He was often in America for his work. “I thought running the marathon together would be a fun way to get to know my foreign colleagues better.”

“I was too tired to eat.”

Back in Loosebrook he began training hard, and half a year later he was running in Memphis, Tennessee. This was his first marathon.

It wasn’t an instant success, Turk says with a laugh. “None of us had ever walked. We went to a restaurant, but I was too tired to eat. I was completely devastated. The Americans laughed a little at me.

Turked for the first time since then. But when his colleagues asked if they could come to Amsterdam for a review, he didn’t want to introduce himself. That’s how he got hooked: “I started liking it. In no time I ran ten marathons.”

“It really introduces you to the country.”

It was only when Dirk retired that it really started to take off. “I wanted to run marathons in special places and rough terrain.” He ran in Chile, Australia, Japan and took one on each continent.

In Las Vegas he walked at night because of the heat. That’s where he first heard about the 50-State Charter: a prize for anyone who runs a marathon in all fifty US states. “I’ve done 25 states in that time.” Dirk is the first non-American to achieve this feat.

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So he decided to focus entirely on America for the time being. And it worked. “All I need is Minneapolis and Vermont,” Turk says proudly.

“I’m not going to set a milestone like that anymore.”

To keep up, you need to know your body, says the seasoned runner. Once he reaches his goal, he doesn’t need to slow down. “But I don’t want to set such a goal anymore. It sometimes feels like an obligation. I’m very close now. Let nothing go wrong, like an injury, a canceled flight or the corona again.”

If all goes well, Dirk will run his 48th, 49th and 50th marathons after the summer.