April 20, 2014

A Guide to Giving

26.2 Miles x 45 = Quite a Record

Photo by Michael VenturaFor years, Bethesda’s Ben Beach has been nipping at the heels of Neil Weygandt, a runner three years his senior from Upper Darby, Pa., who held the record for completing consecutive Boston Marathons.

In April, Beach finally caught up to him. He and Weygandt, who didn’t run this year, are now tied with 45—a world record for consecutive completions of an annual marathon.

“It was very exciting to finally tie [Neil’s record],” Beach says. “I just wish I hadn’t done so while running the slowest marathon of my life.”

Blame it partly on the heat: It was 85 degrees that day. Beach completed the 2012 Boston Marathon in 5:55. His best time was 2:27, which he recorded three separate times.

Beach wrote about his Boston Marathon experiences in 2005 as he was preparing for his 38th race there. Now 63, he first started distance running as a senior in high school and entered the Boston race in 1968 with no previous marathon experience.

“Distance running has [become] a wonderful part of my life,” he says, “and I am grateful that my body has held up as well as it has.”

Since 2002, however, Beach has struggled with dystonia, a neurological condition that affects his stride and makes him more susceptible to injury. Accordingly, Beach has to reduce the number of miles he trains and “back off when something starts to act up.”

An editor at The Wilderness Society for 27 years, Beach left that job in 2011 and now works for the State Department’s Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations.

Beach says he intends to run in the Boston Marathon as long as he can. If he finishes next year, he alone will hold the world record.

—Tessa Berenson

Click here to read the original story from Bethesda Magazine.

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