Sunday , September 10 2017
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Cathy - Life 2

Life on the road running races

Forward: Our life with Mainly Marathons keep us on the road, traveling through 44 states. As we wander the countryside, I have often marveled at the tenacity of our RV. Up and down mountains, interstate traffic, inclement weather, you name it, our RV has seen it and if that’s not enough, we spent nearly 18 months living in our house on wheels. Not once has “she” failed us. In this blog I am giving our RV a voice as she explains our life on the road.

I am parked next to a tranquil, secluded trail, in a small, out-of-the-way town. I am one of several RVs parked along the trail, resembling a traveling circus. Within minutes, an entire event is staged; complete with tables and awnings, right outside my door. The red trailer I haul has a banner that reads Mainly Marathons.

Before I know what is happening, the nearby parking lot fills up with cars, and out of them pour a swarm of people. They huddle near the awnings but soon they leave the staging area, some walking and some running.  This is a new experience for me — having such a large group of people laughing and talking and having a good time. But this isn’t just any group of runners and walkers; these are participants in a Mainly Marathons event.

The group, some young, some old, did not go far before they turned around and came back to where they started from, right outside my door. Some of them stopped for food and drink, and they all stopped to put something on their wrists before starting out again.

One runner asked the other, “Did you get a rubber band?” The response was, “Yes. I was told to take one, but I don’t know what it’s for.” The runner responded, “That’s how you track how many times you have been out and back. You don’t want to forget to take one every time you go to the aid station or you will lose track and perhaps run extra miles.”

Every once in a while I smell something really good. I heard several participants tell the others on the course that Norm had just made fresh, hot paninis. One runner in particular stated, “I love everything that Norm cooks.”

Cathy - Life 1

Norm is my owner and he has a mobile kitchen in the red trailer he uses to prepare food for the runners.

As the hours creep by, the group of runners and walkers grow smaller. I heard some say that they were finishing here and moving on to tomorrow’s site. You’re kidding, right? I wanted to say. There’s another event tomorrow, somewhere else? I think I heard a runner say this is day one of five.

I watched as the runners finished. The fast ones at the beginning of the crowd are doing what is called the 5Ks, then came the mid-pack. They are doing what some called the half marathon. What shocked me was the distance of the half marathon; 13.1 miles.

Then, if that wasn’t shocking enough, some were doing a full marathon. That is 26.2 miles! And they are going to do that distance again tomorrow, somewhere else? There are some that are even doing Mainly Marathons’ new distance, the 50K. Wow! Now that’s endurance!

I was proud as could be to watch all the finishers receive a medal for their effort. I don’t mean just any medal either. This was bling worth hanging on their wall. I also noticed that the first, second and third place finishers did not get extra recognition.

It’s getting late. The parking lot is emptying as participants finish, pack up and head out of town. Even one of the campers has left with some of the tables. There are just a few participants still on the course. I keep an eye on them but I am not alone.

Crew members are still on site and will remain here until everyone has finished. The remaining participants are hot, tired and some are even feeling miserable, but I see them smile when another runner cheers them on or gives them a drink. Today I have watched total strangers become cheerleaders, supporters and even friends.

It’s down to one participant. He is being cheered on by the crew and a few runners that remained to see him come in. He crosses the finish line last, but not alone. Tired, but thrilled he accomplished his goal. What’s this I see, they are giving him an extra award. Because he came in last, he is being handed an antique train caboose that reads, “The Best is Last.”

Evening has prevailed. The awnings and tables have been packed and we are ready to leave. I can’t help but think of the accomplishments achieved today.

For some of the participants, this was their first race while others were achieving goals such as “Sun” or “Fifty State Finisher.” From the inexperienced to the masters, everyone had a successful day.

While supplies were being packed, I peeked at a business card someone had dropped. It said, “For more information on Mainly Marathons, go to

About Cathy Duesterhoeft

Cathy and her husband, Norm, travel throughout the United States in their Brave Winnebago working for Mainly Marathons. When home in Westfield, Wis., their RV is parked on a gravel pad while they finish construction on their new home. Cathy documents their many adventures on her website at

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