Up for a marathon? Seattle's Leslie Miller is up for 200 of them

Staff writerOctober 11, 2013 

There won’t be much fanfare Saturday when Leslie Miller crosses the finish line at the Defiance 50K.

And that’s just the way she likes it.

The 33-year-old Seattleite won’t post the news on Facebook or Twitter because she doesn’t use social media. And she won’t submit her accomplishment to Guinness World Records because, she says, “That’s not my thing.”

“I’m just a normal person,” Miller said.

A normal person trying to do something quite abnormal Saturday morning at Point Defiance Park.

If she finishes the 30.1-mile race, it will be her 200th marathon (and her 45th race longer than the standard 26.2 miles).

Some, such as race director Tony Phillippi, believe Miller will be the youngest woman to reach the 200-marathon milestone. Phillippi is co-founder of Marathon Maniacs, a Tacoma-based club with nationwide membership.

Miller is one of the 7,652 members and about to join 76 others in the club who’ve run 200 or more marathons.

“She is in line with other members of the club,” said Phillippi, who has run 235 marathons. “She is very consistent. What’s unique is that she started so young.”

Miller, a scientist who studies neurodegenerative diseases, says she discovered her love of running in college. She was 22 on May 5, 2002, when she entered her first marathon in Cincinnati.

How far has she run since? Counting only her marathon races, more than 5,400 miles. That’s farther than the round trip from Tacoma to her home state of Kentucky via Winnipeg.

On July 19, 2008, the then-28-year-old runner finished her 100th marathon, a trail run in Gig Harbor, and became what some in the running community believe to be the youngest woman to accomplish the feat.

Her races were documented at marathonmaniacs.com, but until earlier this year Guinness World Records listed the record holder as another runner — a 34-year-old British woman, according to a June 17 article on runnersworld.com. Now, Guinness lists the record holder as being Marina White, who ran her 100th marathon in 2012 at age 26.

While the Guinness website lists many marathon records (including the fastest marathon by a man dressed as a baby), it doesn’t have a category for youngest man or woman to reach 200 marathons.

Phillippi said the Defiance 50K will pay tribute to Miller by giving her bib No. 1. Organizers would have given her No. 200, but they printed only 175 for the 50-kilometer race.

Phillippi says the Marathon Maniacs will acknowledge Miller’s accomplishment in its next newsletter but won’t submit the accomplishment to Guinness on her behalf without her blessing.

“I don’t have any interest in that,” Miller said.

Miller, whom Phillippi describes as shy, values her privacy. After briefly trying Facebook and Twitter, she shut down her accounts.

Friends sometimes approach her with recommendations for phone apps she should download to keep herself motivated to keep logging miles.

Her standard response: “You thought I needed motivation?”

Craig Hill: 253-597-8497
craig.hill@thenewstribune.com
thenewstribune.com/fitness
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@AdventureGuys

DEFIANCE 50K

Course: The fourth edition of the trail run has courses of 15, 30 or 50 kilometers.

When: 8 a.m. Saturday.

Where: Start at Owen Beach.

The field: The race is capped at 350 participants.

Registration: Register at the event from 6:30-7:45 a.m. Day-of-race rates are $65 for the 15K, $75 for 30K and $85 for the 50K.

More info: defiance50k.com.

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