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1. Katie Maehlmann, center, and her husband, Rick, left, ran her first marathon together at the 2001 Rocket City Marathon. On Dec. 8 Katie will continue her quest of running a marathon in each of the 50 states as she’ll run in her tenth Rocket City Marathon. Contributed

Maehlmann Tackles The Effort Of Running Marathon In All 50 States

MADISON-  The December 8 Rocket City Marathon will be the 43rd running of the 26.2-mile race through many parts of Huntsville. The event will also be the 36th marathon race for Madison’s Katie Maehlmann who is attempting to run a marathon in all 50 states. So far, the 41-year old has crossed the finish line of marathon races in 24 states across America.

“The appeal of this trek is, you see so much of our country from a different perspective than from driving through in a car,” said Maehlmann. “You’re on the streets of all of these communities and you’re part of the land. It’s a fun challenge.”

This will be Maehlmann’s tenth effort at the Rocket City Marathon and her eighth as a race “pacer,” which are those who are chosen to assist others in the race to try and keep a pace for their own personal race agenda. She and a friend will keep a 9-minute, 43-second per mile pace for those wanting to stay in that timeframe. She will carry a dowel with the pace time listed so others can follow her lead. The pacer is a challenging effort by elite runners such as Maehlmann.

“It’s harder than I expected as it’s difficult to get into a rhythm,” said Maehlmann. “But it’s necessary and it’s my way to give back to the race that was my first attempt at the marathon distance. While running along I have chats with those around me and is an excellent opportunity to promote our community.”

Maehlmann has been married to her husband, Rick, for 14 years. He, too, is an avid runner and actually volunteers on race day by assisting setting up the course early before the runners advance to the start line in downtown Huntsville. They have four children, ages 12, 11, 4 and 1 and all will be in attendance at the race on Saturday.

The Maehlmanns met through a mutual friend and began running together and continue to do so in Maehlmann’s attempt to race in all 50 states. Their trips have included air flights to locales, such as Hawaii, but most are within a reasonable driving distance. They have participated in just as many races together after their children were born as they did before their births. Today, when traveling to races they incorporate a family babysitter. The children ages 11 and 12 many times take to the race course with Maehlmann and she said it’s great to have them along in a race.

“We are a running family as I even ran during my pregnancies and I encourage other women to do the same,” said Maehlmann. “I followed my doctor’s orders and all of my children are healthy and I’m right there with them.”

The former teacher in the Madison City School system is now a stay-at-home mother and wife. She loves her quest in running the marathons and indicated the Hawaii marathon was wonderful as the race course was along the ocean and presented incredible opportunities for beautiful scenery that only a postcard could capture.

Maehlmann said Hawaii was not her favorite marathon, but instead, after several thoughts, said her first marathon was her favorite. She added, “The Rocket City Marathon in 2001 is my favorite as I ran a 3:45 in that one and I was bitten by the marathon bug as I ran four in my first year. Plus, that first year I won a $1,000 door prize.”

In those early races, the Maehlmanns usually could be seen holding hands as they crossed the finish line together. Even their first photo of them taken together was during that first trek through the course of the Rocket City Marathon.

“I love the Rocket City Marathon as in several ways has a piece of my heart,” added Maehlmann. “At one time the race was going away, but was revitalized by several sources including Fleet Feet of Huntsville. They changed the course a couple years ago, which now includes running through the Space and Rocket Center and the Botanical Gardens and that is even a great way to advertise our great community. I hope the race is here to stay for a long time to come.”

As Maehlmann will continue in her quest for all 50 states, she was quick to point out if she feels she can’t secure her running mission she may just repeat the races in the states instead.

“This is a life goal,” said Maehlmann. “For me to finish, it may take 20 more years.”

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