Crossing the finish line of a 26.2-mile marathon is an elite achievement: less than one tenth of 1 percent of Americans will ever do so.
Larry Macon, JD ’70, takes that to a whole new level.
The Alcalde last wrote about Macon in 2010, when his lifetime total was 620 marathons. By now he’s finished 825, breaking the Guinness World Record for most marathons in a year three times—most recently on Dec. 31, when he ran his 113th marathon for 2011.
Macon, 67, is a full-time trial attorney in San Antonio. He runs two or three marathons every weekend, and he says the greatest challenge is logistical rather than physical. Recently, he flew from Las Vegas to Denver to Boston for races in each locale, and when his second flight was delayed, he sprinted through the airport to catch his flight just in time. He made it to the start line of his race, but only barely.
When he has to, Macon changes clothes in his car. He shoots for four hours of sleep a night; more than once, he’s driven all night to make a race in the morning.
Why does he do it?
“Because life is great,” Macon says. “And running is great. And you meet the most wonderful people. Runners are always optimists.”
Macon isn’t speedy—his finish times average around five hours and 30 minutes—and that’s just the way he likes it. At that pace, he can socialize with other runners.
“It’s like a Catholic confessional out there, I’ll tell ya,” he says. “People you’ve never met before will open up about their divorce, their bad childhood, their hopes and dreams.”
During one New York City Marathon, he ran alongside Snoop Dogg, who rapped for fellow runners.
Another time, he chatted up former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee during the Little Rock Marathon. “I’m a yellow-dog Democrat, but boy, is Mike Huckabee a nice guy,” Macon says. “We had a great conversation.”
About 10 of the marathons Macon does each year are ultras—longer than 26.2 miles. His biggest race had 35,000 runners; his smallest, only 5.
“Some of those trail races don’t even have a trail,” he says. “You’re just running around in the woods, totally lost, climbing rocks and stuff. One race in El Paso, I didn’t see anybody for 25 miles. It got pretty bizarro out there.”
What does Macon think about while he runs?
“Sometimes I solve legal cases,” he says. “But most of the time, I just feel really alive. I’m out there thinking, ‘Isn’t it great to be alive today?’”
Photo courtesy Larry Macon