Capital Communications FCU Director James Thomas literally ran toward his 50s and hasn’t stopped since. “I guess what happened was sort of like a midlife crisis,” said Thomas. “I was doing a lot of traveling for my job, was getting rotund and as an ex-Marine I knew I had to do something. So I tried walking but that took too much time, then I started running and just got hooked.” Thomas completed his first marathon, the 1995 Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, just before turning 50. He now has the distinction of being the 172nd person in the United States to have run a marathon in every state plus the District of Columbia. He is the ninth New Yorker and the first from the Capital Region to accomplish the feat. He has completed a total of 63 marathons. So just what is it about marathons? “Think about it – where else is it okay to chase beautiful women and have some chase me and it be perfectly legitimate,” chuckled Thomas. “Really it is the total ecstasy of accomplishing a goal that you set out to do. Every marathon is different no matter how many you do and that is a small microcosm of life, every day you get up and never know what will happen.” Not even being operated on for prostate cancer in February 2002 could stop Thomas from reaching his goal of 50 states. About five weeks after the surgery his doctor told him he could start running a little, maybe a mile during the weekend. “I told him I was already doing 10 miles a day,” said Thomas. Thomas went on to compete in a Louisville, Kentucky marathon by April 2002. “I like to collect t-shirts of the races that I compete in, and when I saw someone sporting the 50 & D.C. shirt at one of the marathons I knew it was definitely one I wanted to own,” said Thomas. While proud of his achievements Thomas says he is most proud of the volunteer work he does for the American Stroke Association, a nonprofit agency that raises money through people sponsoring runners. Thomas helps novice runners train for marathons in four to six months. So what’s next? Well, Thomas has heard that only 27 people have completed both the 50 & D.C. and the 13 Canadian Provinces- he’s looking to be number 28. His first leg of that journey begins on August 24th in Quebec City.

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