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Runner Finishes 40 Marathons Before Age 40

Oct 06, 2016 04:17PM ● Published by Tori LaRue

Taylorsville resident Cara Hasebi ran 40 marathons before her 40th birthday. (Cara Hasebi/Resident)

Gallery: Runner Finishes 40 Marathons Before Age 40 [3 Images] Click any image to expand.

By Tori La Rue | tori@mycityjournals.com


Cara Hasebi simultaneously burst through the Huntsville Marathon finish line and a long-term goal on Sept. 17, completing her 40th marathon before her 40th birthday. 

“It’s pretty amazing, actually,” Hasebi said as she laughed. “I wasn’t sure if I could do it. I am careful about goals I set because I am so hard on myself if I don’t reach them, and this was one I wasn’t sure if I could actually do.” 

By her 38th birthday in 2014, she’d finished 30 marathons, so she planned to run four 26.2-mile races in 2015 and six in 2016 before her birthday on Dec. 1. 

“I did the math, and I realized I’d be pushing it hard, but I could probably do it,” she said. “It wasn’t until a few weeks ago when I was looking at all my medals and preparing, and I realized: Oh my gosh. I did this—I’m really doing this.” 

Hasebi’s running journey started 21 years ago after the birth of her first child. She would run 2 miles at a time on the treadmill, trying to stay fit as a new mom, she said. Hasebi, a Taylorsville native, saw a flyer for a Murray 5k fun run, brought it home and contemplated whether she could run 3 miles in a row. With the encouragement of her husband, Nate, Hasebi signed up for the race. 

“I’ve never been so terrified at the start line of a race,” she said about the Murray 5k. “I kept thinking, ‘Please don’t let me come in last place’ because I didn’t know the caliber of the other runners.” 

As a racing rookie, Hasebi said she was relieved to see several people leave the starting block jogging and walking. Hasebi didn’t come in last place, and she said the race gave her the drive to try something harder. Hasebi was running in the annual Deseret News Classic 10K two months later. 

The 10k racing packet included advertisements for future races, and the Hobble Creek Half caught Hasebi’s eye. She and her husband trained for the 13.1-mile race and ran it together that fall. All in all, Hasebi went from running 2-mile to 13-mile stretches in one year, and she said she hasn’t looked back since. The next year, Hasebi ran her first marathon—The 2005 Salt Lake Marathon. 

“It was so hard, and I’ve never quite felt the same feeling as I did crossing the finish line of that marathon,” Hasebi said about her first marathon. “But I keep racing because of that feeling that’s still somewhat there. You can’t get from anywhere else.” 

For many people, running a marathon is a bucket list item, but for Hasebi it become a way of life, she said. In 2006 she conquered the Utah Grand Slam race series, running five Utah marathons in one year. Then she challenged herself with the Goblin Valley Ultra Marathon, a 50k race. 

“It almost killed me,” Hasebi said about the 31-mile race. “The next year I did none because I just said, ‘I’m done with running.’” 

She didn’t stay away for long. In 2008 she returned to the running scene where she’s remained. Her children are so accustomed to cheering her on at the finish line that sometimes they’re sick of it, she said, and she’s run most of the major races in Utah.

Hasebi’s next goal is to run at least one marathon in each of the 50 states. So far, she’s claimed eight states; most of them are on the west side of the country, including Montana, where she ran the Missoula Marathon, and Oregon, where she ran the Wildwood Trail Run Marathon. She said she hopes to add Colorado to the list next year by running the Steamboat Marathon. 

“There’s always another race I want to conquer,” Hasebi said. “I think people underestimate their abilities. I think if we put our mind to do something, we can accomplish it.”   

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