Athlete Bio: John Lui

I met John through Capital Area Runners – and he quickly became one of my favorite people & runners.  He has such a wonderful energy: upbeat, friendly, positive – and he’s always running to help others.  After a bit of a hiatus from speed work, I returned to the track last week – John ran just fast enough to push me really hard, without destroying me – and he did it just because.  That’s the kind of person he is, always helping others achieve their goals, their dreams

This year, John became the youngest person to run 50 marathons in 50 states in less than 4 hours.  Each marathon is a different story, a different experience, of the people he’s inspired along the way (scroll all the way to the bottom to read about his favorite memory).  He’s also a Marathon Maniac (duh!) and hoping to run marathon #100 by March 2013.  John is such an inspiration to the running community, I hope you enjoy getting to know him better.        

Name: John Lui

Age: 24

Location: Washington, DC

Years Running: About 6 years.

Favorite race distance: I only run marathons.

PR: Marathon3:12

How did you get into running? I strictly wanted to lose weight. A few things have changed, and now I’m addicted to running marathons.

How many marathons have you run? 75. I hope to run my 100th next March in DC.

Do you cross train or lift weights: Absolutely. I lift weights about 5-6 times a week. I also Crossfit.

How do you find/make time to train: There is always time. In my honest opintion, it’s all about priorities and time management.

Favorite place to run: All the way up Massachusetts Avenue NW, and all the way to the DC/MD border… and back down.

Favorite/most memorable race: I love the DC marathons simply because all of my family and friends can come out to spectate and cheer.

Favorite pre-race meal: Indian, Mexican, Chinese. I have experimented with it all.

Favorite post-race food: Something light. I am trying to watch my figure.

Favorite quote: “I just felt like running.” – Forrest Gump

Best running advice: Don’t forget to cross-train. It’ll help protect your joints.

Running accomplishment I’m most proud of: I am currently the youngest to run a marathon in under four hours in every state.

What races are you currently training for? I am not training for any particular race, but I am scheduled to run more than 20 marathons this fall.

You just completed 50 marathons, in 50 states.  Tell us about the journey, and what made you take on this {massive marathon} journey? The journey took about 19 months. It began in Philadelphia, PA in November 2010 and ended in Valentine, NE in June 2012. I went on this adventure because… I just felt like running. Also, you only live once (YOLO).

You’re the youngest person to complete 50 marathons, in 50 states, in under 4 hours.  How does this make you feel?  What does this mean to you? It feels great. I took down notes after every marathon, and now I can share a mini-story about every single race. Some of my favorite ones include running and working with complete strangers to accomplish their personal goals.

What are your next plans?  Any more marathons in your future? After my 100th next March, I will transition into triathlons, and more specifically, the Ironman.

You made new friends at almost every race, what’s your favorite story/person you met? Her name is Rebecca, and we met in Providence, RI. From her blog: At around the half, out of nowhere a running angel appeared quietly next to me and flew with me all the way to the finish line. There were no words exchanged while we were running but I could tell he knew I was trying to hold on and he made it clear that he was willing to help me out. Because of him, I had the will to keep up my pace for the last 10K when my body was telling me it wanted to stop. We crossed the finish line together and I immediately hugged and thanked him.

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  1. Whoa! John is a completely bad ass! I’m so inspired… what an achievement to be the youngest to run 50 in 50! I love the story of Rebecca, I think we have all had those silent moments of connection with a friend or a stranger… it is a just a little like two soldiers going to battle together… very bonding.

  2. You hit the nail on the head in your opening paragraph. He is a great teammate! Thanks for featuring him!

  3. My experience with John was like nothing I’ve ever had before in my running career. The bond we formed in the short time we spent together in Providence was so incredible. When we crossed the finish line together I felt like I’d known him for years and yet we hadn’t spoken a word to each other for those 13 miles. I feel so lucky to know him and can’t put in words how much I admire all that he does!!

    • I love your story! John is such a great guy – I imagine he’s helped more people than just you & me! 🙂 He’s so generous!

  4. I love his favorite memory of the runner, Rebecca. That is just beautiful!

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