John "Maddog Wallace: 383 marathons in 132 countries and counting


John "Maddog" Wallace

As I was reading "The Happiness of Pursuit" by Chris Guillebeau, I was deeply moved and inspired by one of the persons he interviewed during his book research on pursuing a quest. This slightly more than one page section comes with the title of "Three Hundred Marathons and Counting (But Why?)"


I was telling myself, "Is it even possible for a human being to run more than three hundred marathons? If so, how many years would the person take?"

It's also the first time I heard the name of John "Maddog' Wallace, the person who has spent the past thirty five (35) years running.. and running.. and running... and running.... and running... and running

I did a little research about John Maddog Wallace on the internet. 

Here is what I found:
  • He ran 383 full marathons in 132 countries in the last 35 years (1982 to 2017), and still counting.
  • He ran thirty-one (31) full marathons in a year in 2006, practically 60% of the 52 weeks. 
  • He ran a marathon in all fifty (50) U.S. states - twice!
  • He is seventy three (73) years-old now this year, and still running (slower).
  • His ran his first sub three-hour race in 1986, when he was forty two (42).

Amazing! My jaw dropped and my glasses almost broke reading his super impressive achievements in running!! It's unbelievable! Is John "Maddog" Wallace even a human?

I guess there is a reason why he was given the nickname "Maddog." :)


"I'm never doing that again!"


When he ran his first marathon in Reno, Nevada, he hit the infamous "long-distance wall" at 30 km. At the finish line, he said to anyone who'd listen, 
"I'm never doing that again!"

I almost burst into laughter when I read it: "I'm never doing that again!"

It sounds so familiar! 😉

After my first 21 km race in 2011, I said to myself and anyone who'd listen,"I'm never doing that again!" But I continued to run few more half marathons after that.

After my first 42 km race at Standard Chartered Kuala Lumpur Marathon in 2012, I was cursing at finish line and saying to myself and anyone who'd listen, "I'm never doing that again!" But after a couple of days later, I ended up registering for the next full marathon, and next and next... I was hooked on running full marathon!

As if I didn't have enough adrenaline in my body, I accidentally registered for my first Half Ironman triathlon event in 2016. After the torturous seven hours and thirty three minutes (7:33) swimming in the muddy lake water, then cycling and running under hot scorching sun, I almost burst into tears at finish line. And I said this to myself and anyone who'd listen, "I'm never doing that again!" But after a year of not doing a triathlon event, I'm missing the torture again!! 😊

Ok ok - the last one. I finally braved myself to run my first ultra marathon 50 km recently. After I finished the race, I told myself I would not run at Genting Sempah for another yeah - fear of hills already!! And I promised to myself and anyone who'd listen, "I'm never doing that again!" But let's see..... my legs are itchy again to return to same event next year. hahaha!


Sound familiar to you?

Does it sound familiar to you? 

Do you also say the same thing to yourself and anyone who'd listen, "I'm never doing that again!"? lol! Or is it just my problem? 

I will never be able to run 383 marathons in my life time with the rate of running an average of five (5) full marathons a year. No way, Jose! Don't even think about it! 😊

In fact I did a little calculation. In order to follow John "Maddog" Wallace's footstep, it will take me a whopping seventy-six (76) years to run 383 full marathons! That's virtually a lifetime of running provided that I started running at age one (1) and living until age seventy-six (76)!!!


What Inspired me...

John "Maddog" Wallace's running story really inspired me. 

His beliefs really strengthen his motivation. 


Permanence, perseverance and persistence in spite of all obstacles, discouragement and impossibilities: It's this, that in all things distinguishes the strong soul from the weak, the obsessed from the normal, the hero from the average.
I am not as obsessive as John "Maddog" Wallace in running. And I won't be able to run 383 full marathons in my life time (and still counting for him). 

But one thing for sure - I would love to have John's fighting, never give-up spirit!! Most of all, I'm inspired to persevere - in running, and whatever I do.


PERSEVERE: to persist in anything undertaken; maintain a purpose despite of difficulty, or discouragement' continue steadfastly.


Written by Vincent Khor on July 27, 2017

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