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Man on a journey to complete a marathon in every state, to finish in Idaho

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REXBURG — The Teton Dam Marathon will be an extra special race for one man this year, as he completes the last race on his mission to run a marathon in all 50 states.

Frank Fumich, an avid runner from McLean, Virginia, has completed 123 marathons to date, making his marathon in Rexburg his 124th, and Idaho his final state.

“At some point three or four years ago, I realized that I had done marathons in like half of the states, so I thought, ‘Gosh, maybe I should actually try to finish them all instead of running the same ones locally. It would be fun to travel and try them in every state,'” Fumich says. “So then it became more of an active goal these last couple of years.”

The Teton Dam Marathon stretches for 26.2 miles and begins at the site of the Teton Dam, then ends in Rexburg at Smith Park.

“I’m saving the best for last!” Fumich says of the June 4 race.

Although he was supposed to attend a race on May 14 in Boise, the Famous Idaho Potato Marathon, Fumich’s connecting flight in Phoenix got canceled, forcing him to go home to Virginia and miss the race. After the missed Boise race, he competed in five marathons over the course of five days in Maine, Iowa, South Dakota, Minnesota and North Dakota.

“It was sad, but it’s kind of cool because it would’ve been my sixth marathon in seven days, and I was going to be so tired,” says Fumich. “But it’s kind of nice that I got to rest for two weeks, and now I just get to come there and finish it.”

Frank Fumich Medals
Fumich has competed in 123 marathons, making the Teton Dam Marathon his 124th.| Courtesy photo

Fumich hasn’t always been so keen on running, but after so many marathons and ultra-marathons, it’s grown on him. His longest accomplishment was in Canada, a 350-mile sled run, starting at the Arctic Circle and ending at the Arctic Ocean.

“I’ve done some totally insane, wacko stuff,” says Fumich. “Everyone is making such a big deal about a marathon, but in my world, a marathon is not that crazy for me, to be honest with you.”

mug
Every time he runs a marathon in a new state, Fumich colors in the state on this mug.| Courtesy photo

Running for a good cause

Over the course of his running career, Fumich has raised over $500,000 for various charities and people struck by tragedy.

“I had an aunt who was diagnosed with a brain tumor. I was a total non-runner, but I did it to dedicate to her while she was fighting her cancer,” says Fumich. “I went from 0 miles to a marathon in two and a half months and swore I would never do another one. Then one thing led to another, and now, 24 years later, I’ve done 120-something races all over the world, and I never would’ve dreamed that it would’ve taken me to where I am now.”

Fumich has raised money for various children with cancer, the Boston Marathon bombing victims, and even lead a blind friend through the entire course of the Boston Marathon.

“I’ve done the (Boston Marathon) three times,” he says. “I qualified once, and then after the Boston bombings, I actually ran from D.C. to Boston and raised like $85,000 dollars for the bombing victims, and so they gave me a free entry because of that. I also guided a blind friend of mine when he was running Boston, so I was his running guide for that.”

Fumich also has 12-year-old twin daughters who are making their own mark in the running world.

“I ran a 5K with them after my five marathons in five days, and amazingly, my one daughter finished third out of like a thousand people. I literally could not believe it,” Fumich says.

Finally close to finishing his running quest, Fumich reminisces on the challenges he’s had to overcome throughout the process.

“It takes a lot of discipline,” Fumich says. “And God, a lot of sacrifices.”

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