It started in 1998 with the desire get in shape and release some stress from the general demands of life. About 15 years later, David Darr is a machine among men. He has tackled 85 marathons, running at least one in each of the 50 states.
The local chiropractor quickly fell in love with running, and he began challenging himself to the limits. His bucket list included a goal to run at least one marathon in every state before he turned 50 years old. He was able to check that off the list on June 23, when he ran the marathon at Kona, Hawaii.
Darr turns 50 on Oct. 19. As a chiropractor, he wanted to set an example to his clients. “This is something I can point to when I tell my patients to take a walk for 30 minutes three times a week,” he said. People can find hundreds of reasons to avoid exercise or running, but they only need to find one reason to strap on a pair of shoes.
Darr likes to provide this motivation and share what he knows to anyone who is interested. “That is how I give back,” Darr said.
Within two years of his newfound devotion to running, he built his stamina to where he could finally confront the daunting distance of a marathon: 26.2 miles. His first one was in fall 1999, at the Cuyahoga Valley National Park Tow path. Two weeks later, he ran the Columbus Marathon. At that point, he found his path to Zen.
As he continued running marathons, he noticed the people who wore certain T-shirts — specifically, the “50 State Marathon Club” and “Marathon Manics Club” — were typically out front. Darr has become a member of both clubs. He has also picked up a philosophy that defines his race: It’s not about the time on the clock; it’s about completing the race while having fun. Darr has suffered a number of injuries over the years, but the challenges have simply taught him to adapt, concentrate and push on.
In 2004, he was almost forced to give up running after a serious martial arts injury. Three months later, he could walk a mile. Another three months, he could run a mile without pain. Turns out, it only slowed him down.
Susan Vishey, Darr’s sister, said her brother has inspired her. “I have run five marathons,” Vishey said. “I’m proud of the five I have done.” She ran the Hawaii marathon with her brother, who also celebrated his ninth wedding anniversary there with his wife, Mary.
And Darr still isn’t done testing himself. His next benchmark: 100 marathons.