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  • Writer's pictureJoe Nail

Project 1310 | Episode 5: Kansas

The first few days of this summer were insane. Quick overview:

Take my last final at Stanford at 12 PM. Lead For America meeting at 2 PM. Pack in 45 minutes and hop on a plane to Alaska. Drive 6 hours to Denali. Marathon + 1,000 push-ups through the night. Sleep 3 hours. Drive 6 hours to Anchorage. Fly to Honolulu. Sleep 4 hours. Marathon + 1,000 push-ups at Waikiki Beach and Pearl Harbor. Fly out immediately to LA. Drive 6 hours through LA traffic to Death Valley. Sleep 30 minutes. Run marathon + 1,000 push-ups in Death Valley. Drive to Las Vegas. Hop on a plane to KCMO. Run marathon + 1,000 push-ups, finish at 11:15 AM. Speak at U.S. Conference of Mayors event at 12 PM.

Looking back at that now, I do genuinely wonder how I made it through without completely breaking my body. But it did take its toll, and that came out full force for marathon #5 in Kansas.

I am a very proud Kansan. Living in California now, I typically hear one of the following:

A) “Wow, you’re not in Kansas anymore.”

B) “I didn’t even know people lived there.”

C) “Wow, good for you for making it out.”

My response?

Do you like food? Much of the country’s beef and wheat is from Kansas. Do you like winning World Wars or the modern highway system? Eisenhower! Exploration? Amelia Earhart. Airplanes? Wichita, aviation capital. The birthplace of basketball? James Naismith and KU.

In any case, there were a lot of places I could have run the Kansas marathon, but I thought it would be special to run where my running career began: my high school track. As a 400/800 runner, I prided myself on never running more than 4 miles and never racing for more than 2 minutes. It would be the ultimate irony to be back 10 years later to run not 4, but 26.2.

The good news from marathon #5 was I had so many friends join me on the track: friends from elementary and high school. Army Officer Candidate School. High school teachers. Everyone came out in full force! The bad news from the first step I felt like I was getting a nice stab in the quad. But as I always say, no excuses; we get the job done. 105 painful laps on the track later, marathon #5 was done.

Up next: Las Vegas, Nevada



Over the course of 50 marathons, Joe will be running a total of 1,310 miles. Each and every mile will be dedicated to a veteran or service member nominated by this community.


In each of the 50 states, Joe will be running the marathon and completing the push-ups in an iconic location, from Pearl Harbor in Hawaii to the steps of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., and encouraging everyone to come out and walk or run a mile in honor of a veteran or service member who you know or admire. In each state, Joe and the crew will also be meeting and walking or running with local veterans groups and active military service members.


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