One Step at a Time: 63 Marathons in 63 Days

When Tim Borland crosses the New York marathon finish line on Nov. 3, he will have completed a startling 63 marathons in 63 days in different communites.

"It's over the top for a lot of people," he said. "[For most people] one marathon is enough."

But Borland is not most people. The trainer hopes with each lace-up of his running sneakers and each step on the pavement he'll be raising awareness and money aimed at finding a cure for Ataxia-telangiectasia, or A-T, a progressive and degenerative disease that affects a variety of body systems.

For more information on A-T and to learn more about Borland's journey go to www.atcp.org .

A-T slowly robs children of all muscle control, and most with the disease do not survive past their teens, according to the A-T Children's Project Web site.

Borland's epic feat is part of the A-T CureTour, and while he runs in official marathons some days, on others, he runs a marathon distance of 26.2 miles.

During each trek Borland pushes a jogging stroller.

Sometimes it has an A-T patient aboard; other times it's empty and stands as a symbol of all the people who battle the disease.

Borland decided to participate in the project after watching the daughter of a close friend live with A-T.

Fifteen-year-old Cathryn Achilles served as his initial inspiration, but now he runs for every child with A-T.

"If they can through every day, shoot I can do this," he said.

The Physical Costs

Still, the task is daunting and can take an extreme physical toll. The quest taxes the heart and jars the body.

The ultra-athlete, who already has lost 10 pounds during the process, strikes the ground with triple his body weight 800 times with each mile.

One marathon alone comes out to about 20,000 pulsing steps, and 63 marathons is about 1.2 million paces.

"[Ultra-athletes] achieve a level of fitness where they're at a whole new equilibrium," said Dr. Irene Davis, director of the Running Injury Lab at the University of Delaware. "They don't break down as quickly. They may regenerate quicker. They may have greater reserve than you or I."

Most humans need time for their bones to heal, and doctors are stunned at athletes like Borland, who are able to handle the stress.

But with his wife and two small children supporting him and 1,545 miles already under foot, Borland doesn't see the physical toll -- only the ultimate goal --helping children like Cathryn.

"Honestly, I know its crazy, but I'm feeling stronger than ever. I feel healthy," he said. "I feel like I'm running myself into shape."

When Borland jogs his last step, he said he plans to relax.

"I'm just going to enjoy the day with my wife and kids," he said.

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