By Carol Rose
When Carol Reeve took her place among the throng of people running the 2019 Humana Rock and Roll Marathon, on January 20 it marked the beginning of the end of a 30-year quest… Reeve ran her 100th marathon.
“I’m feeling strong, I’m feeling healthy, but you still get nervous even after 99 marathons.”
Reeve, now 56, began running when she was 15 years old while growing up in Chicago. She moved to the Valley in 1989 and fell in with a group of friends who all ran 10k races together. A year into running together, one of the male members of the group asked if she wanted to tag-team a marathon. He would run 13 miles and she would run the rest. Reeve loved the idea except for one thing: she didn’t want to split the race with her friend, she wanted to run the whole 26.2 miles. Her friend balked at the notion that she would complete such a long race.
Reeve explains, “Back then you didn’t see a lot of women running marathons.”
She took his hesitation as a dare and in 1991, at the age of 28, completed her first marathon. It also happened to be Phoenix’s first Rock and Roll Marathon; then known as the P.F. Chang Rock and Roll. Reeve planned on being one and done with marathons, but her accomplishment inspired her runner friends who all asked her to help them train. Before she knew it, Reeve at age 45, had completed 50 marathons.
“That’s when I decided, I would run 100 marathons by the age of 60.”
With the 2019 Humana Rock and Roll Marathon, Reeve accomplishes her quest, four years ahead of schedule. For 28 years, Reeve has been running four and five marathons a year, all over the country. And she has never missed the Rock and Roll Marathons in Phoenix.
“I have cried at every finish line, because every race has gotten me closer to my goal,” says Reeve.
There were times when Reeve thought she might never run again. Severe heel spurs plagued her and then knee pain. After 81 marathons, Reeve says her knees hurt so bad she could barely walk, let alone run. But an intensive strength-training program got her back into fighting shape.
Now, in honor of her 100th race, many of her old running buddies came out to run the race with her and throw a big party afterward. Friends flew in from all over the country to be there when Reeve stepped over the finish line.
“ It was one big celebration from start to finish,” says Reeve, “It means so much.”
As for what Reeve will focus on now that she has completed her 100th marathon, she doesn’t know. The idea of not having this 28-year quest in front of her anymore is a little scary, but she knows one thing for sure—the future holds more marathons.