Superior runner completes marathons in 50 states after giving up cigarettesSixty-four-year-old Tim Sandor, who grew up in Ashland and has lived in Superior since 1975, found running enjoyable and has kept with it for more than 30 years.
Winston cigarettes were Tim Sandor’s favorites. About a pack-and-a-half a day for much of his 17 years as a smoker until getting a self-help kit from the American Lung Association in 1982. To replace his nicotine craving, he started taking walks and then tried running and, in 1983, entered the Ashland Bay Days two-mile race.
Goodbye Winstons, hello endurance sports.
Sandor, 64, who grew up in Ashland and has lived in Superior since 1975, found running enjoyable and has kept with it for more than 30 years. An addiction of the good kind.
He entered Grandma’s Marathon for the first time in 1985 and has since completed 28 straight, and 105 marathons overall, and will be racing Saturday.
“I watched one Grandma’s Marathon, on London Road, and I could not believe these people had run all the way from Two Harbors,” Sandor said last week. “I was in awe and I wanted to do this.”
Although he’s not a speed demon, Sandor says he’s got stick-to-it genes and relies on a training program from distance guru Jeff Galloway. Exercise has provided the strength to increase his marathon pursuits, like running a race in every state.
That task was completed with an ambitious spring schedule, finishing four marathons in less than a month — Big Sur International Marathon on April 28 in Carmel, Calif. (5:11:42); the New Jersey Marathon on May 5 in Oceanport, N.J. (4:48:59); the Colfax Marathon on May 18 in Denver (4:53:54); and the KeyBank Vermont City Marathon on May 26 in Burlington, Vt. (4:47:13).
The sights and sounds of 26.2 miles across the country have been something to behold, says Sandor. There was a Mount Rushmore Marathon in South Dakota that didn’t include Mount Rushmore; a Running With Horses Marathon in Wyoming that included no horses; and the Land Between the Lakes Trail Marathon in Grand Rivers, Ky., that had Sandor falling twice and suffering notable bleeding.
He’s also been from Minneapolis to St. Paul in the Twin Cities Marathon, and from Upson to Hurley in the Paavo Nurmi Marathon. His best time was 3:30 at Twin Cities.
“Every marathon I’ve started, I’ve finished. I’ve never considered dropping out,” said Sandor, a part-time medical technologist at Essentia Health Superior and a retired instructor of phlebotomy (blood collection) at Lake Superior College. “I’m low-key about my running, I don’t push myself, but I’ve enjoyed every race and I’m raring to go for Grandma’s Marathon.”
Sandor is a member of a group called Marathon Maniacs, which lists detailed accomplishments for serious marathoners, and he owns a Grandma’s Marathon lifetime membership (offered briefly in the mid-1980s). He’ll be wearing race No. 1872 this week. His son, Alex, 39, of Superior also is entered.