By Wendy Hayworth
Staying focused is key. Running a marathon, 26.2 miles, takes more than a strong body, it takes a determined mind.
"I started running after I had my second daughter," marathon runner, Andrea McGehee, said. "I initially started just as a way to get back in shape and eventually it became almost an obsession."
McGehee ran her first marathon, the Dallas White Rock Marathon, in 1998 with a time of three hours and 34 minutes.
After running in a few more marathons, McGehee decided to take it a step further.
"I heard that someone was running in all the states and I decided that was something I could do and just decided to do it," McGehee said.
McGehee was invited to join the 50<4 Club. This club is made up of more than 200 athletes whose goal is to run a marathon in all 50 states in under four hours.
"The toughest one Iíve done is the Pikeís Peak Marathon where you run up Pikeís Peak and then you run down," McGehee said. "Itís actually about 27 miles and itís extremely strenuous because of the altitude."
McGehee completed Pikeís Peak in 2005 with a time of six hours and 30 minutes.
"At the end I just sat down and cried because I was hurting so badly," McGehee said.
To reach her goal of completing each of her 50 marathons in under four hours, McGehee ran in the Colorado Marathon at Ft. Collins in 2013 with a time of three hours 35 minutes and 54 seconds.
"Honest to God, you can have your best race ever and itís still horrendously difficult," McGehee said.
McGehee has suffered few setbacks in her running career. She was forced to put a halt in her goals for nine months when she ruptured her achilles tendon in 2006.
"Itís just one of the toughest things to do because youíre so used to having that outlet for your energy and when you donít have it for a long time it can really drive you crazy," McGehee said.
On October 12, 2013 McGehee completed her goal of running a marathon in every state in under four hours when she completed the ING Hartford Marathon in Connecticut in three hours and 40 minutes.
"It was kind of emotional, especially to have my family there," McGehee said. "Itís a huge accomplishment and Iím really excited to have finished it but a little sad too that itís done."
McGeheeís personal best time broke three hours. In the 2007 Holualoa Tucson Marathon in Arizona, McGehee crossed the finish line with a time of two hours and 58 minutes and five seconds.
"I try to enjoy every moment of every mile," McGehee said.
McGehee is planning to take a month off and focus back on her job as an accounting manager for St. Lukeís Health System. She sees more marathons in her future, just now quite as many.