Mississippi runner will finish 50 marathons in 50 states quest with Gulf Coast event Dec. 11

Published 8:11 am Thursday, December 1, 2022

For one Mississippi man, the quest to run a marathon in all 50 states in the country will reach the finish line in his home state on Dec. 11.

Natchez resident and financial planner Forrest A. Johnson plans to cross the finish line for his 10-year goal at the Mississippi Coast Marathon in Biloxi.

Johnson started his 50-state marathon journey in 2012 and hasn’t looked back.

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This April Johnson was excited to be invited to run the Boston Marathon.

“It is a tremendous honor and a lifelong goal,” Johnson said last spriung. “It is the pinnacle of marathons, it is a big deal.”

The prestigious Boston Marathon is held annually on Patriots Day, which is the third Monday in April.

Since then, Johnson will has run in four more states: Alaska, New Hampshire, Vermont and New Jersey. He has saved Mississippi for last and chose the Gulf Coast marathon as his final race.

The quest has created many memorable runs for Johnson. During a night race in Nevada, he set his personal record of 3 hours and 59 minutes. Runners crossed through the desert and finished the marathon on the Las Vegas strip under the lights, he said.

Johnson started distance running by racing in 10ks and then worked his way up to a marathon, which is 26.2 miles.

During the week, he trains by running four to five days a week and five to six miles on those week days. The weekend is when he will run a longer distance from 10 to 20 miles depending on how close he is to his next marathon.

“When you are running a marathon it is one step at a time and you just keep grinding,” Johnson said. “It is a great time for me to gather my thoughts. It is one of the things I enjoy about long distance running. It gives me time to relax my mind and clear my head.”

Running marathons has turned in a life-learning experience for Johnson.

“All marathons are unique. It could be miles 22 to 26, but you will hit a wall. Where you hit the wall is different,” Johnson said when discussing his race in Boston. “You have to roll up your sleeves and grind it out. You will always have a tough and gritty finish.”

On December 11, family and friends will rooting f0r Johnson in Biloxi when all of the grit, determination and grinding it out will be worth it and a goal few people have achieved will be attained.