JAMES CITY—– Dov Troup runs for those who can't.
After serving 21 years in the Navy, he felt it was time to give back to his fellow military veterans. A long-time runner, he decided that after turning 50 last January, he would attempt to complete 50 marathons in 50 weeks to raise money and awareness for the Wounded Warrior Project.
"I looked at some other organizations," said Troup, "But Wounded Warriors really made sense. And I can kind of relate to those guys since I'm prior military."
There were several ways he could've completed his goal. Troup pondered running 50 marathons in 50 days rather than 50 weeks. He scrapped the idea, but not because of the rigor.
"I have to work everyday. I seriously gave 50 marathons in 50 days some thought, though."
Troup is well on his way to completing 50 marathons. Among his 44 runs are races in Seattle, Gettysburg and California. Nearby races have included the Shamrock Marathon in Virginia Beach and the Richmond Marathon. He also ran both the Colonial and Run for Dream half marathons in Williamsburg.
That required a little ingenuity.
"I ran 13.1 miles to the start of the half marathons to get in a full marathon."
Of the races he's run so far, the North-South Marathon in Gettysburg was his favorite. Race organizers divide runners into North and South. The side with the most top runners is declared the winner.
"It made it challenging to go out and not only run, but compete against North or South," said Troup.
The majority of his marathons, though, are what he likes to call "home-grown." Troup has several 26.2-mile routes around greater Williamsburg that he runs on Saturday mornings.
"If I see people out running, I'll usually try and catch up with them for a few miles and talk about the cause and why I'm running," he added.
Troup's biggest challenge was staying healthy enough to complete all 50 marathons. Around week 19, he tore a calf muscle and missed four weeks of running. Once he had recovered, he doubled up on races, running marathon distances on Wednesdays and Saturday to make up for lost time.
"From that point on, I was really trying to stay healthy," he said. "And I've been pretty lucky."
Repetition typically improves stamina. Not to Troup.
"I recover pretty quickly after each race, "but they're definitely no easier to finish."
But the end is near. Troup will run his 50th marathon on Dec. 22, starting and finishing at the Veterans Tribute Bell Tower in New Town. He will start at 10 a.m. and expects to cross the finish line around 1:45 p.m. Troup is inviting runners to join him, whether for all 26.2 miles or just the last two or three. A few Wounded Warriors will also be on hand to participate.
"I'm really looking for people to join me on that final run," he said. "I want this race to bring out a lot of people."
Troup's goal in this challenge was to raise $5,000 for the Wounded Warrior Project. And as of Nov. 20, he was halfway to that point.
For more information visit the "50 marathons 50 weeks benefitting Wounded Warriors" Facebook page.