Las Vegas runner is 50 for 50 as he finishes quest in Queen City
MANCHESTER — John Maultsby made one final push down Elm Street Sunday with hundreds of spectators cheering him on to the finish line at the Manchester City Marathon.
Maultsby completed the 26.2 miles and something much greater — running a marathon in each of the 50 states.
“It took a while, but I did it,” said Maultsby, a 73-year-old from Las Vegas who ran his first marathon in 2003.
Maultsby was surprised to find during the race that he was already a local celebrity. Announcers along the course told spectators just what the runner wearing bib No. 2550 was about to accomplish Sunday as he steadily made his way around town.
Maultsby also had his own fan club waiting at the finish. About 20 relatives huddled in a pickup bed with a large sign congratulating him on completing a goal he set more than 10 years before.
“I’m very glad that it’s over with — right now, especially,” Maultsby said after finishing with a time of 4 hours, 8 minutes and 49 seconds in the 9th annual city marathon.
“There were a lot of hills in this race. That last one coming up, that was brutal.”
His wife, Mabel, and his mother, Lois Austin of Raeford, N.C., were waiting just beyond the finish line for the first glimpse of Maultsby’s white running cap.
Austin, who will celebrate her 93rd birthday later this month, recalled telling Maultsby to “go for it” when he brought up the idea of running a marathon in all 50 states.
“He doesn’t like all the publicity. He thinks he doesn’t, at least,” she said. “I think he’s pretty pleased.”
A table games supervisor at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Maultsby said part of his morning routine is running to clear his lungs after breathing in second-hand smoke on the casino floor.
Maultsby’s original goal was to qualify for the Boston Marathon. He achieved that on his first attempt during the Las Vegas Marathon in 2003 and, at age 60, lived his dream by running the historic streets of Boston that April, finishing with a time of 3:59:45.
“I started thinking if I’m going to get it done, I’d better hurry up,” Maultsby said.
Maultsby said idea of running a marathon in every state came to him at another race, when he saw a man wearing a 50/50 T-shirt.
“I had never even heard of the 50-state thing,” he said. “It never even crossed my mind until I saw this guy with the T-shirt and I started talking to him. It just seemed like it would be something that I would like to do.”
He entered 2015 with six states to go. He crossed off New Jersey, New Mexico, Maine, South Dakota and Kansas from his list, leaving only the Granite State.
He said each race had its own special memory, including a surprise appearance by a moose that chased him during a marathon in Alaska.
In Manchester, he was touched by the greetings he got throughout the race.
“There were four or five spots in the race where they announced when I came through that I was doing my 50th state. I had no idea. It felt great. It felt like I was appreciated,” he said.
Maultsby finished best in the men’s 70-up division and said it was the 42nd time during his 50-state quest that he won his age group.