Published by the DAILY RECORD of Morris County, New Jersey
On Sunday, February 10, 2013
Copyright, Madeline Bost, 2013
LIBASCI FEATURED IN NATIONAL MAGAZINE
On page 11 in the December 2012/January 2013 issue of the National Masters News Millington runner Fran Libasci W60, is featured for the Phidippides Award she earned in 2012. The award is given to those who have logged in the required number of race miles for the year. Five kilometer races earn you one point, 10 kilometer is two, and so on. Libasci earned enough points for the award in the first half of the year and perhaps in the first quarter.
In fact Libasci could probably have claimed a dozen or more Phidippides awards if that were allowed. You see she completed thirty three marathons in 2012. Within that achievement were two other accomplishments.
Libasci had already achieved Fifty Stater status, and in 2012 she decided to get it done again. In other words she now has completed two marathons in each of the fifty states of the union.
In addition to being a double Fifty Stater, Libasci is also a member of the Marathon Maniacs. You may recall reading about that group here when I featured Will and Susan DeRoberts of Boonton last February. There are levels of Maniacs and Libasci decided to go for the top achievement – the Ten Star Maniac. She would need to complete thirty marathons in thirty different states.
In the subculture of marathoners you begin to see the same people and Libasci’s view is formed by her observation of what others are doing within the subculture.
“I’m the slacker. I did only thirty three marathons last year,” she said. “That may not be the perspective of the general population of runners. That’s the perspective of the people I’m with.”
Libasci pointed out Larry Macon, who is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records, who did one hundred and fifty seven marathons in 2012. For the marathons to count, they must be official marathons that require registration and a field of official runners.
Libasci had to slack off on the New Jersey races last year and she missed running with her Central Jersey Road Runners club friends.
“That’s the sad part. I love to do New Jersey races” said Libasci. “You know how it is to run with your club and your team. It’s fun to have the camaraderie with people you know. So I wasn’t able to. There are tradeoffs in life.”
Slow marathons are another trade off she said. Her times are in the five to five and half hour range.
“I can’t do thirty marathons in a year and expect to do a four or four and a half hour marathon. If I come in, in five or six hours I’m happy as a lark.”
“It’s a blast. I don’t go fast,” she said. “I can’t go fast. You have a good time.”
Although some states like New Jersey offer only a small number of marathons, Libasci pointed out that she is not limited in her choices because there are several ultra marathons she could to do. It is no surprise then, that she has done several of those in her quest to reach her goal.
But ask what was her most memorable marathon and she is quick to answer. The Bataan Memorial Death March Marathon in Las Cruces New Mexico on the White Sands military site. It began as a tribute to the World War Two veterans who fought in Bataan in the Philippines. Two days before the event the runners went to White Sands to meet and speak with survivors of the march.
“We got to ask questions and some of the answers sent chills up my spine,” said Libasci. “I think I fell asleep in history class when we talked about that subject, so I didn’t know much about it. You gain a great appreciation for what they endured.”
Libasci said race day was hot with wind and sand ‘smacking’ marchers in the face. Most of the course is on paved roads, but mile 19 and 21 goes through ankle deep sand. At Mile 18 was a sort of rest stop, and two World War II vets were in the tent who gave out high fives as the runners passed by. At the finish line more vets stood along the finish line and thanked them for running the race.
“It was torturous, but it was one of the most rewarding marathons I have ever done,” said Libasci.
Has Libasci done it all now and ready to rest on her laurels? Not quite. She is heading to Antarctica in March to run in the Antarctica Marathon. At the Three Days at the Fair, in Sussex County in May Libasci will be entered in the 72 hour ultra marathon where her goal is to reach or exceed one hundred miles. In July she will try for a Quadzilla, that’s Marathon Maniac speak for doing four marathons in four days. Those will take place in the Portland Oregon area where the weather the first part of July is usually cool.
If those three things sound a little tough, don’t mention that to Libasci. She has a different perspective. “I’m going to keep on doing fun stuff.”
Contact Madeline Bost at email@example.com.