Cañon City’s Bradley Joins Elite Group of Marathoners

by | Jan 1, 2003 | News Articles

January, 2003 Fit to be Tied Column

From the Pueblo Chieftain
by Gary Franchi


Cañon City’s Bradley Joins Elite Group of Marathoners

It’s only fitting that Marv Bradley’s plans for Christmas Day included going for a run. No, wait. Make that going for, in his own words, a “long, long, long run.”

Coming from Bradley, that’s saying something. We’re talking about a guy who runs 26.2-mile marathons like they were 5Ks (3.1 miles). Who thinks doing ultra-distance races is easier than running marathons. Who ran four marathons in a single month this past October.

This isn’t a young gun, either, although Bradley certainly has a body that belies his 63 years of age. Although he isn’t immune to occasional aches and pains, Marv seems to be indestructible when it comes to amassing miles.

The numbers tell the story. The Honolulu Marathon that Bradley completed (in a time of four hours and two minutes) on Dec. 8 was his 18th marathon of 2002 and the 70th marathon or ultramarathon of his career.

What’s more, it put Marv in select company as only the 162nd runner to have finished a marathon or ultramarathon in all 50 states plus the District of Columbia, according to a national organization (50&DC Marathon Group USA) that keeps such statistics. Also noteworthy is that he’s done them all in the past 10 years.

While reaching this accomplishment was a physical challenge, it also required some travel planning. In September, there was a trip to Delaware to do Stumpy’s Marathon, a hilly trail run. October required two trips, one to do 26.2-milers in New Hampshire and Rhode Island and the second to traverse that distance in Vermont and Connecticut.

While finishing Honolulu to conclude the 50-states-and-D.C. journey may have seemed like a formality, Bradley never considered it that way.

“Until you put your foot on the starting line, you have questions about all of the things that can happen” to prevent you from getting there or finishing, Marv noted.

How Bradley reached his first starting line is a story in itself.

An Iowa native (near Dubuque) who moved to Cañon City 30 years ago to manage the city’s Chamber of Commerce, Bradley made a life-changing decision to quit smoking in 1989 and began a walking program along the city’s riverwalk. Pressed for time one day, he tried jogging and became so out of breath after just a quarter-mile that he thought he was going to die.

Running one mile, Marv said, “became the challenge,” and he was doing that comfortably soon afterward when he would run out a mile and then walk back from his starting point. Eventually, with the help of a runner friend and some Zig Ziglar-like mental motivation, he ran the round trip, and in 1991 Bradley ran his first race — The Pueblo Chieftain’s Spring Runoff, doing the 10K (6.2 miles) race.

Little did Marv know what he had started when he did his first marathon in Steamboat Springs on June 7, 1992. Having done that successfully, the Pueblo River Trail and St. Louis marathons followed in the fall that year.

The marathon log was relatively normal — for a dedicated distance runner — the first few years, with Bradley following up 1992 with four more in ’93, three in ’94, three in ’95, three in ’96 and four in ’97. By then, he had done Boston his first of three times, gone overseas to do the Athens Marathon and made the round trip from Manitou Springs to Pikes Peak and back.

But something else had occurred during this time. Bradley finished the Rocky Mountain 100-Miler in Wyoming in May 1993, did the Colorado Trail 50K (31 miles) in Denver four months later and came back in ’94 to complete the High Plains 100K (62 miles) near Denver.

The ultra-distance bug definitely had bit Bradley, and since then he has stepped up his ultramarathon quest. They have included: · The Dave Garrison Memorial 50K in Colorado Springs in ’97. · The Leadville Trail 100-Miler and Grand Junction’s Kokopelli Trail 50K in ’98. · The Grand Canyon Rim to Rim to Rim 50-Miler and the Centennial Trail 100-Miler in ’99.

Time for these excursions became easier on Dec. 31, 1999 when Bradley retired as marketing director from Fremont National Bank, where he had worked the previous 14 years. That’s when the marathon/ultramarathon pace picked up, with Marv doing eight more long races in 2000, 10 in 2001 and the incredible 18 in 2002.

Does that mean it’s time for him to pull up the rocking chair and hang up the running shoes? Get serious! Bradley has already set his sights on some additional goals.

“I know I would like to do every marathon in Colorado,” he said. “And the 50 Staters club has century members (those who have run 100 marathons/ultras) and I’d like to reach that level. And I could see doing another 100-miler sometime, maybe Leadville again.”

Bradley helps himself stay healthy by watching his diet. He eats no red meat, instead opting for fish and some chicken along with ample amounts of fruits and vegetables. Being a distance runner, he takes in a lot of carbohydrates and some proteins but limits his fat intake.

Having done so many marathons and ultramarathons the past couple of years, Marv is always in marathon shape. Still, Bradley runs about six days and 35-40 miles weekly and does an easy run of 31/2 to 4 hours every couple of weeks or so to maintain his long-distance base and augment his shorter jaunts. His annual goal is to run as many miles as the calendar year; hence, he hopes to run 2,003 miles this year.

Bradley’s regimen also includes working out at the Lincoln Park Fitness Center about five days a week, which includes doing strength training with weights three days and flexibility and “ab” work the other two. It is these workouts that Bradley credits with increasing what he calls his “endurabality” (endurance and recovery rate).


Contrary to what you may think, Marv occasionally shows some “human” traits in his running routine. For instance, he actually shortened his Christmas Day run by reducing the number of loops he had planned to do along Cañon City’s riverwalk.

“I wimped out at 17 miles,” he said with a laugh.

He won’t be wimping out this Jan. 19, though. That’s when Bradley will run the HP Houston Marathon for the first time.

And his globe-trotting odyssey will resume.

Here are some observations Marv Bradley has from his many marathon and ultramarathon excursions:
• Most scenic: Big Sur in California.
• His fastest: 3:19 at the Mt. Rushmore in South Dakota.
• Most emotional: The Marine Corps in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 28, 2001 following the terrorist attacks on 9/11.
• Hardest: Centennial Trail 100-Miler in Black Hills, SD.
• Flatest: High Plains in Goodland, KS.
• Hilliest: Stumpy’s in Newark, DE.
• Best organized: Boston.
• Most community support: Boston and Grandma’s in Duluth, MN.
• Most unusual: Charity Road Race in Carrollton, MI. Included in the out-and-back course were eight identical 5K loops.
• Best post-race refreshments: Great Potato in Boise, ID.

Spring Runoff

Look for entry forms later this month for the 25th annual Spring Runoff that is scheduled for Sunday, March 2, at Dutch Clark Stadium. All four races – 2M walk and 5K, 5M and 10M runs – have been retained this year as well as the 1M kids fun run and the 50-yard toddler race. Participants in the SECAHEC health and fitness symposium that will take place Feb. 28 and March 1 are expected to get a Runoff race discount. One of the side features to remember about the Runoff is that the 10K is a qualifying race for wave seeding in the Bolder Boulder on Memorial Day.

A tuneup 10K, a predicted time race, will take place near the west entrance to City Park on the Sunday prior to the Spring Runoff.

Pikes Peak

Registration has started for both the Pikes Peak Ascent and Pikes Peak Marathon scheduled for Aug. 16-17. You can register online at Information about the entire Triple Crown of Running series, including those races, is available at that web site. There again will be two waves of the Ascent.

Ride the Rockies

The route for the week-long 2003 Ride the Rockies bicycle ride and the registration for it will be available starting Feb. 2 on the event’s web site at

Upcoming Pueblo-area Races

• Jan. 11 – Winter Series I, 10 a.m., 5K/10K,Fox Run Regional Park in Colorado Springs (719-598-2953).
• Jan. 25 – Winter Series II, 10 a.m., 4M/8M, El Pomar Youth Sports Center in Colorado Springs (719-598-2953).
• Feb. 8 – Winter Series III, 10 a.m., 5M/10M, Baptist Road Trailhead in Colorado Springs (719-598-2953).
• Feb. 9 – Valentine’s Twosome partners race, 1.6M each partner, 9 a.m., Pueblo City Park (947-3682).
• Feb. 15 – Frostbite Five, 5M, 10 a.m., Pueblo City Park (543-5151).
• Feb. 22 – Winter Series IV, 10 a.m., Black Forest (719-598-2953).
• Feb. 23 – Spring Runoff Tuneup (Prediction Series race), 10K, 9 a.m., 3912 Goodnight Ave. (564-0847).

Send comments and fitness information to Gary Franchi via e-mail at

Return to Gary Franchi’s running and fitness writings index page.