Craig Thompson realized he had gotten out of shape from going several years without exercising.
“I had put on a bunch of weight, living unhealthy,” Thompson said. “When my wife said she was going to run the (500 Festival Mini-Marathon in 2008), I said I could do it, too, and she looked at me like, ‘there was no way you could.’ That got my competitive juices flowing. I signed up for the same one. I did it and she kicked my butt by about 30 minutes. After that I made her sign up for another one because I didn’t want to lose again. I haven’t looked back and she hasn’t come close since.”
By December, the Carmel resident graduated to full marathons of 26.2 miles and ran his first one. When he starting running again, he was 260 pounds but soon got down to 220.
Now 46, Thompson has done the Carmel Marathon all eight years, so it was fitting his 100th full marathon was the Carmel Marathon March 31. His daughter, Ella, 14, a Carmel High School cross country runner, completed her first half-marathon that same day.
“Carmel is my favorite. It’s the one I’ve run the most, and it’s nice to hop on my bike and ride it to the starting line,” Thompson said. “I really enjoyed Alaska as well. I like trail marathons.”
Thompson’s first marathon was in Las Vegas in December 2008. His 50th state to run a marathon in was in Hawaii in June 2015.
“It was 95 degrees, and it was hard,” Thompson said.
His 101st full marathon will be May 6 in Cincinnati.
“I try to do one a month,” said Thompson, who owns AmeriFirst Home Mortgage in Henry County.
He also has done some ultra marathons of 50K (30 miles) and 50 miles.
“I have a problem. I can’t sit still,” he said.
Sometimes he has run marathon in back-to-back days for economic reasons.
“I ran a marathon in Connecticut, hopped in the car and woke up the next morning and ran one in Rhode Island,” Thompson said. “I’ve done two in a weekend a few times.”
One thing Thompson has learned is how much he enjoys traveling. He brings his wife, Ann, Ella, and youngest daughter, Makenna, 12, with him on many trips.
“Nowadays, I’m trying to visit national parks, so I’ll coordinate with a marathon,” Thompson said.
For example, the family visited a national park and he completed a marathon in Maine in October 2017.
“We’ve made a lot of fun family trips doing this,” said Thompson, whose best time was 3 hours, 37 minutes in the 2014 Illinois Marathon in Chicago.
Thompson trains with two rescue Labrador retrievers, Brownie and Rocky.
“The good thing about dogs is it doesn’t matter when you want to run, whether it’s 4 in the morning or 10 degrees or 100 degrees, I put my shoes on and they know what time it is,” Thompson said. “They’ve put a lot of miles in with me.”