From left in that photo taken at Alki are Erika Whinihan, Joe Drake, Heather Free, and Gretchen Tapp. They’re celebrating two major marathon-running achievements achieved on one day, thousands of miles from home, as explained in this announcement we received from Joe:
Local residents Joe Drake and Erika Whinihan, both of West Seattle, along with Heather Free (Duvall) and Gretchen Tapp (Auburn), earned their Abbott World Marathon Majors Six Star Medals in Tokyo on March 5, 2023.
Runners achieve Six Star status, a bucket list item for many marathoners, after completing all of the World Marathon Majors: Tokyo, Boston, London, Berlin, Chicago, and New York City. Bagging Tokyo has recently become elusive. In the interest of pandemic safety, the Tokyo Marathon restricted participation such that non-residents of Japan have not been able to run there since 2019. A large backlog developed and as a result, a record number of runners received their Six Star Medals on March 5. These runners are among the 3,033 runners who took home the medal and earned a Guinness World Record in the process for “most people to earn a Six Star Medal at a single marathon”.
For more on the World Marathon Majors, see this link. And for details of the historic Guinness world record in Tokyo, read this blog post from Joe Drake. You can read about his journey to the Six Star Medal in his book “Run With It: A True Story of Parkinson’s, Marathons, the Pandemic, and Love” available on Amazon and at his author’s website.
Joe’s WMM quest was noted here in October 2021.
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