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Carson Sets New Marathon Record

“Don’t just chase your dreams, run them down.” Sarah Faith Carson, a loan admin and universal banker at Peoples Savings Bank, takes this quote quite literally. On November 14, Carson set the record for youngest woman to run a marathon in all 50 states.

Carson discovered distance running when she was 14. She quickly became a regular at local 5ks during the summer, and she ran with the IFA/AGSWR cross country team in 2017. At the community races she competed in, she listened to other runners' tales of marathons in other states. One acquaintance in the running community was about to complete his 50th marathon in his 50th state. That piqued her interest in expanding her own running horizons.

Her first marathon was in Des Moines when she was only 16 years old. And it was at the Des Moines marathon the next year that she ran her PR (personal record) of 3:49:49. In December of 2018, she ran her first out-of-state marathon on a muddy trail through the Kentucky rains. The next May, she did a marathon in Rochester, MN. In 2019, she ran five marathons, including races in Alaska and Florida. In 2020 she was able to travel to 11 races.

The record for youngest female to complete marathons in all 50 states was previously held by Julia Marino, who completed the 50 states on January 20, 2019 at the Louisiana Marathon in Baton Rouge, LA at the age of 20 years, 6 months. Carson was inspired to beat that record. With a time limit to her goal, as she turned 20 in June of 2021, she planned for efficiency. One six day stretch, she ran the New England Challenge of a marathon each in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island. To complete marathons in 32 states this year, she kept a withering travel pace, leaving after work on many a Friday night, running through airports to catch her connections, and getting home early Monday morning for a few hours of sleep before making it to work. A few of her races were longer than a marathon's 26.2 miles, including the 52k (32.3 miles) she ran in Arizona. In New Mexico, she ran a grueling 33 miles in 8:49:51, setting her record for longest time running. Her Hawaiian race was peculiar in that it started in the evening and ran through the night on a lonely stretch of road. Unfortunately, since it was dark, she wasn’t able to enjoy the scenery!

November 14, 2021 marked the completion of a marathon in her 50th state: Delaware. While everyone speculates on her next goal, she continues her running streak of at least a mile every day since April 29, 2019. There have been rumors of her interest in buying a rocking chair, but friends and family don't think that's likely.

"It's been an amazing journey, and I'm thankful for every part of it. My family and friends have been so encouraging, and I've met many inspiring people along the way," Carson said. "Life is a gift from God, and it's good to live each day to the fullest. My advice to others would be to chase your dreams, never give up, and don't stop believing."

Carson works at Peoples Savings Bank, Ray Haupt‘s dairy and as a part-time news writer for Mid America Publishing.