Yuma resident Wendy Beckers recently completed 52 half-marathons in 52 weeks.
Beckers finished her final event, the Inaugural Los Angeles New Year's Half Marathon, on Jan. 5.
At the completion of the marathon in LA, Beckers' husband, Marty, placed all 52 medals she had received for finishing each marathon around her neck to celebrate her victory.
“It feels absolutely amazing!” Wendy Beckers said. “I have set goals in my life before, but never something so physically taxing and long-term like this. The moment that I crossed the finish line of my 52nd half-marathon was absolutely surreal because it was the finale to a project that I've been working on for an entire year.”
Beckers was “really proud that I was able to actually run every single race,” she said. “Even up the hills – I might have been chugging along slower than most of the pack, but I never once walked in any race, and I am just so excited and happy that I did it!”
Combining all the half-marathons together, Beckers ran a total of 681.2 miles. Including the training she completed in preparation for each marathon, “I actually ran closer to 1,000 miles these past 52 weeks,” she said. “That freaks me out to say that.”
Beckers decided to take on the challenge as a way to test her self-determination.
“It became a matter of doing what I said I was going to do and finishing what I had started,” she said, adding that completing the challenge “is my way of showing myself how far I've come.”
This personal accomplishment comes after another huge milestone in Wendy's life.
“Just a few years ago, I was 330 pounds, and not able to stand from a seated position without help,” she said. “The thought of running even a few feet, let alone 13.1 miles each week for an entire year would have seriously made me want to throw up.”
When Beckers and her husband first met in June 1999, the pair weighed 330 pounds and 287 pounds, respectively. Tired of being unfit, the couple changed their lifestyle and were able to lose more than 200 pounds together.
“Losing the weight has given me a new outlook on my life – we are all important to somebody, so we should be important to ourselves,” she said. “Taking the time to accomplish something that a few years ago, I never would have thought would be possible is an addicting and exhilarating feeling.”
Beckers says she hopes her accomplishments will inspire others.
“You just have to make the decision to do it!” she said. “Hopefully there are people out there who will read this story about some strange girl who spent an entire year proving to herself that she can accomplish even the most ‘out there,' unreachable goals – and they will realize that there's a seemingly unreachable goal that's out there for them, too.”
Accomplishing goals “is hard,” she continued. “Losing weight is hard. Breaking unhealthy habits is really, really hard. But realizing that as a human being, you are more important than your problems is actually the key to your success.”
If anyone would like to embark on the 52 marathons in 52 week challenge, “stock up on Band-Aids – lots of Band-Aids,” she said with a laugh.
Beckers is already planning her next goals for the upcoming 52 weeks.
“I took a break for about a week, and I'm already going stir crazy,” she said. “I think that this year's goal will be to do 52 amazing and awesome things – most of which will be athletic and endurance related, but I just want to do and see things that I've never experienced before.”
That might include competing in a full triathlon, seeing the aurora borealis, or hiking rim to rim around the Grand Canyon, she said. “Those would be amazing and awesome things!”