Five Minutes With Gary Allen

G3Name: Gary Allen
Location: Great Cranberry Island, Maine
Occupation: Race Director, Entrepreneur, Adventurer

Race History
How many total races have you run?  I have no idea how many total races I have run. Hundreds. I do know I have run 91 marathons and 6 ultras. Of those marathons 67 have been sub 3 hrs.

Are you a Marathon Maniac/Half Fanatic? How/why did you join them? Yes, I am part of Marathon Maniacs #59. I joined because I saw them online and thought this all seems like pretty good natured fun so why not be part of it!G5

Other running groups/affiliations?

I am a co-founder of Crow Athletics
I have been a member of NYRR for years.

How long have you been running? I have been a runner for 44 years.
How did you start running? I started running as a kid growing up on a tiny isolated Maine island called Great Cranberry Island because there were never enough kids to make a team in traditional team sports. When Frank Shorter won the 1972 Olympic Marathon in Munich I was pretty much sold.

What is your favorite distance? I love the marathon because it is like playing chess with a lethal opponent. Mess up and it will kill you every G4single time.

 What do you do when you are not running? I think about how if I only had wings I could fly and then I try and figure out how to build some!

What am I asked about running? I am asked how I can run more or less at the same marathon pace in my 50s as I did in my 20s. My answer is, marathon running is not about running it is about who can hold their hand on a hot burner the longest.

What is on your iPod playlist? I don’t listen to music when I run but if I did, it would probably be very loud!

Because of running? I get to laugh at how ridiculous (in a good way) our sport is.G1

When I travel I like the feeling of being dependent on only me. l like to watch people going about their lives while sipping a strong cup of coffee.

Favorite running memory My light bulb moment came at the start line of the 1980 NYC Marathon when I saw Fred Lebow conducting the symphony that is his race, I told myself right then that I wanted to create a marathon back at home in Maine. It took 22 years of this vision simmering on the back burner but in 2002 my dream finally boiled over and the Mount Desert Island Marathon is what we all got.

Running Pet Peeve Pay attention at water tables people; don’t slam on the brakes with people right behind you. I really hate the word, can’t.

Pre-race ritual I mostly eat the same food (oatmeal for breakfast) and lay out all my gear the night before. Not so much superstition but successful habit.


  1. Great athlete profile. Wow, 91 marathons and 6 ultras. I really hope I can stay injury free and run long enough to accomplish half of what Gary has done.

  2. Flower says:

    Very inspirational, thank you for the share. 91 marathons is ah mazing!

  3. Blake says:

    Excellent athlete profile! I always love hearing about people’s race rituals!

  4. Wow! Very nice profile! I lay all my race gear out the night before out of habit, not so much superstition :-)

    • Thank you Theresa,

      My wife and I lay out our race gear the night before a race to make it easier on race day. We’ve talked about creating a checklist for travel races to have one less thing to worry about.


  5. thanks for sharing about Gary…I think I will run his marathon MDI in Main..for my 50 in 50 states challenge.

    • Thank you Caroline,

      50 marathons in 50 states! That’s pretty ambitious, so much so it’s not even on my bucket list.

      Gary is a great guy. His latest challenge is a 500 mile run in 10 days from Maine to the Super Bowl to raise money for Wounded Warriors.


      • correction lol 50 half’s or fulls in 50 states….I have to be honest I am not ready physically to do so many marathons…hey I am still trying to get back into

        • 50 of anything is a lot and is ambitious and deserves to be applauded. 50 halfs or fulls are still more than many people have. To date I’ve run 11 marathons and 31 halfs, 1 ultra and counting. As for trying to get back in shape…are we ever really satisfied with our conditioning?

  6. Great interview. I love meeting serious running (67 sub 3hr marathons!!!) who maintain a sense of humour and approachability! I also share his water table pet peeve.

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