ComEd crew leader Michael Stluka is 26.2 miles from achieving a goal he set nine years ago: completing a marathon in each of the 50 United States. In Kona, Hawaii, if all goes well on Sunday, June 24, he will realize that goal.
Stluka, of Orland Park, has been a runner since his teen years. He attempted the Chicago Marathon in 1997, passing out at mile 25. A month later, he traveled to Huntsville, Ala., where he completed a marathon for the first time.
“I couldn’t let it beat me,” Stluka said.
Stluka went on to run several more Chicago Marathons, along with the famed Boston Marathon and others. But it was Las Vegas in 2003 when Stluka set his sights on completing a marathon in all 50 states.
“Once you get five or six states done, you think, ‘oh, I can do this’,” he said.
Stluka trains six days per week, running between 10 and 20 miles every Sunday. He finds joy in running, both in its solitude and in the camaraderie it can offer.
“When you’re alone with yourself, you can think, get rid of the stress from the day,” he said. “And when I run with my brother or friends, there are a lot of laughs.”
While Hawaii may be the finish line, it’s not the end. Stluka is already thinking about his next goal.
“I’d like to do a 50-mile run, and I’d like to run a marathon in Germany because I have family there. I might also see if I can finish 100 marathons and run every marathon in Illinois.”
“And when it stops being fun, I’ll stop doing it.”
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