Sub-Four Marathon at Forty

Here’s a nice email we received from a customer named Stephen who used the Resilient Runner to help with IT Band injuries and used the MTA 4:00 Marathon plan to earn a shiny new PR!

“Hello MTA family!

With all our races being cancelled, I was excited to see all the great things that the MTA podcast was doing to help keep us all sane. I completed the 100-mile challenge at the end of last year.

Later when I saw the medal for the 300-mile challenge as well as the theme: I Run to Burn Off the Crazy, I had to sign up. I justified signing up for another virtual race with the thought that if the spring race I sign up for does not happen, at least I will have this cool medal and a sweet new hat.

I decided that this was the year I try to attempt to break 4 hours in the Marathon. Under 4 hours now that I am 40!

Sub-Four Marathon at Forty

I signed up for the Frisco Railroad Run in Willard, MO which is just outside of Springfield, MO. The race was on April 24th, 2021 and offers an 8K, half marathon, full marathon, 50K and 50-mile race distances.

I picked it because it is a relatively small race, so I reasoned that it was less likely to be cancelled or postponed. The course is on out and back on a trail that used to be a part of the old Frisco railroad. (I also picked this race because for attempting a PR I wanted a flat course.)

As race day approached the forecast included rain and thunderstorms a week out. However, as the days grew closer the chances of rain dwindled and there was only a light sprinkle of rain on race day which stopped 15 min before the Marathon started at 7 am.

During the race I met a handful of people who were running a similar pace to mine. We banded together as we steadily ate up the miles. I was cruising along great until mile 23. We had kept a consistent 9:00 min per mile pace until then and I started to slow down into the 9:20’s.

I refused to stop no matter how much I wanted to and when I crossed the finish line with a time of 3:58:51! I was ecstatic! My best marathon time had been 4hr 18 min at the MO Cow Bell 6 years ago so this is a 20 minute PR!

Thank-you MTA for all your great content and resources. I could not have done it without you. Special thanks to Ryan from Oklahoma City for pacing with me all that way.


Stephen from Ashland, MO

Listener since 2015.


Prior to this I have struggled with IT band issues. So, I signed up for the Resilient Runner program and got to work over the winter of 2021. I completed all 3 of the 20-mile training runs from the MTA 4 hour plan with no IT band issues. A BIG thank-you to Dr. Ben Shatto for the information on IT band injuries!!!

One Response to Sub-Four Marathon at Forty

  1. Ben Shatto May 14, 2021 at 9:22 pm #

    Stephen….this is a fantastic story! Nice work on the PR and the sub 4 hr. And thank you for the shout out regarding the Resilient Runner its a fantastic program and full of treatment techniques for nearly any running injury. Glad you were able to keep pain free! Can’t wait to hear what your next adventure will be! All the Best! Ben

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