He did it.
Frank Bartocci — the Rochester runner who was our Minnesota Good Age cover star in January 2019 — completed his 1,000th marathon on Dec. 28, 2019.
When we published our story a year ago, Bartocci had run a total of 918 marathons and ultramarathons. His goal was to hit 1,000 sometime in the middle of 2020.
It turns out, however, he, now 72, actually finished months ahead of time. And that 1,000th race wasn’t even his last of the week. He hit the 1,000 mark on Day 3 of the Savage Seven — a race in which die-hard distance athletes like Bartocci run seven marathons in seven consecutive days in Ocala, Florida. (Bartocci co-founded the event in 2010 with his friend, Chuck Savage, who lives in Florida.)
“I accelerated my schedule,” Bartocci said in an email. “My goal — maybe frosting on the cake — was to go for the finish in all seven.”
And he did, finishing seven consecutive marathons Dec. 26 through New Year’s Day for a total of 1,004 completed marathons.
“In the 10 years that Savage Seven has been in existence, I was able to complete all seven, seven times — significant to me because seven is a sacred number,” Bartocci said.
Bartocci is the fifth American to complete 1,000 marathon races. And he made sure his journey wouldn’t be overly easy.
“I purposely scheduled through the very hot and challenging summer races because at some level I wanted to feel worthy of this great honor, and felt that I should be able to make it through extreme, tough, adverse races, resulting in great satisfaction should I be so blessed to make it,” he said.
Bartocci said he’ll now back off on the number of timed races he runs to about 30 per year — “just to stay in shape and enjoy the health benefits.”
He’s looking forward to taking some cruises and maybe a chance to do a bit of writing and reflection.
His buddy, Chuck Savage, said he thinks no one will ever exceed Bartocci’s collective accomplishments.
But Bartocci, who started running marathons a bit later in life (in his mid-30s), said: “Never is a long time.”
Savage, who had full confidence that his friend would finish his 1,000th race, had a special award, engraved and ready for him at the end.
“I am so honored to receive that trophy from Chuck,” Bartocci said. “I was getting choked up as he read it at the finish line.”
Sarah Jackson is the editor of Good Age.