A Marathon Man, on the Run for Katrina Aid

Sam Thompson is running 50 marathons in 50 states in 50 days, a grueling volunteer effort to help Katrina survivors along the Gulf Coast. Thompson's last marathon in the series came Saturday in Bay Saint Louis, Miss.

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Today Sam Thompson is running a 26.2 mile victory lap. He's running his fiftieth marathon, his fiftieth marathon in 50 straight days in 50 states. And he's running to raise money for the Gulf Coast region that was hit by Hurricane Katrina. He joins us now from Bay St. Louis on the path of his last marathon.

Mr. Thompson, thanks for being with us. What are you seeing?


SAM THOMPSON: Thank you so much for having me.

SIMON: Are you running?

THOMPSON: I am running. I've got about 20 people with me right now and we're cruising along. It's probably 90. Not much to see where we are right now.

SIMON: Your feet must hurt.

THOMPSON: No. They feel great, actually.


SIMON: Well, I have to ask you how not only impossible but how dangerous this seems. I mean I believe the first marathon runner in ancient Greece dropped dead after running just 25 miles in one day between Marathon and Athens. How do you run 50 in 50 days?

THOMPSON: I credit it to a great crew, for sure. Each day, after I'm done, I've been stretching out a bit and then I get a 15 to 30 minute massage, and then take a 15-minute ice bath. And that's really been the key to recovery each day.

SIMON: The massage and the ice bath sounds nice. Well, the first part sounds nice and some people like ice baths.


THOMPSON: Not this person.

SIMON: What do you eat?

THOMPSON: I eat a lot, is the bottom line. My girlfriend has been with me on the crew and she is a registered dietician from Washington. And she watches my diet closely and packs the calories in. I eat a lot of the natural stuff, the typical stuff you'd expect...

SIMON: Mm-hmm.

THOMPSON: ...chicken and turkey and pasta and sandwiches. But also I eat a good bit of junk just to get enough calories in.

SIMON: What's your favorite junk food?

THOMPSON: Favorite junk?

SIMON: Yeah.

THOMPSON: Probably, actually Starbucks drinks.

SIMON: Starbucks drinks.

THOMPSON: They're my best way of getting vast numbers of calories in.

SIMON: Well, the pomegranate frappuchino is waiting for you, I'm sure. Do you know how much money you've raised for Gulf Coast relief, Mr. Thompson?

THOMPSON: I do not, because I'm not actually directly raising money.

SIMON: Uh-huh.

THOMPSON: I am - there are several places on my Web site where people can donate directly and also volunteer skills. But I'm encouraging people to give to any charity on the coast...

SIMON: Does...

THOMPSON: ...that they feel led to give to.

SIMON: Mr. Thompson, we've got to go. But thank you for joining us from Bay St. Louis and good luck.

Why am I clearing my throat? He's the tired one. This NPR News.

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