CHICAGO — Competing in a race each week for the past year has filled Nate McPherson's home with all kinds of running paraphernalia.
Technical shirts from the 52 races he's finished fill one of the spare bedrooms. Trophies from the 23 races he's won cover the fireplace mantel and have spread to the surrounding floor.
"My wife's not too happy about it," McPherson, the assistant coach for St. Ignatius' boys cross-country and track teams, said while laughing. "Not sure what I'm going to do with all the shirts. There's just a massive pile."
McPherson's yearlong challenge will conclude Sunday at the Swinging Bridge 8K in Lake Forest. It began Oct. 5, 2014 — a day before his 30th birthday — at the O'Hare 5K on the Runway. In between, he's run marathons, half-marathons, 10Ks, 8Ks, 5Ks, 3,200-meter and even 1-mile events.
For his 30th birthday, McPherson wanted to buy a motorcycle, but his wife, Maureen, said no. The running challenge, which McPherson said has cost about $3,000 between race fees and traveling, was his compromise.
"I also wanted to find something that would keep me motivated throughout the year and give me incentive to stay in shape," said McPherson, a University of Illinois graduate who also teaches in the history department at St. Ignatius.
McPherson is featured on today's neighborhood news on WGN:
Finding races wasn't daunting, said McPherson, who used the "Running in the USA" website to locate events. Most were in Illinois, but a few also took place in Florida, Wisconsin, Iowa and Indiana.
McPherson, who runs between 30-90 miles a week, has avoided any major injuries during the last 12 months. Besides the trophies he's accumulated, winning the races has earned him hundreds of dollars worth of gift cards to stores like Dick Pond and Fleet Feet.
He loved competing locally in the Chicago Marathon (his sixth), plus the Ravenswood 5K and Ridge Run (Beverly) 5K and 10K because those races allowed him to "get a great feel of the neighborhood," McPherson said.
"Plus, I got to go to a lot of places I otherwise wouldn't have gone, too," he said.
After Oct. 4, McPherson said he's not sure what he'll do with his extra free time. But, he noted, the streak might just continue.
"My wife doesn't like me to say that, but it will be a week-by-week type of deal," McPherson said.
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