Issaquah man completes seven marathons in seven days
August 16, 2011
By Tom Corrigan
About two years ago, Doug Pariseau made himself a promise. At the time, he was overweight, out of shape and sitting in a doughnut shop.
As you might guess, the promise had to do with his health and fitness. A former athlete, Pariseau vowed he would be one again, his goal being to run a marathon.
He did, about a year later, crossing the finish line of the 2010 Rock ‘n’ Roll Seattle Marathon.
“When I first started, I couldn’t even run a mile,” Pariseau said.
After completing the marathon, Pariseau decided he needed a new goal. He didn’t exactly set his sights low.
Mostly for fun, he said, Pariseau decided he was going to run from the Issaquah REI where he works to a Portland REI. He further decided he wanted to do it in a week. And then he noticed that the 185-mile distance, divided by seven, just happened to equal about 26.
In other words, Pariseau made up his mind to run seven marathons in seven days. He completed the feat Aug. 3.
“Shock,” Pariseau said. “Shock and disbelief.”
Those were the common reactions when he told people what he intended, Pariseau added. As for himself, on the first day out, he admitted he was nervous, but not entirely for the reasons you might think.
While Pariseau said he ran “tons of miles” to prepare, he couldn’t run at all for three weeks prior to his slated start date. While mountain biking with some friends, a mishap had him flying over his own handlebars. He ended up with what he called a classic case of whiplash, which put him temporarily out of commission.
In the end, whiplash or not, Pariseau said he never doubted he was going to at least attempt the run. REI offers its employees so-called challenge grants, which include time off for athletic undertakings and free equipment. Once he was on the road, Pariseau added he felt fine that first day, which, mostly by coincidence, ended at his home in Federal Way.
Initially, Pariseau planned to camp on the roadside during the trip along with his wife Stephanie and their two children, Quinn, 16, and Tessa, 14.
“We had problems trying to find places,” Pariseau said, so the family ended up returning to Federal Way after each day’s run, except for the last. The change in plans meant a lot of driving back and forth along the road to Portland.
“It was kind of amazing how much of a team effort this turned out to be,” Pariseau said.
Both of his children accompanied their dad on the road for at least part of the way, while Stephanie Pariseau regularly shot ahead of him by a few miles in the family car. When he caught up, he said he would down protein drinks Stephanie had mixed. She told her husband mixing the drink reminded her of mixing baby formula.
Pariseau said he hit a wall of sorts on the third day. He seriously started doubting whether the run was worth the effort. He ended up powering through and on the fourth day, he said, his training just kind of kicked in. From there on, he said the run was largely smooth sailing.
“There were so many areas of solitude,” Pariseau said.