Follow Jordan Tropf as he attempts to finish back to back to back sub-2:30 marathons at Baltimore, Chicago, and Boston
The mayhem of a year and a half of COVID-19 has left the race circuit in complete disarray, with some races going virtual, some still proceeding forward as usual, and others canceling altogether. As a result, the fall marathon schedule is packed with big races in a tight timeframe, most notably the world major Chicago and Boston Marathons on back-to-back days (October 10 and 11).
While not ideal, the schedule presents once-in-a-lifetime opportunities for runners looking to take on a unique challenge.
One of those runners is Jordan Tropf, an orthopedic surgeon from Cleveland, Ohio., who will be attempting to run the Baltimore, Chicago, and Boston Marathons in less than 72 hours on October 9-11, 2021. That’s a total of nearly 80 miles of running at a sub-5:45 pace and over 1,700 miles of travel.
If he succeeds, he will set a new world record for best cumulative finish time in back-to-back-to-back marathons.
For the race, Tropf will be wearing an as-yet-to-be-announced prototype of an Under Armour racing shoe. Although not a sponsored Under Armour athlete – Tropf is actually paying for the whole endeavor out of his own pocket – he has trained extensively with Michael Watts, Director of Athlete Performance at UA’s Human Performance Science & Research Center.
“This has been an exciting challenge to help Jordan prepare for—and it won’t be easy,” said Watts.
To ensure a successful race, Tropf is focusing on both mental tactics before, during, and after each race, and physical recovery tactics. Of course, nutrition and sleep are also key components, so they will look to full and refuel properly both before, during, and after the race. Despite the grueling schedule, Tropf is hoping to bank 7-9 hours of sleep each night.
That said, Tropf’s typical training is highly unconventional. He follows no real training plan aside from running a lot of miles (over 100 each week), including runs to and from Walter Reed National Medical Military Hospital, where he is currently in his residency.
“I don’t do anything special in the weeks leading up to the race or surrounding workouts. Race morning, I have it down to a granola bar and some light and fit yogurt,” explains Tropf. “During the race, I take GUs at 10, 15, 20 miles and drink off the course. This is all subject to change, depending on feel. I have no superstition.”
But make no mistake – his running style has paid off in dividends, especially for his frenetic schedule. In spring 2019, Tropf won the Big Sur Marathon, notorious for its brutally hilly topography. He finished in a time of 2:25:22, a personal best. Just three weeks earlier, he finished in 51st place at the Boston Marathon with a time of 2:27:21. Oh, and two weeks before that, Tropf took sixth place in his age group at the Port Elizabeth Ironman in South Africa, narrowly missing out on gaining entry to the Ironman World Championships in Kona.
All of that has set him up for the unique 3 Marathons 3 Days challenge. Whatever the outcome, it will certainly be a wild ride and one that is unlikely to be replicated ever again. For that reason alone, we at Believe in the Run are lucky to have the opportunity to follow along on Tropf’s journey.