Myrtle Beach Marathon

These Grand Strand runners aren’t content with marathon distance, have more miles planned

When are 26.2 miles just not enough?

When you turn 50, if you’re Julie Walsh and some of her friends in the Grand Strand Running Club.

Walsh, who is hearing impaired, turns 50 on April 29 and she will commemorate the occasion with a 50-mile run as part of the Knock On Wood Running Festival in Greenville from May 3-5. The event offers a few distances from 8 kilometers to 100 miles, and there’s also a 24-hour relay.

“She’s trying to do something epic every month this year for her 50th birthday,” said friend and fellow 50-miler Karen Grischuk, who will run alongside Walsh.

The race starts at 8 a.m. and they’re hoping to finish before dark but have until 24 hours to complete the distance. “We’re hoping for about 12 hours,” Stepnosky Grischuk said.

Others in the club planning to complete 50 miles include Marjorie Hope Hilbourn, James McIlrath, Andy and Sarah Schlatz, and Shay Floyd, and they used the Myrtle Beach Marathon as a bit of a training run. Some ran the full marathon Saturday and some ran the half.

In addition, Grand Strand runners Christine Rockey, Toni Birchler, John Sosebee, Tammy Harrell, Akemi O’Briant, Brian Richardson, Mikie Pylilo, Michael Major and the Livingstons – Kelly, Chris and Caden – will participate in distances between 50 kilometers and 100 miles at the Knock on Wood event.

Richardson, Pylilo and Major will attempt 100 miles in Greenville. It will be Major’s second 100-miler. He completed the century mark in 29 hours and 53 minutes at the Rails to Trails event in Savannah in 2017 and hopes to shave a minute off that time in May, when he’ll attempt to complete a five-mile loop 20 times.

Major said he runs long distances for self-gratification. “It’s mostly mental,” said Major, who ran his 13th marathon Saturday. “You just go out real slow. You have to pace yourself, and eat a lot and drink a lot along the way. I just love long-distance running.”

Alan Blondin covers golf, Coastal Carolina athletics and numerous other sports-related topics that warrant coverage. Well-versed in all things Myrtle Beach, Horry County and the Grand Strand, the Northeastern University journalism school valedictorian has been a sports reporter at The Sun News since 1993, earning eight top-10 Associated Press Sports Editors national writing awards and 18 top-three S.C. Press Association writing awards since 2007.