By Taylor Doss
The streets of Wrightsville Beach will be packed with runners this Saturday when the 8th Annual Quintiles Wrightsville Beach Marathon takes off. One of those competitors, who is well familiar with these streets, will be wearing the distinctive bid of No. 100.
“That’s where I started running and fell in love with the sport,” said Charlotte Corriher, a former Wrightsville Beach resident who’s returning to compete in her 100th marathon.
“Even after I moved away last year, I knew I wanted to be surrounded by my running family and Wrightsville Beach friends when I hit this accomplishment.”
The March 25 marathon, a qualifier race for the Boston Marathon, get its start at 6:40 a.m., with runners taking off from the Wrightsville Beach Park, taking Salisbury Street to Lumina Avenue before turning at Causeway Drive, giving the runners a run through the Loop in the race’s first miles. The race will also take runners through the Country Club of Landfall.
“With our new course and the beauty of Wilmington and Wrightsville, Charlotte is sure to have one of her best experiences for marathon 100,” race director Tom Clifford said.
Those looking to cheer on Corriher won’t have trouble finding her. With the Wrightsville Beach Marathon, Corriher will have run competitively in marathons for two thousand six hundred and twenty miles, all while dressed in costumes that represent the state or area she is competing in.
“I’ve carried swords, surfboards, Easter baskets, and a box of chocolates,” she says.
Disney World inspired a Winnie the Pooh ensemble, a Southern Belle in Charleston, a jockey in Kentucky, and possibly the least aerodynamic of all, a roulette wheel in Atlantic City. But Corriher said she won’t reveal the costume for her 100th marathon until race day.
While the costumes have garnered Corriher heaps of attention on websites, local newspapers, and even in Runner’s World magazine, they also help her continue onward during races. She calls the costumes “a good distraction” during races.
“The crowd cheers a little bit more for me. That extra distraction gives me additional energy during the race.”
Corriher said she discovered her passion for running when she started jogging around the island of Wrightsville Beach, which for her was a convenient form of exercise that she could do while on the road for work.
In January 2006, she signed up with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training program and ran her first marathon.
“Once I joined Team in Training, it was about the friendships I had made that got me up every Saturday morning for a long run,” she said.
Corriher’s first marathon was the starting line for a long term goal to run a marathon in each state of the USA. She has run marathons in 45 states and Washington D.C., and plans to cross off North Dakota, South Dakota, Alaska, and Kansas by 2018.
“Once I started meeting runners from all over the country who were part of the Marathon Maniacs and 50 States Marathon clubs, I couldn’t stop. Every few weekends I was seeing all parts of the country and meeting new friends.”