Sam Thompson
Sam Thompson in Washington, D.C., after a double-marathon day

Running Man

Dean Karnazes grabbed the headlines, but Mississippi native SAM THOMPSON, 25, nabbed the record last summer with little fanfare, becoming the first person to blitz 50 marathons in 50 days in 50 states. Even more impressive: He suffered zero blisters en route. Here's how.

Sam Thompson

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OUTSIDE: Did you have any sponsors?

Sam Thompson

Sam Thompson Sam Thompson in Washington, D.C., after a double-marathon day

THOMPSON: Not at first. I was wearing a jersey with iron-on letters that said I NEED A SPONSOR on the front. The letters started peeling off after a few days, and I was looking pretty pitiful, I guess. A couple folks from The North Face started talking to me after my seventh marathon, in California, and by the 25th or 30th race I was wearing their gear.

How many pairs of shoes did you go through?

Eleven. I’m not brand-loyal. I’m much more an “If it feels good, I wear it” kind of guy. I wore four brands of shoes—ASICS, Mizuno, Brooks, and TNF. I thought it’d be easier on my body if I switched every day.

What about shorts?

Back in the day, everyone was wearing short-shorts, and that’s what I like—whatever society says I have to wear not to get arrested. Now it’s hard to find them in stores. But I drummed up four pairs of Hind [Performance, $28;]. They’re superlight and dry quickly.

And socks?

I wore only one brand of socks; they’re called Balega [Enduro Lo Cut Pros, $10;]. I never really thought about them. I guess that’s because there was nothing to notice—they were always down there just doing their job. They didn’t slip down, like many do, and they’ve got great padding. And they were great at wicking moisture. I ran with dry feet the whole time.

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