“It was absolutely the best day.”

This is how Tony Anderson, who began a journey of completing a marathon in all 50 states to raise money for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwestern Michigan, an organization near and dear to his heart, describes his final 26.2 mile race. It was the culmination of 17 years of running marathons — he ultimately ran a total of 51, including Washington, D.C. — to support Big Brothers Big Sisters and those final miles proved incredibly meaningful. 

Tony (left) with his my oldest son and oldest granddaughter finishing a National Cherry Festival race.

“Marathon #1 was in Traverse City in 2003, and so for the last one to be in Traverse City — pandemic aside, as bad and as awful as that has been — there really was no better way to end it,” Tony says of running a 26.2-mile route that, because of COVID, wasn’t a traditional race but rather one that was mapped out in northern Michigan just for the occasion. Ultimately, it was an event equally if not more memorable.

“There wasn’t a better day than that last one. I got to run a marathon in front of everybody I care about. 26 miles of family, co-workers and friends and community.” 

tony anderson

To listen to this episode, click on the player at the top of this post. Or, download the episode (and subscribe to the show!) using your favorite podcast app.

Tony is a proud husband, dad, and grandpa who serves as general manager of Cherryland Electric Cooperative. He’s been on the MRG show in the past to talk about his amazing journey (listen to this episode from 2017 and read more about Tony’s journey and its beginnings in this MRG blog post).

Tony, running a marathon in 2017.

Tony joins Heather and fellow runner and Big Brothers Big Sisters supporter Chris Girrbach on this latest episode about tackling epic adventures and goals in the name of supporting children in need. 

Chris Girrbach, a proud husband, dad of three, and local business owner in Traverse City, was inspired by Tony and has decided to embark on a 15-20 year journey to help raise awareness and funding for Big Brothers Big Sisters. He is aiming to participate in 50 triathlons in 50 states, with a plan of 3-4 triathlons a year. 

“I’ve learned a lot about Big Brothers Big Sisters over the past several years, and the many challenges and heartaches the children in this program face. I wanted to do my part to help BIGS the best way I know how. Some kids get the short end of the stick, and Bigs makes a world of difference to those kids, so it’s the least I can do.”

chris girrbach
Chris and his family.

Learn more about Tony’s marathon journey here.

Learn more about Chris’ triathlon plans and journey here.

If you enjoy what you’re hearing on the Michigan Runner Girl show, we’d be so grateful if you’d take a few moments to write a review on iTunes. This will help more runners and Michigan lovers like yourself find the podcasts. Thank you!! Also, the quickest way to get the podcasts is to subscribe to the show via iTunes or via Stitcher or your favorite podcast app. A special thanks to the talented Jonny Tornga for producing the show.


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