There are 36 runners — 34 men and two women — who have run in every one of the previous nine Baltimore Marathons.
Here's the story of five of those men, all locals who have different motivations and varied views on running 26.2 miles through the city's streets.
The reluctant one
Daniel Broh-Kahn hates running the Baltimore Marathon.
"I'm miserable doing it," he said. "My shoulders hurt, My feet get tired. During the race I tell myself, 'The sooner I finish, the sooner I'm done.' And afterward, my first thought is, Now I don't have to do this for another year.
"I'd much rather be at home, sitting on the couch."
But run, Broh-Kahn does. And he spends torturous hours of training, all for the sake of that one giddy moment at the close of the race.
"For a marathoner, crossing the finish line is huge," said Broh-Kahn, 48, of Phoenix. "The way I feel at the end makes it all worthwhile. I'm absolutely exhausted, mentally and physically, but I'm euphoric at the same time. There are very few feelings like it."
His training regimen is offbeat. Four times a week, accompanied by his two golden retrievers, Annie and Toby, Broh-Kahn jogs the leafy trails that wind around Loch Raven Reservoir,.
"Every time we hit the water, the dogs go swimming," he said.
On Saturday, when he completes the marathon, Broh-Kahn will treat himself to something more substantive than a post-race dip.
"I'll struggle my way to the beer truck and carbo-load with liquid amber," he said. "Then I'll trudge home, take a refreshing shower and have a long nap."
On the couch, of course.
The (still) young one
Turning 30 was traumatic for John Finegan. So, on that birthday, he charged out the door of his Anneslie home and raced off down Falls Road, in search of his youth.
No luck. Two hours later, he trudged in, aching and wheezing like a man twice his age.
"I'd just run 12.7 miles, more than twice what I'd ever done," he said. "The pain was excruciating. So desperate was I to convince myself that leaving my 20s was no big deal that I didn't even wear running shoes. By mile 10, I dug deep for every breath. Somebody crawling would have gone faster than me."
From that humble start in 1999, Finegan's marathon pursuits began. Two years later, he ran the first Baltimore Marathon and has never missed one.
"It's a chance to show that I can still whip myself into shape in order to complete this thing," said Finegan, 41, a computer systems analyst. "A guy wants to prove that he can still do something a young person can do, and that he's not over the hill."
At tough times during the race, when he's running out of oomph, Finegan remembers his mother, Joanne, a running enthusiast who died of a brain tumor at 55.
"She taught kindergarten, and right up to the end, after losing her hair, she would lead her class in a run around the school, with a turban on her head," he said. "Sometimes I feel like she's running next to me, in the race, carrying me through the rough parts."
The thinking one
Running his 10th Baltimore Marathon Saturday, Lewyn Garrett won't be counting miles or listening to music. Garrett, a trial attorney, will be mulling his strategy for an upcoming murder case.
That's how he best serves his clients.
"It's a pretty complicated case," said Garrett, 54. Running helps him clear his thoughts and sort things out.
"Many times, cases drive you almost to the point of not knowing what to do," said Garrett, of Northwest Baltimore. That's when he laces up his running shoes and hits the streets.
"I can run 15 miles and, when I get back, the case doesn't look as insurmountable as before," he said. "My perspective has changed; I can manage it now. It's like, I knew all along what I should do, but now I have the fortitude to do it."
A lawyer for 32 years, Garrett has used both marathons and practice runs to jog his mind.
"You relax out there. Your thoughts wander," he said. "You start to think about a client and, before you know it, three or four miles have gone by and you've come up with a resolution of issues."
Then, Garrett said, he'll screech to a halt, talk to himself and play out the strategy in his head.
"I just have to pay attention that I don't stop in traffic," he said.
He's not alone in his actions, said Garrett..
"I think a lot of people let running bleed into other areas of their lives," he said. "Your problems at work are a lot like a race. If you go up a hill, you know there's a downhill on the other side."
The energized one
He was, admittedly, a geek as a kid.
"In junior high, I was always the last one chosen in baseball and basketball," Robert Olsen said. "I had a hard time hitting or catching anything. My hand-eye coordination was very bad."
His feet? They're another story.
Olsen's feet have taken him around the world. The Fells Point resident has run marathons on all seven continents. He has raced along The Great Wall of China and in Antarctica. Saturday will find him chugging down the streets of Baltimore where, at 71, Olsen will be the oldest 10-time marathoner in the field.
A retired architect, his goal is to break five hours, no small feat for one his age.
"Friends call me 'The Energizer Bunny,' " Olsen said. "I'm not terribly fast, but I'm persistent."
Consider his obstinacy in 2006, when he pulled a calf muscle at mile 11 and nearly quit the race. At 67, who'd have blamed him?
"I was ready to give up but thought, 'My streak (of consecutive Baltimore Marathons) will be over,' " Olsen said. "So I took some Advil at the aid station and slogged it out. At the finish line, I kept yelling, 'I made it! I made it! I made it!' "
Pardon his exhuberance. Olsen didn't take up marathoning until almost 50. Before that, he said, "I had a belly because I liked the deli. The first time I ran anything was one-quarter mile around the Baltimore Museum of Art. I almost died."
But he finished. Then, as now.
The dared one
What spurred Mike Trott to run the 2000 Baltimore Marathon?
He did it on a dare from his mother-in-law.
"You're too old to do this," she told Trott, then 47.
That's all the incentive he needed. And her words have motivated him ever since.
"Every year I tell her, 'I've got another one under my belt,' " said Trott, of Joppa.
It hasn't been easy. Two years ago, he nearly gave up with six miles to go.
"My wife was there, at Lake Montebello, when I hit the wall," said Trott, a retired salesman. "I felt like crap and said, 'The hell with it, I'm done. Where's the car?' "
Their 2005 Hyundai was parked nearby.
But Trott's wife wouldn't hear of it.
"You don't have that far to go," Sharon Trott said.
Her husband bristled.
"Six miles? That's easy for you to say," he said.
They argued awhile as other runners streamed past.Meanwhile, Trott's legs tightened up.
"We probably spent 15 minutes debating whether or not I'd run," Trott said. "But she knew I wanted to keep my streak going."
He shrugged and took off down the road. Running and walking he finished in 5 hours, 21 minutes.
"Am I glad I did it? Absolutely," he said. "I really wanted to go the first 10 (marathons)."
Trott's best time came in 2003, when he ran a 4:16 and ended in a zone all his own.
"The last few miles of that race, I felt euphoric, like my head wasn't attached to my legs. My mind pushed the pain in my legs aside," he said.
"I've not had that feeling since. Maybe, this year, I'll get it back."
Health tips from runners
Running a marathon can seem daunting. Here are health tips from those who have done it.
"On training runs, consume only what you're going to eat during the race. Know what you're putting in your body, so you don't spend all of our time throwing up, or in a Port A Potty." Mike Trott
"Don't wear the marathon shirt that you're given before the race because you don't know if it will irritate your skin." Lewyn Garrett
."Keep putting one foot in front of the other. It sounds flippant, but that's what it's all about. Keep moving, even if you're walking, because once you stop, it's very hard to start again." Robert Olsen
"Don't wear too many clothes because your body heats up in a long distance run. On a 55-degree day, new runners start the race with jackets on. At four miles, you see clothes laying all over the ground. They've had a rude awakening." Lewyn Garrett
"Commit that you're going to finish, and you will." Daniel Broh-Kahn