MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. – Candy Dooper, her daughter Dani Wilson, and Tina Carstensen, all of Lusk, traveled to Myrtle Beach, S.C., in March to join former Niobrara Electric Association General Manager Tony Anderson, and his wife Mary, as Anderson finished his 50th marathon on March 7.
Following Tony’s six-and-a-half-year tenure as manager at NEA, the Anderson family moved to Oconto Falls, Wisc., in 1998 and then to Traverse City, Mich., in 2003, where Tony was hired by Cherryland Electric Coop. He ran his first marathon that year and soon after began formulating the idea of a 50-state mission.
Inspired by fellow Seattle Rock N Roll Marathon runners who were competing to raise money to fight cancer, Anderson got the idea to test his own endurance for a cause and joined forces with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwestern Michigan. Tony established Marathon4Kids (M4K) in 2009 to raise funds for BBBS and set his lofty goal of completing 50 marathons in 50 states by 2020, which he later amended to include Washington, D.C.
His goal became a reality this past week on May 3, as he ran his 51st marathon and picked up his final state, Ohio, by running the Cincinnati Flying Pig Marathon. It was held as a virtual race in Traverse City, Mich., because of cancellation due to COVID-19.
The event was escorted by Michigan State Police and local law enforcement and saluted with a flyover by the US Coast Guard. Tony completed his mission with the support of a properly-distanced home crowd cheering him on along the route. He was accompanied by seven other runners including his son, Zach, and interestingly, the surgeon who performed his hip replacement surgery in 2016.
Over the last 17 years Tony has run in excess of 20,000 miles, worn out nearly 60 pairs of shoes, and raised more than $750,000. At this time, he is well on his way to reaching his $1 million goal for M4K.
For those interested in contributing to his cause, donations can be made at marathon4kids.com.