Van Phan runs. In 2006 she ran 53 races of at least marathon distance (26 miles, 385 yards): 29 ultramarathons and 24 plain-old marathons.

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Van Phan runs.

And runs and runs and runs.

In 2006 she ran 53 races of at least marathon distance (26 miles, 385 yards): 29 ultramarathons and 24 plain-old marathons. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, that is more than one race a week. And, yes, ladies and gentlemen, some of those ultras were 100 miles long. And on trails. Some through what she calls “shoe-sucking mud.”

2007? Only 51 races. Only.

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Phan raced more than 1,900 miles each of those years.

Talk about road warriors.

“I don’t think I’m that special because my friends, the people I hang around with, are doing things like this, too,” she says while standing, both feet on the ground. Not running.

Phan works four days a week as a physician’s assistant. She and her husband live in rural Maple Valley. They don’t have kids, and “I don’t have a lot of time to cook,” she says.

No kidding.

“I started running because I was getting a little soft,” she says. That was in 2001; more than 70 marathons and 90 ultramarathons ago.

And this year? “I’m shooting for 51 again. Somehow I cannot shake the need to run a race every weekend!

“Running is a quick and easy way to exercise. You just need a pair of shoes and hit the road. I love the trail running best. Trees and earth all around you. Totally in tune with your surroundings. That’s the best.”

Phan needs new road shoes every 200 miles; trail shoes every 500 miles. All this running made her Trail Runner magazine’s 2006 Ultra Division champion in its trophy series. Male or female.

That’s a lot of rubber on the road. So, is Phan running from something or to something?

“I’m probably running from stuff. It’s a good way to de-stress from things that irritate me. Running makes me a better person because I tend to be pretty impatient.”

Annnd she’s off.