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.

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.