yasir salem

Marathon 6 in 50 of the #50in50: Rocket City (Huntsville, AL)

On 12/8, I completed marathon #6 in my #50in50 goal (50 marathons, 50 states, 50 weeks) at the Rocket City Marathon in Huntsville, AL. We are gaining more awareness for our foundation and its mission.

I arrived early on 12/7 into Huntsville and headed over to the Huntsville Museum of Arts to pick up my packet.


It was a small expo with a relaxed atmosphere and small town feel

I got my race bib, 1776, which I thought was kind of cool.


The next morning I arrived at the race start, prepared to in cold and rainy conditions. I had an unused rain poncho from the Seattle Marathon from a couple of marathons ago. It came in handy this marathon.

Many of the runners waited inside the Von Braun Center, where the marathon starts and finishes, to stay out of the cold and rain.

Finally, at 7:00am on the dot, the race started. I thought about running a 4:04-4:05 marathon, but decided to run with the 4:15 group instead because of the weather. I didn’t want to wear myself out early and wanted to play it safe.

The course was pretty nice with some small rolling hills. The course winded by the US Space and Rocket Center where runners got to see several rockets and space vehicles. The biggest challenge was the weather. It was rainy and cold the entire time. It reminded me a bit of the Hyannis Marathon that I’ve run for the past 2 years. It takes place in Cape Cod, MA. It’s been cold and rainy for the 2 years that I’ve run it. I finished the race in 4:15 thanks to my pacer Katie.


The post race food was great. They had bagel, PB&J, and soup.

The medals are really cool.


I got my obligatory pic with the race’s signage.

After the race, I showered up then drove down to Birmingham to see my old co-workers/friends from my Mental Floss magazine days with Will, Cary and Winslow.

Will’s family took me to see Birmingham’s famous Vulcan statue.

We got a couple of pics with the statue.


Here’s the view of Birmingham from the observation deck.

And a view from inside the informational exhibit next to statue.

Overall, I enjoyed the Rocket City Marathon and recommend if you are looking for a southern marathon in the December. It’s a nice small town marathon with easy, rolling hills.

Next marathons on the schedule:

  • AL (Rocket City in Huntsville) 1/13

  • FL (Walt Disney in Orlando) 1/20

  • LA (Baton Rouge) 1/26

  • MS (Mississippi Blues in Jackson) 2/9

  • TX (Austin) 2/17

Join me on the #50in50 for the Gweneviere Mann Foundation, with many ways to get involved.


She was excited about releasing an album that she had just finished, but she passed before she could realize that dream, so we just recently released a single "What I Can Be" off of her album for her so that we could fulfill that dream for her. Download it here

Together we will save lives through early detection programs for lung cancer and brain tumors.

I ❤️ you Gwen.

Check out these great stories from Culture Trip

I was recently honored to be featured in 2 stories by Michael LoRé of Culture Trip. 

The first story is about a profile piece and includes a fun video of our interview. 


And the other piece Competitive eating success stems from innovation, intelligence and technique is a chat about how competitive eating has evolved over the years and what the playing field is like these days.

Race report: Tour de Donut Austin 2017

A couple of weeks ago on Nov 12, 2017, for the 2nd year in a row I won the Tour de Donut of Austin bicycle race, a 24.8 mile ride w/3 donut stops where competitors eat donuts for time credits. 

In this race, each donut eaten gives you 3 minutes credit at the first stop, 6 min at the 2nd stop, and 7 min at the 3rd stop. I ate 37, for a 'donut adjusted time' of -1 hour and 45 minutes. Both new course records. 

Here's a video of the my race from last year. 

Monthly marathon report: NYC marathon

Just a couple of weeks ago, I ran my 7th NYC marathon. This race holds a very special place for my wife and me. NYC Marathon 2010 was the first marathon we both ever ran. To learn a bit more about we ran ran that race, watch this great StoryCorps video about my wife's story—my inspiration for doing all these marathons, triathlons, as well as wacky races and competitions. 

One of my favorite parts of the NYC marathon is actually volunteering at the Expo the day before race—handing out bibs to runners. Speaking off bibs, I had a special bib this year with my name on it!

There was a bit of hype this year with some of the runners and I was lucky and honored to be included in a Runner's World piece and TV promotions for the race.

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And this this fun piece on AM New York

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The race went really well. The temperature was just right and the rain held up. The crowds and bands in every borough were great as always. I ran my fastest NYC marathon yet (4:41) and came in just 2 minutes behind Prince Royce and 3 minutes behind Tiki Barber

Runner's World did this great follow up on their pre-marathon article:

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And there were a few other great articles on the NYC Marathon that I was also honored to be featured in: 


The medals were nice, as always.


And my wife and I celebrated another successful NYC marathon together. We plan to run this marathon as long as we're able to!


There is no run quite like the NYC marathon. If you ever have the chance to run it, do it! It is my favorite run and is a special race for my wife and me. And if you every have a chance to hear the stories of any of the other 50,000+ runners that finish it every year, you'll see that it's a special race for them, too.