Northeast Ohio woman set to run 100th half-marathon


What: Marathon, half-marathon, 10K

When: 7 a.m. May 20

Start: Ontario Street at the northwest corner of Quicken Loans Arena

Finish: Superior Avenue and West Third Street

Shelby Jones has been running half-marathons for nearly a decade.

She was a sophomore at West Geauga High School in 2009 when she completed her first.

Since then, Jones has kept at it. That is until the last calendar year, when she’s been in overdrive. She won’t stop until May 20.

On the day, Jones is set to run the half-marathon at the Cleveland Marathon. It will mark Jones’ 100th half-marathon. For some runners, that number takes a lifetime to reach. Jones has done it in a decade — with a twist.


Her last 52 have occurred in the last 12 months.

>> Watch: Shelby Jones talks about running 52 half-marathons in a year

Jones, a Mentor resident, keeps churning out the miles — 13.1 at a time — and get this: 17 of those half-marathons were completed in 2017 from May to June.

“A lot of people have said, ‘I couldn’t even begin to plan something like that,’ ” said Jones. “All I can say is I have a very supportive husband.”

Needless to say, it was a hectic few weeks for Jones pulling off those 17 halfs. At one point, she ran eight half-marathons in a week, including three in a 27-hour period. The first was a 4 a.m. race in Albert Lea, Minnesota. The second was a 9 p.m. race the same day in Indianapolis. The last was a 7 a.m. race the next day in Middleville, Michigan.

Whether or not her 17 half-marathons in a month is a Guinness World Record is unknown. Jones recently contacted Guinness about it.

“I haven’t heard back,” she said.

Jones completed that trifecta — as well as her soon-to-be-completed 52nd-race one-year odyssey ­— to help raise awareness for mental illness. She did it with the support of Emerald Rose, a nonprofit in Chardon whose goal is to reduce the stigma of the disease. Jones is also the race director of Emerald Rose’s 5K, scheduled for July 21 at Chardon Square.

Other highlights of Jones’ eventful 12-month journey include completing the world’s fastest half (2 hours, 11 minutes and 10 seconds) while wearing a green awareness ribbon from her shoulders to her knees (Guinness has recognized it), and running half-marathons in 30 states. Also included was a nine-day stretch in which she completed 10 halfs, with one being a night race.

“All of this has definitely changed my weekends,” said Jones with a laugh. “I don’t have weekends any more.”

Jones is also a member of Northeast Running Club and Achilles Race Team, and part of the national Half Fanatics and Marathon Maniacs club.

On May 6, she attempted and completed a biggie — her first 100-mile race at Chapin Forest in Kirtland.

“That one took me a while to recover,” said Jones.

Which begs the question — where does she find the energy in the first place? She obviously trains by running — a lot — but also incorporates yoga and rock climbing to break up the routine. Visits to her chiropractor, proper nutrition and plenty of rest have also helped.

“You can definitely get burned out mentally and physically,” said Jones.

It all comes to a head on May 20 in downtown Cleveland. When she crosses the finish line, it will mark a long, grueling journey to 52 halfs in 52 weeks.

For most, that’s more than enough, but Jones didn’t rule out an encore.

“I would do it again if I had the money and time,” she said.

That is for another year.

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