It was a year of races, 59 miles in all and all run by Isaac Waltman.

He ran them in honor of Mary Waltman, his mother, who was 59 when she died.

Isaac’s 59 for Mary’s 59, he called it.

Isaac ran the first 3.1 miles on July 20, 2013, a 5K in the Cornhusker State Games.

He ran his last 3.1 miles Saturday night, a 5K in the Cornhusker State Games.

In between, the Lincoln father of two ran more 5Ks and a 10K and a handful of Fun Runs, accompanied by his daughters, and back-to-back half-marathons.

His idea was inspired by that two-day, 26.2-mile trail run between Valparaiso and Brainard, Isaac said Friday.

The race was called the Double Half Mary, and since his mom’s name was Mary ...

“I thought, wouldn’t it be cool to do that in her honor?”

And he thought, wouldn’t it be cool to run even farther, like 59 miles, and do it in a year’s time?

So he signed up.

He kicked off his 59 miles with that 5K in the state games first. He followed with the Harvest Moon Hustle in August, he took down the Double Half Mary in September.

He ran the Thunder Run and the Totally Rad '80s Run and the Pumpkin Run and the Palmyra Panther Prowl, clicking off miles towards his goal.

Isaac’s father phoned late last week to share the news of his son’s quest.

“He has really committed himself,” said Steve Waltman, who can be found regularly at the finish line, cheering Isaac on.

Steve’s voice missed a beat talking about missing Mary, who loved animals and Alfred Hitchcock movies and her garden and her children -- and who had fibromyalgia and a bad heart and at least a half-dozen heart attacks before that last one in January 2011.

Isaac misses her, too.

“She pretty much, along with my dad," he said, "made me into the person I am.”

She got to see him turn into half the person he was, too, when he changed his eating habits in 2008 and dropped 160 pounds.

The weight had crept up on him, he says, a few pounds here, a sedentary job at an insurance company there, too much time on the couch: “The classic story.”

Isaac’s top weight was 320. His two girls laugh at old pictures and “bigger dad,” he said.

He doesn’t want to ever be the bigger dad again, and the year of running has satisfied a dual purpose.

“Honor my mom and improve my path to personal improvement,” Isaac said.

He’s proud of his accomplishments -- especially finishing those two 13-mile races in totally respectable times of 2½ hours each.

And he’s proud of running for his mom.

“They had a very close relationship,” said Isaac’s wife, Trudy. “He definitely got a lot of his motivation and strength from her for sure.”

Trudy and their daughters drove back from a baseball game in Omaha to see Isaac complete his goal Saturday night.

And Isaac’s dad wouldn’t have missed it.

Reach the writer at 402-473-7218 or On Twitter @TheRealCLK.


Cindy Lange-Kubick joined the Lincoln Journal Star in 1994 and has loved covering life in her hometown ever since. Will write for chocolate. Or coffee.

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