I’m Published – Running, Racing and Death & My Most Unforgettable Marathon

Update: Getting published for the first time, Jan/Feb 2015, was an awesome and unexpected experience. A simple race report and a collection of memories became an unlikely feature story to be shared on a larger scale. I enjoyed giving my account of one of my running adventures,  “My Most Unforgettable Marathon” and how Susan took on the challenge of the marathon with the readers of Marathon & Beyond.

While in the editing stages of this feature it was fun to relive how Susan and I met, our training, challenges and how she transformed herself from breast cancer survivor to marathon hopeful. Writing, editing and reliving these memories helped to inspire me as I trained and finished my first 100 Mile ultramarathon, the Umstead 100 Mile Endurance Run, March 2014. Then one night the phone rang:

Running, Racing, 
and Death
by Brian Burk
If you’ve got to go, and we all ultimately do…

It was a regular Wednesday night. It was another routine dinner after a regular day at work and a long, boring drive home. It was three days after the Rock ’n’ Roll Half-Marathon in Raleigh, North Carolina, where unfortunately two deaths occurred. It was three weeks since a teenage runner had died at the Shamrock Marathon. It was these tragic events that set off a chain of events that out of the blue had my cell phone ringing.My first response: who could be calling me? No one calls me, I thought, as I located my phone. On the illuminated screen, the incoming caller was identified as my father. It’s a long story, but I had not talked to my father in a month. Before that it had been three months, when I called for his birthday. But tonight he’s calling me. Answering the phone, I was glad to hear his voice. Within moments I could tell that he was genuinely stressed and worried about something. Over the next 15 minutes of uneasy conversations, I found out just how concerned….
published2If you enjoyed what you have read so far, pls check out my Second Feature in the July/Aug issue of Marathon & Beyond.
Please pick up a copy today at your local news stand or at their web site.
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I’ve submitted another feature and hope they pick it up for publication. I have a running novel in the works…been told it’s pretty good.  Hope to have it available in 2016.  It’s fiction but….a lot of my life is in there.
My first feature.


Growing up we dream of what we want to be, what profession we want to make our lives work.  A football player.  A fireman.  A doctor, lawyer or even a candlestick marker.  Most of us never find that perfect profession, instead we settle for what pays the bills and if we are fortunate a line of work that will make us happy.  If we play our cards right our lives may allow us some free time to dabble in our true calling, many of us call that our “hobbies” our passions.

I’ve had numerous hobbies along the way, some have truly defined me.  I’ve been a car guy.  I’ve built and flew remote controlled aircraft, golfed and now I run.  Running will never be my profession, I lack the genetics to be elite.  I’m a top of the middle of the pack runner, I strive to get better and I have made some modest gains.  Writing is the same.  I enjoy writing, always have…but lacked the dedication to learn all the rules of the spoken and written word.  In high school and college I was bored with sentence structure and grammar.  I just wanted to tell a story.

Then running and writing collided.  Today I’m PUBLISHED!

I’ve had a “blog” since before blogs were cool.  I’ve written numerous race reports and tons of short stories some never made it past the “save as” button.  Others have lived on my hard drive never to see the light of day or the printed sheet of paper.  Over the years my wife, and a few supportive friends have encouraged me and my writing has improved.  My works may never be mistaken for literary gold, but I’m told some are not bad.  If I was honest I must admit they have come along way from Mr. Bickford’s English class and his 55 gallon drum of red ink.

I submitted this race report to Marathon and Beyond, a magazine in book format that caters to the marathon and longer distance runner, almost a year ago.  I had hopes that just maybe the compelling story of a cancer survivor and my writing might be good enough to make their pages.  I was beyond shocked when I received a reply to my unsolicited submission stating they wanted to use it.  To say I was out of this world overwhelmed when a contract showed up in my mail box is an understatement.

After a few rewrites now you can read “My Most Unforgettable Marathon” and how Susan went from breast cancer survivor to Marathon and Ultra-marathon finisher.


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