Surgical Resident Completes Three Marathons in Three Days, Shatters World Record

Donovan Recny

November 02, 2021

Not only does Jordan Tropf, MD, work tireless hours as an orthopedic surgical resident at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in suburban Washington, DC, he runs — a lot. Over a long weekend from October 9-11, Tropf ran marathons in Baltimore, Chicago, and Boston on three consecutive days — and set an unofficial world record in the process.

According to Montgomery Community Media, a community news site serving suburban Washington, the 2014 US Naval Academy graduate began his saga with a trip to his local Olive Garden for dinner to eat as many carbs as possible in preparation for the grueling 3-day stretch. The following morning, a Saturday, he placed second in the Baltimore Running Festival, finishing the 26.2 mile race in 2 hours, 27 minutes.

With barely enough time to shower, Tropf caught a flight to Chicago in order to do it all again. There, he placed 63rd in the Bank of America Chicago Marathon, pounding the pavement in 2 hours, 31 minutes. Although he had run two races in 2 days — coupled with elite finishing times — he had the most difficult race ahead of him the next morning: the famous Boston Marathon.

Rescheduled from its historic third-Monday-in-April start because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Boston Marathon's winding, wet, and hilly course presented one final hurdle for the Johns Hopkins Medical School graduate. Known for particularly difficult sections such as Heartbreak Hill, running Boston as the third race in 3 days adds to the magnitude of Tropf's accomplishment.

If the daunting task of completing three marathons in 3 days was not enough, Southwest Airlines canceled Tropf's flight from Chicago to Boston amid a massive wave of nationwide cancelations. According to Running Magazine, Tropf committed to a frantic 4 ½-hour drive from Chicago to Detroit, barely making the first available flight to Boston's Logan airport.

Successfully reaching the starting line in the tiny town of Hopkinton, Tropf completed the Boston Marathon in 2:32:40, placing 110th. According to Believe In The Run, an international organization of long distance runners, the previous unofficial world record for the finishing time of three marathons in three days was 8 hours, 11 minutes, 8 seconds. Tropf shattered that figure by 40 minutes, finishing with a cumulative time of 7 hours, 31 minutes, 30 seconds.

Although he describes running as a fun hobby, Tropf is no stranger to the elite running scene. He won the Baltimore Marathon in 2017 and won the Big Sur International Marathon in 2019, setting a personal best of 2:25:21. 

Following his staggering achievement, Tropf has returned to Bethesda, Maryland, to continue his work as a fourth-year orthopedic surgical resident.

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