Ask Angie Maske-Berka how many races she has run and she literally has no idea.
To be sure, Maske-Berka is as active in races as she is on social media and with the BibRave community. As for races, here’s her best shot at quantifying them: five ultra distances, mostly 50k; 23 marathons; 44 half marathons, plus a 20k, 10-milers, 15ks, 7-milers, 5-milers, and shorter distances from 1 mile to 8k. “That includes the inaugural Dopey Challenge, Blue Ridge Marathon, Music City Ultra, back to back events,” she said. “I'll run anything, except I am not a fan of mud or color runs.”
With all those choices, the 50k distance stands out as her favorite. “I love the 50k,” she said. “For me it's really about the joy of running. Most of the races at this distance are also in the woods or on trails. The trail and ultra communities are more laid-back groups — and the aid stations are the best!
But what truly drives her isn’t the distance or the medals (though she does enjoy the bling). It’s the combination of accomplishing goals and meeting people.
“I never give up — I always do the best I can given any circumstance,” she said. “I have run through rain, high heat, extreme cold and snow, and a fever. This proves I can do anything I want to work hard to achieve.”
From couch to 5k to all the races
It wasn’t until post-college when Maske-Berka found her passion for running.
She managed her high school track team but didn’t try running herself until about seven years after college. Her running journey actually began when she went on a crusade to lose weight.
“I lost about 60 to 70 pounds,” she recalled. “I started with P90x and then thought I could do the couch to 5k program. That pushed me to run a 5k each weekend one summer, then I was encouraged to run the Bix 7, a half marathon (2011) and the next year (2012.) From there I tried to push myself at each race. This lead me to running 50 races in a year in 2014, to my first 50k in 2015 and then in 2016 I ran a marathon a month.”
Maske-Berka has worked hard to prepare physically for the demands of constant racing. For her, it’s a matter of finances and logistics. “I need to know if I can travel to the race, how much it costs, and logistically if I can make it work,” she said “Then I just hop in my car and go.”
In social media running circles, Maske-Berka is well known. She takes particular pride in the BibRave community. “I have been a BibRave Pro since April of 2014,” she said. “I love engaging and meeting the running community. Runners are always an inspiration.”
BibRave hosts a Twitter chat (BibChat) every Tuesday at 9 p.m. Eastern where runners tweet answers to questions and interact with each other.
“(BIbChat) has allowed me to meet really awesome people and create friendships, which have helped shape my running journey,” Maske-Berka said. “I make sure to see if anyone is running the same events to at least say hi.”
Name: Angie Maske-Berka
Hometown: Iowa City, Iowa
Number of years running: 8ish
Weekly mileage: 40ish
Point of pride: Getting to run a mile race with my niece
Favorite race distance: 50k
Favorite pre-race or training food/drink: Nugo Bar or English muffin and peanut butter
Favorite piece of gear: Aftershokz Trekz headphones
Favorite or inspirational song to run to: hmmm, Eminem - "TilI I Collapse"
Favorite or inspirational mantra/phrase: Just keep going
Where can other runners contact/follow you: Twitter - @angiemaskeberka Instagram - @amaskeberka Facebook - Angie Maske-Berka blog - www.marathang.wordpress.com