On Sunday, Metal Mulisha rider Derek Garland will take on something no other rider in FMX has ever sought to conquer. Far from the comforts of being upside down on a dirt bike, mid-backflip, 50-feet in the air, Garland will attempt to join the cult of 26.2-mile runners at this weekend's Rock And Roll Marathon in Las Vegas, Nev. He'll be the first rider in FMX to take on the challenge.
Garland, known in FMX circles as one of the hardest-working riders in FMX, can be seen riding tours like the Nuclear Cowboys Tour, Rockstar Mayhem Festival and Journeys Backyard BBQ Tour. He currently rides in a minimum of 60 demos per year -- more shows than there are weekends in the year.
Going into his eighth year as a freestyle pro, this will be Garland's first full marathon. He has been a running enthusiast for three years, and in the beginning stages of his running years, he would run for fun. Now he runs almost every day, averaging 40 miles a week.
"At first, it wasn't so much the physical aspect as it was the mental. Thinking that I had to run 20 miles on the weekends seemed hard, but after doing it and looking back, it was more mental than anything," says Garland.
Lucky for Garland, he's managed to get by with only minor injuries from FMX, and those haven't affected his training. But this being Garland's first full marathon, he's keeping realistic goals. "I don't want to be unrealistic in my time, but I'm shooting for under four hours," he says.
His main reason for competing, though, -- along with his willingness to subject himself to countless hours of training and fatigue -- stems from a pact he made with friend and fellow FMXer, Jeff "Ox" Kargola, who died in May after sustaining injuries at an off-road event in Mexico. The two had taken an interest in the gym, and gym sessions led to a desire to take running seriously. "I told Jeff I was going to run a marathon, so for me, it's a way to finish something I said I was going to do. I can dedicate the marathon to him because I know he'll be looking down and smiling on me."
After Sunday's race, Garland will be featured in the March issue of Runner's World magazine discussing how he fared.