For Chris Farley it was “mission” accomplished yet again.
For the 22nd straight year, the 1994 Yorktown High School graduate ran a 26-mile marathon in fewer than 3 hours. Farley’s most recent achievement came Nov. 15 at the Upstate Classic Marathon in Guilderland, N.Y., near Albany, finishing the race in 2:55.19.
The 44-year-old and owner of the seven Pacers Running stores in the metro area, including one in Clarendon, placed eighth in the race. The winning time was 2:29.14.
With most marathons canceled this year because of the pandemic, it was hard to find such a race in his attempt to continue the streak. The Upstate Classic Marathon was a socially-distanced event, with the 1,000 runners wearing masks and separated at the start. Groups of runners began a little more than a minute apart.
Farley was in one of the first groups to start.
“It was a very well-planned race, and we were lucky to find one like that,” said Farley, who runs some distance every day and was prepared for the marathon. “I ran and felt OK. The streak is a special thing for me, something of my own.”
The streak began for Farley in 1999 when he ran in his very first marathon, finishing the New York City 26-miler in 2:42 at age 23. That also was in November.
“A buddy of mine convinced me to run that first marathon, so I certainly wasn’t thinking anything about a streak like this way back then,” Farley said.
The streak continued the next four years when Farley ran sub- 3-hour races at the Boston, New York, Marine Corps and California International marathons.
The world record for sub 3-hour marathons is at least 40 years in a row.
Farley’s sixth-place finish in the 2002 Marine Corps race is his highest in a marathon, with a time of 2:33. The 2:31 he ran at the California race is one of his fastests.
Next year, Farley will run to attempt to extend his streak to 23 at the Marine Corps event.
“As long as the streak lasts, I will keep on trying and running a marathon,” Farley said.
The streak nearly ended in 2017 after he ran 3:01 on a very windy day at a marathon in Philadelphia on Nov. 19.
“It was a real tough day to run because of the wind, so I thought the streak had ended,” Farley said.
His staff at Pacers put together a one-person multi-loop certified marathon on Dec. 28 at Hains Point in D.C. Farley finished in 2:52 to extend the streak.
“That was a great thing my staff did for me,” Farley said.
After graduating from Yorktown, Farley ran cross country and track and field in college for the University of Virginia, graduating in 1998.
In high-school cross country for Yorktown, Farley finished second multiple times in district meets to qualify for the Northern Region championships.