fitness enthusiasts raise their own bar long before they reach their
goal. With 18 marathons complete – four this year – Yanique Burke '06 has already added
three international races to her 50-race list – Berlin, London and Tokyo.
I add a race,” Burke explained. “Year one I did one race, year two I did two
races. Now I’m running four or five a year.”
marathon practically every other month – add to that training, travel time, and
planning – Burke has little time outside work as a partner with Gordon &
Silber in New York.
“I plan life
around my work, training, and races,” she said.
“My family and friends work around my running. My running friends are
now some of my closest friends, given how much time we spend together and the
race was in Little Rock, Ark., and in April she ran in Louisville, Ky.
The irony is
I wasn’t an athlete in high school or college, she said. “I moved to Brooklyn
from Jamaica when I was 12.” She commuted to Stony Brook University, and beyond
her time at Albany Law School, hasn’t lived outside New York City since.
the country through these races,” she said. “It’s more than traveling from race
to race. It’s a way to experience all the cultures in our country. I might
never have visited Nashville or Alaska.”
Look for this story and more in the AlbanyLaw Magazine, mailed to all alumni in July.
illustrate the camaraderie and support of the running community, she described
her experience in West Virginia, where she mistakenly booked a
bed-and-breakfast inn 35 miles from the race, with no cell service and no car. “I
met a fellow racer the night before and she said she’d be happy to pick me up
in the morning. She drove 35 miles out of her way to get my friends and me at 5
a.m. We all try to take care of each
A few races
into the all-states journey, Burke recruited two friends to join her. “Now I
have partners to make it all easier, and more fun,” she said. “Along with the
positive social component, the group travel helps all of our budgets.”
she runs three miles, Thursdays five miles, and Saturdays she runs 13.1 miles,
a half-marathon, up to 20-plus miles.
started the marathons, she strove to improve her running time, her fastest
clocking in at four hours flat in Las Vegas. Now with two friends in tow, she’s
satisfied with simply completing the races. However, to qualify for Boston,
based on age and weight, she needs to cut her time by 20 minutes. Burke, of course, is confident she can do it.
race was Nov. 16, 2013, in Richmond, Va. She looks to finish her 50th
in five years, and is already concerned about her post-quest emptiness. “I’m
taking swimming lessons,” she said, laughing sheepishly, one eye already on the
Iron Woman challenges. She has a 7-continent goal – she has six continents to
everyone always asks me about my next city, my next race,” she said. After law
school, Burke worked at two small firms, then Costello, Shea & Gaffney for
six years, before landing at Gordon & Silber.
remembers finishing her first half-marathon and realizing she had plenty of
energy in reserve. “I think that’s the moment I realized I need to run a marathon.”
She can tell you where it started, but she can’t tell you where it ends. Two
weeks after her New York City marathon, she ran an “ultra” – this one 60
kilometers, or 37.2 miles—around Central Park.
A member of
the National Black Marathoners Association and the New York Runners Club, she
knows many people pursuing the 50-state challenge.
can be a grind,” she lamented, citing the endurance of cold temperatures – she
likes the cold – rain, hail, and the sweltering summer heat of New York City,
which she doesn’t like. “But there’s a euphoric feeling with it all comes
together in the race and that makes it all worth it.”