Thirteen-year-old achieves goal of running a race in all 92 Indiana counties

LAWRENCEBURG, Ind. -- Madison Rahschulte was 8 years old when she started to tag along with her parents on their half-marathons.

"At first, we'd take her along and she was slowing us down," her father Scott said.

That changed after a handful of races, he said. In a short time, she was better than him.

The success fed her interest in running and her hunger for an athletic challenge. She thought it would be fun to run some sort of race in every Indiana county.

Finding out that meant committing to 92 races didn't matter. She had her goal, a determined spirit and a father who was willing to take her to a race every weekend. It became a routine.

"He would wake me up at five o'clock on Saturday morning, (and then) we'd get up and go to a race," Madison said.

It lasted just over four years, and it put nearly 25,000 miles on the family car. Indiana might not seem like a big state, but there aren't direct routes to the places they were going. Northeast Indiana was a special challenge -- those were long trips.

Madison checked off the final item on her list in June, when she crossed the finish line of the Hog Jog in Flora, Indiana. The journey was about more than completionism, she said. It was about improving herself as a runner, and on the way, she learned a lot about the state of Indiana and made a great many friends.

"After a while, I would go to a race in Indianapolis and I would get to see people that I knew from there," she said. 

Fellow runners would ask about her next race. They would often join her and support her.

Madison will start the eighth grade at St. Lawrence School in Lawrenceburg on Wednesday. She packs a lot of talent into a 4-foot-8-inch frame and 85 pounds. She's not just a fine runner; she's also an excellent student.

Madison was coy when I asked if she has another running project in mind, but I'm sure she'll come up with something memorable.

She's only 13. She's just getting started.

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