The Mount Desert Island Marathon has had its share of topflight runners the past decade and one of the best in the business will participate in the 10th annual event in October.

Michael Wardian, the World 100K (62 miles) silver medalist and Team USA gold medalist, plans to compete in the MDI Marathon’s 10th anniversary edition, scheduled to take off Sunday, Oct. 16.

In fact, not only is Wardian among the favorites in the MDI Marathon, but he is trying to accomplish something that can only be viewed, by most mere mortals, as extremely challenging.

Wardian is used to regularly pushing his mind, body and soul to the limit and will do that again next month in back-to-back marathons — 26.2 miles per day and 52.4 miles over two days — the second stop being the MDI Marathon.

He will compete in a marathon in Connecticut one day and participate in the MDI Marathon the next. While that sounds daunting to most, it is simply another day in the life of Wardian.

Wardian, a marathoner and ultra marathon runner, will try to win both the Hartford Marathon on Saturday, Oct. 15, and then travel to Maine to try to win the MDI Marathon on Sunday, Oct. 16.

The 37-year-old Arlington, Va. resident and father of two boys, Pierce, 4, and Grant, 2, runs for, The North Face and PowerBar. And, as they say in the running world, Wardian is the real deal — and then some.

He is the United States of America Track and Field 50K (31 miles) national champion, finished as the silver medalist at the 100K (62 miles) world championships Sept. 10 in the Netherlands (he was part of the USA team that won the gold medal) and third at the Badwater Ultramarathon July 11-13 in Death Valley, Calif.

The description of the Badwater Ultra Marathon fits Wardian to a tee. That event is recognized globally as “the world’s toughest foot race.” The legendary event pits approximately 90 of the world’s toughest athletes — runners, triathletes, adventure racers and mountaineers — against one another and the elements. Covering 135 miles non-stop from Death Valley to Mount Whitney, Calif. in temperatures up to 130 Fahrenheit, it is the most demanding and extreme running race offered anywhere on the planet.

So, back-to-back marathons on consecutive days in two different New England states certainly will be a challenge, but one Wardian’s resume states he is more than ready for. In fact, he once won a marathon in Washington D.C. one day and finished third at a marathon in Knoxville, Tenn. the next.

Some of Wardian’s recent running highlights include:

• Winning the sliver medal (and the team gold for USA) at the World 100K Championships (6:42:49) Sept. 10 in the Netherlands.

• Setting a personal best of 2:17:49 (qualifying him for the 2012 Olympic Marathon Trials) in June at Grandma’s Marathon in Duluth, Minn.

• Finishing 11th in the Comrades Marathon in June in South Africa, finishing the grueling 90K course in 5:52:51.

• Placing third (the highest place ever for an American) at the Marathon Des Sables, a six-day/151-mile endurance race across the Sahara Desert in Morocco in 23:01:03.

• In February 2011, the International Association of Ultra Runners named Wardian its inaugural athlete of the year.

He won the 2008, 2009 and 2010 US 50K Championships. In 2008, he won the U.S. National 100K Championship. Wardian also is the 2007 JFK 50-mile winner, and won the National Marathon in Washington D.C. three consecutive years (2006–2008), and in 2010 and 2011.

Wardian is known for the vast number of marathons he participates in. During a 45-day span in 2006, Wardian won four-of-five marathons he raced. In 2007, he ran 13 marathons (not including ultra marathons), and seven marathons in a span of nine weeks (winning three). March 2008, Wardian won the National Marathon in Washington D.C. on a Saturday and was third at a marathon in Knoxville, Tenn. the next day. In 2008, Wardian ran a total of 53 races.

From May 2007 to November 2009, Wardian held the world record for fastest marathon while pushing a jogging stroller. He set the record at the 2007 Frederick Marathon with a time of 2:42:21. The record was broken at a duel at the 2009 Route 66 Marathon by Zac Freudenburg, whose 2:32:10 beat Wardian’s 2:34:37.

Wardian also was a former record holder of the fastest marathon on a treadmill. He qualified and participated in the 2004 and 2008 men’s Olympic Marathon Trials. He has qualifed for and will compete in the 2012 Olympic Marathon Trials.

Other notable ultra marathons Wardian has completed include the Western States Endurnace Run, the Badwater Ultra, the Himalayan 100 Mile Stage Race and the Vermont 100-Mile race. USA Track and Field named Wardian the 2008 and 2009 ultra runner of the year.

In November 2009, Wardian finished third in the IAU World 50K championships held on the island of Gibraltar. On July 1, 2010, Wardian set the record for fastest indoor 200-meter track marathon record, with a time of 2:27:21.

When asked in April 2009 why he competes in so many races, Wardian said: “A lot of people say, ‘Oh, you could be a 2:12 guy or a 2:14 guy if you just focused on one [marathon] race a year, or two races a year and really built up.’ And I think the counter argument is that you could get hurt and you wouldn’t have any races a year. There are so many opportunities out there and, I love to toe the line. I love to see what I can do and just push the limits and try and experiment with myself. I like that people can look at me, and say, ‘Wow, if that guy can do 13 marathons a year and do pretty well maybe I can do one?’ I think a lot of people can relate to that.”

VillageSoup Regional Editor/Sports Director Ken Waltz can be reached by phone at 207-594-4401 or by email at