‘National anthem runner’ Jim Diego sings before marathon races, his 100th race sets off in Topeka

Published: Apr. 23, 2021 at 10:29 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - A Wichita man has used his two passions: running and singing as a way to see the world.

Jim Diego has sung the national anthem before running marathons in all 50 states.

Around the world, Jim Diego is recognized as the national anthem runner. He spends most of his weekends singing patriotic songs before running marathons around the world.

He’ll set off on his 100th half-marathon on Saturday in Topeka and he plans to display his talents before the race begins.

“I still continue singing as a hobby and when I paired running into the mix, I was starting to reach out to race organizations. Having been asked to sing the national anthem race in New York City,” Diego said. “Notably the New York City Marathon, I’ve actually sung several times for those, several additions of that race and have managed to run all 50 states and sing all 50 states. My 50th state for national anthems being Oklahoma three years ago.”

Diego has made it a routine to sing the national anthem before starting his race, with 99 half-marathons under his belt, and 131 full marathons in all 50 states.

“Traveling the world and being able to represent the US in and in these races,” Deigo explained. “But when I’m running in the US it’s always a lot of fun to be able to motivate myself before the race by singing the national anthem and then being able to see the country along with it as well.”

Diego has even logged marathons in 46 different countries.

“I’ve actually finished half of the provinces in Canada, so once we allowed back into that country I’ll try to go back and finish that up,” Diego said. “I’ve run in as cold as the teens are but as hot as 100° and in the middle of a desert or in very very humid surroundings like in Vietnam.”

“I don’t necessarily have a goal in mind right now. It’s also looking at my map and seeing where there are bare spots and try to figure out parts of the country I’ve never been to,” he added.

Diego returns to the sunflower state for Saturday’s TopCity Half-marathon.

“I am super excited to be starting and finishing near the capital building a place I’ve actually haven’t been to since middle school,” he said.

He says the journey can be a challenge, but he takes it one step at a time.

“I don’t go to the extent of needing to worry about my time, it’s more of putting one foot in front of the other, helping people along the way who might be doing the first half marathon, and encouraging them to the finish line,” Diego said.

The TopCity Half-marathon is looking for volunteers to help during the race. The half-marathon starts at 7:30 A.M. Saturday morning and 5K starts at 8 A.M.

It’s not too late to sign up, you can arrive at the Evergy Plaza between 6:30 and 7 A.M. to sign up to run.

To learn more about Jim Diego and to see where he plans to run next, click here.

Copyright 2021 WIBW. All rights reserved.