Mark hails from Massachusetts and now lives in McKinney, Texas.
With 18 marathons under his belt, he has his eyes set on the Houston Marathon in January; and joined the 30 Day Challenge to get there injury free.
Read on to learn more about Mark’s run story, and how he went from running around the block to running marathons!
Let’s see how Mark answered our run questions:
What is your favorite post run treat?
I like to drink a smoothie I make with bananas, blueberries, chia, spinach, and rice protein powder.
What is your first run memory?
I started running in 1982, when I was 22. I remember that I couldn’t make it around the block, but I wanted to run for 40 minutes. I remember very well, the first time I ran over 40 minutes. I went way, way out there. Afterwards, I drove the course and discovered I had run 6 miles. It felt so good. I did it the next day and the next, until I got my first injury.
What is the hardest run you’ve ever done?
I’ve had many hard runs while training for marathons or running in them. I’ve run about 18 or so now. But there was one very devastating run. I was about to run my first marathon in maybe five years. I twisted my ankle on a pine-cone of all things. It was on the sidewalk, and I was just going out for a 3-mile run. It was during the taper period, just 4 days before the marathon. I was 1-1/2 miles out and had to limp all the way back home. It hurt more than just the pain I felt—although I was in a lot of pain.
What is the BEST run experience you can remember?
I’ve been running for quite a long time. I qualified for Boston and ran the 100th anniversary in 1996. Since then, I haven’t come close to running like that. Now with The Run Experience, I hope to do it again.
My qualifying run was truly amazing to me. I felt so good up to 19 miles. Every split was right on! I felt like I had to hold back up until I got to 20 miles, and then for some reason, I started miscalculating my splits. From miles 22-25 I thought my pace was off. Wanting to give up, I remember saying to myself, “Keep going, just keep going. At least you’re going to PR.” When I saw the clock at the finish and realized I had done it, it was such an amazing feeling. I had conquered my own self-doubt and negativity and actually qualified for Boston!
Although that was 20 years ago, I’ve had some good runs since then, but never that great either. I always seem to be on the verge of another injury. Since The Run Experience, however, I feel my best runs will be in the future. I’ve been running injury-free again and getting faster every day. I am not breaking any new PRs, but I am running faster than I have in 10 years. In January, I will put The Run Experience to the test and run the Houston Marathon. Although I’m not sure I’ll qualify for Boston again, it will be a lot faster than I have run in a long time.
What is your biggest struggle with running to date?
I have three: dealing with work stress, getting enough sleep and not throwing my back out again. It’s hard to find the time to decompress from work and go for a run. I joined The Run Experience because I really needed to learn more about proper form and cross-training. Even after 30 years of running, there’s still so much to learn!
What drew you to The Run Experience?
Nate when he asked, “What would it be worth to you to run injury free?” At first I thought, what could this guy teach me? But since I was getting injured, I was willing to give it a shot. The answer to that question for me was, it is worth another Boston qualifying time.
In fact, I was running relatively injury-free for about seven years before I qualified. I know what it means to run injury-free. It means consistently improving time and time again. So without giving it another thought, I committed myself to it. Since then, I have been getting progressively faster and faster—and without injuries.
What is your proudest run moment(s)?
There are actually two moments that tie in together. The first moment happened while I was sitting around the house after just starting to run. I had been running for about 4-5 months and my mother said, “Wow Mark, look at the muscles in your legs!” I hadn’t noticed them. I looked down and saw that running had transformed me. I had muscles! It was the first time I felt like a runner too. A couple of years later, I ran my first marathon, the Boston Marathon unofficially. (That was back in the 80s when you could do that.) After finishing my first marathon and thinking back to where I was just a few years before, I felt really proud. I had, through running, become someone I liked. It was a turning point in my life. Shortly thereafter, I got engaged to my wife (of 31 happy years now) and graduated cum laude in Electrical Engineering. These are some of the moments I am most proud of because they changed my life.
Thanks for sharing Mark! Cheers to many more miles of running strong!
The 30 Day Challenge provides tools to running healthy, running faster, and running as far as you want for as many years as you want. It includes a LOT of work (we’re not gonna lie), but athletes who follow our simple video progressions, mobility assessments, strength exercises, and run workouts see pretty crazy results.
But fair warning: we want MOTIVATED runners only!