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October 31, 2022 7 min read
We are on the edge of the most popular and inclusive marathon in the world. Held the first time back on September 13, 1970. Today's course, going through New York City's five boroughs started as a celebration for United States' bicentennial, and became the annual route where amazing Mark Newman is soon-to-be a Finisher for the fifth time. We couldn't be more honored to speak to him about his journey on running the Marathon, a book, a blog...LIFE!
Read on to get to know how awesome Mark's journey is, discover cool gems and all you need with his tips on NYC City Guide Made for Runners, and if you're also heading to NYC...don't forget to say hi to the person many runners know as @Marathoner!
ZS: How did you get into running? Why do you run?
MN:My Dad is the main reason I got into running. In 2006, he died of multiple myeloma. He left us some money and I was able to move to a nice Upper West Side apartment in New York City near Central Park. It was Columbus & 73rd Street. The couple who lived there let me swing by to take a look at the unit, and they told me how they belonged to New York Road Runners and enjoyed the park for races and biking. Wow, I thought, could you imagine! I was an out-of-shape smoker then, content as a sportswriter to just write about other people’s athletic achievements. While waiting for the movers to show up in that freshly painted brownstone, I walked over to the bodega at the corner to buy a box of KOOLS. Then I started crossing the intersection to come back, and I stopped in the middle of it and broke the box in half. I jumped on the A train and went to Sports Authority in Times Square and bought a pair of ASICS. I joined NYRR. I started running around the 10K loop, little by little. I made it my goal to run the 2007 NYC Marathon within a year for my Dad, and that was the first of 18 marathons or ultras.
ZS: Why are you running in the NYC Marathon this year?
MN:Lisa and I moved from NYC to sunny St. Pete four years ago, and this was an obvious way to come back and reunite with family and a great city. This will mark the 15th anniversary of that first NYC Marathon, and at this point it’s a way to “keep it going.” I’m running it for the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation, and it’s not just any charity entry for me, either. Just like my Dad, his own Mom (my beloved grandmother) died of multiple myeloma in her 60s. I’d rather do something about it. I would be so honored by any donation in their memory that can have a lasting impact at http://give.themmrf.org/marknewman.
ZS: How many times have you run NYC, and what does it mean to you?
MN:This is my fifth NYC Marathon. It would be six if not for Sandy, but even that 2012 cancellation showed how much impact you can have as a runner. A thousand of us wore our orange tech shirts and filled backpacks with supplies, and that Sunday we took the Staten Island Ferry (pictured) over to the hardest-hit areas and donated what we carried and helped with recovery efforts. (Then I ran the Harrisburg Marathon the next week.)
ZS: How are you training for the upcoming race?
MN:I’m finishing a 16-week plan, but training in St. Pete is a special challenge and requires a different mindset for several reasons. It’s hot and humid, so you have to get out in the dark because it’s mostly summer training. A hurricane like Ian can come through and throw everything off, but we were fortunate to only lose power that week. It’s flat as a pancake, and that was an issue when I ran the Virtual Boston Marathon a year ago on the actual course; hopefully I can overcome mostly flat training when this race starts on the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, the highest elevation on the course. Most importantly, it’s hard to train in solitude, which is usually the case for me even though some groups exist. There was nothing like being in NYRR and running every week at Central Park in this or that 10K or Half, so you had a natural base and buildup. Here you have to really motivate yourself.
ZS: What advice do you have for fellow runners or those working towards marathon goals?
MN:Keep an even keel. Don’t get too high or too low. If the miles just suck one day, make it speedwork instead. Respect the distance and do the work, go out of your way to support other runners, fuel well, do whatever it takes to finish, and you’ll be happy with your marathon. Breathe in the accomplishment, and then quickly sign up for your next scary goal. Because life doesn’t stop with that finish line…it’s only the beginning. You never have to worry about burnout or lack of motivation if you just keep that even keel, and keep doing it. Find a purpose each time, whether it’s for a charity or a BQ or just to say you ran from one state to another. It’s kind of Forrest Gumpy but it’s true…just go run.
ZS: How does running translate to the rest of your life?
MN:Being a finisher is what life is all about. How many times do we start things and never finish them? The first time you cross a marathon or ultra finish line, you never want to lose that feeling of achieving major goals. That can be a relationship, a job, a project. For me it carried over to other endeavors and it has had a lasting benefit. I created a Tumbler blog a while back that’s simply called Finisher for that reason.
ZS: What are your Zensah must-have products? Why?
MN:I’ve been buying Zensah Compression Calf Sleeves since I was zero days old. OK it was actually right after a Brooklyn Half in 2007 or 2008. I was running a hill in Prospect Park, back when the course was reversed and that was toward the end. My right calf started cramping badly, and I was losing time trying to rub out the cramp on the side of the road. The next day I went to a Super Runners Shop in NYC and bought my first pair. They were royal blue. They were L-XL, which I thought made sense…but I soon realized that S-M were more effective for me because the tighter the better. I’ve always run in Zensah S-M ever since. The other solution for cramps has been to take salt before and during any long run, so I carry small deli salt packets. I also love my Zensah Compression Short, which I wear after long runs when I can remember!
ZS: What is your favorite place you’ve ever run?
MN:My favorite place is this planet. Running takes you around the world, turning trips into runcations and travel into purposeful adventure. I’ve loved every setting from Central Park to the Great Wall to my native cornfields of Indiana to Paris and Rome (ancient stones pictured), and tapering for the New York City Marathon just makes me think back to places like Edinburgh or Whitby in the UK where I did my long runs in inspiring places. Jupiter is too gassy, Europa is to gnarly, Mars is too cold and my Zensahs would melt on Venus…but Earth is just right!
ZS: What is one quote you live by? Or a personal mantra? (can apply to running or life!)
MN:“RACES ARE RUN WITH THE LEGS, MARATHONS ARE RUN WITH THE HEART.” This is on a Central Park bench plaque next to the NYC Marathon finish line, and the inscription says “ANDY AND LISA 08-09-1999”. On one run around Central Park years ago I took pictures of many such plaques for inspiration on my @Marathoner running blog, and that one always stuck with me because it is so true and I can feel my heart beat fastest when I am near this.
ZS: What other hobbies do you love (in addition to running of course):
MN:I write books, and when I am not promoting my No. 1 bestselling baseball book DIAMONDS FROM THE DUGOUT I am in edit mode on a 600-page nonfiction manuscript about a single word that is pretty much the meaning of life. I can’t wait to show what it is and you can watch marknewmanbooks.com for more.
ZS: What’s something you did once as a runner that you would never do again?
MN:Drink the margarita they handed me at the Mile 24 Parrothead fuel station during the Miami Marathon. I lost it. Also avoid the white wine at Mile 24 of the Paris Marathon. Don’t eat dirty hot dogs from the cart after 20 miles inside Central Park. DO accept the cup of Budweiser just before the finish line of the St. Louis Marathon.
ZS: Where can people find you? (on social media and at upcoming races in addition to NYC!)
MN: I’ve been verified @Marathoner on Twitter since 2008, and my blog is an extension of that. I’m also @marknewmanauthor on IG, @marknewmanmlb on FB, and for work stuff it’s linkedin.com/in/marknewmanmlb and my new startup Magna Copy. I haven’t decided where to run my 20th marathon but I’m open to suggestions, and I’ll schedule it soon because I learned that the best way to keep running for a long time is to always set a new goal right after you’ve reached the last one. 😊
ZS: Zensah’s motto is #withoutlimitz meaning we want you to feel limitless in everything you do. We’re launching a campaign called “Limitless Looks Like This” because limitlessness can look different for every person. Limitless might look like finding balance, reaching goals, acing the race you have coming up, or manifesting your future. What does limitless look like for you?
MN: My limitless looks like the back of my first medal. It was the 2007 NYC Marathon, and it was my first.
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