A 45 Year Running Streak!

Mark Covert

Mark Covert To End His 45 Year Running Streak This July

by Patrick Reed

I received an eye-catching email today from the folks over at The US Running Streak Association, an association to which I belong. The heading on the email said it all:

Mark Covert to End Running Streak on 45th Anniversary in July

Mark Covert, the man with the distinction of owning the longest running streak ever, is choosing to lace up one last time on the 45th anniversary of his first run. During the past 45 years, Covert – a national caliber athlete who placed 7th in the 1972 US Olympic Marathon Trials and routinely logged as many as 150 miles per week in his heyday – has covered an incredible 131,312 miles, give or take a few:) For the better balance of ‘THE STREAK,’ Covert averaged 8 miles a day. What an inspiration!

Covert’s efforts have spanned the array of ups and downs, missteps, heroics and folly. In the interview attached below with Ben Wagner of LifeKraze.com, Covert recounts his most memorable runs and emphasized his longest as perhaps the most memorable. It was a double marathon, attempted and completed just a few years into the streak. Four of his friends accompanied Mark during the summer after high school graduation. “It wasn’t so brilliant, but we did it. About 7 hours and 35 minutes…” Wow! Covert also recounted running the day after knee surgery, running on the days on which his parents died, and on the days when each of his four children were born. He reflected upon how special it has been for him to have a time, each day, during which he could reflect:  “A time to think about [my] plans, [my] job, [my] family. That’s important.”

As a streak runner myself, I understand some of the compulsion which impels a man like Mark Covert to don the shoes each day for nearly half a century. His discipline, diligence and dedication are testimony to the resilience and perseverance which we all, as humans, possess. His efforts compel me to ask, optimistically, once again, why I run? I run because to me – to run is to live. How about you?

♠♣♥♦  ♠♣♥♦  ♠♣♥♦  ♠♣♥♦  ♠♣♥♦  ♠♣♥♦

Below is the legendary runner’s explanation of his decision to put his shoes aside:

The End of an Era

On July 23rd , 2013, after 45 years, I have decided that my Streak will end.  If you have followed my blog over the last 6 months, you have  heard me talk about my feet.  My right foot has a total mid foot collapse and does not do much of anything anymore.  I walk with a limp and  when I run ,it is more like a hobble . There are days when a hobble is a good day!

Over the past 6 months, I have thought about ending the Streak on more than one occasion.  However,  with almost 45 years invested in something that means so much to me,  I have done my best to keep the Streak alive.  This track season was my biggest challenge.  Hosting  6 home meets,  including the Southern Cal Prelims and Finals,  15 hour days on my feet left me in a lot of discomfort .  The days following the meets were difficult and painful, yet  I was able to get my run in each day.

About 5  months ago,  I borrowed my son- in- law’s bike to see if I could possibly get in a good workout.   Once on the bike,  I found that I could really push myself and get back to training. This is something I have missed due to my painful foot problem.   Everyone that knows me, knows that I love to train and train hard.  I have my own bike now and it is allowing me to know this feeling again.  Since track season has ended, I am able to get in my run of a few miles each day, and then ride 15 – 30 miles  with the idea that I can train to ride 60-70 miles.

So, on July 23rd at 6 AM at Antelope Valley College,  the streak will have its last run.  I hope a lot of you can come to the run that morning, and hobble that last mile with me, as this part of my life comes to a close.  As many of you know, I am in the middle of writing a book about the  Streak and would love to have you send me your favorite Covert story. I know that they have all gotten bigger and better over the years , but those stories and all of you that have passed through the Streak, is what has made the Streak so much fun.

Last, this is nothing to be sad about.  I have always said that I would end the streak when I wanted to end the streak.  The end is something I could have done many times the past several months and I would have been just fine with it.  I have always liked training and pushing myself.   Over the last several months I have not been able to push at all.  All I have done  is  to keep the streak alive.   Bike riding has given me a new challenge, where I can train, and push myself.  That is something I never want to give up.

Hope to see  you on the 23rd and keep the stories as clean as possible.  Until then, the Streak is alive!!

Follow the Streak at www.markcovertnevermiss.com

Keep streaking!

~ Coach Patrick

It’s funny the kind of mail I have been getting these days. This came today, too:

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