Run, Mark, Run!
UPDATE: Mark finished the Boston Marathon in 3:23:25. Congratulations, Mark! This article was originally published in April 2015.
Today, Endless Pools’ own Marketing Director, Mark Langan, runs the Boston Marathon. His route there has been circuitous, with detours for, among other things, various injuries and five children.
An experienced triathlete, Mark decided to refocus on running last fall. He’d just finished his tri season with an age-group victory at REV3 Pocono Mountains (now Challenge Pocono Mountains). Soon after that, though, his runs were derailed by a twisted ankle – more specifically, a grade-3 sprain that left his ankle looking like a grapefruit.
The next week, he was running on the Endless Pools® Underwater Treadmill in our Elite pool. “That helped me greatly,” he recalls appreciatively. By removing the impact of running, the hydraulic treadmill allowed him to continue his training, retaining his stamina and flexibility while his ankle healed. Deep tissue massage using the hydrotherapy jets helped reduce swelling.
By Christmas, he’d run a sub-1:30 half-marathon, an impressive time that left him hoping for a three-hour time today. Subsequent injuries have caused him to lessen his expectations a bit.
First, he injured his hip due to his altered stride while overcompensating for the bum ankle. More recently, a freak accident left his foot unable to flex without pain, and this just one day after a successful 20-mile training run; while relaxing on the couch, he’d merely applied pressure to his bare foot against the edge of his coffee table. (‘This is what you get for putting your feet on the table!’ say moms everywhere.)
This time, recovery came from both his Endless Pools training and a modality called Proprioceptive Deep Tendon Reflexology, or PDTR. His outlook for even participating in today’s race was touch and go until just last week. “I’m not going to get my three-hour marathon, but I’m happy to be able to run at all,” he says gratefully.
Mark began his marathon running back in 1996 as the result of some barroom boasting. Over pints of Guinness that fall, he declared to friends that he could run five miles to the Brandywine Valley watershed. “I hadn’t done it before,” he recalls now.
The next day, he did indeed run the five miles. The trip back, however, was taken at a walking pace. Emboldened, he ran the full 10-mile round trip the following week. The week after that, he ran 20 miles, which is almost a marathon, so he signed up for the Philadelphia Marathon just three weeks later.
So with five weeks of what could be called training (at least to the uninitiated) Mark completed his first-ever marathon in an impressive 3:15! That was about the end of it until, 15 years and five kids later, he entered the Marshman Triathlon at a neighbor’s urging. He’s stayed active ever since, though clearly it hasn’t all been smooth sailing.
Today, we wish Mark (and his hip and foot and ankle) all the best. Of course, we already know that he has what it takes: he ran two marathons in one month to officially earn his entry, and of course, trained for months, braving icicles in his beard and leg injuries along the way. Whatever the outcome of his race today, he’s already done us proud!