Today's Minnesota Mile fits into O'Meara's plans
Running a straight line across the bricks of Superior Street sounds like fun to David O'Meara of Sarasota, Fla. No turns, no hills to climb and no altitude to slow him down. O'Meara, 45, is nearing the end of a quest to run 20 milelong races in 2...
Running a straight line across the bricks of Superior Street sounds like fun to David O'Meara of Sarasota, Fla.
No turns, no hills to climb and no altitude to slow him down.
O'Meara, 45, is nearing the end of a quest to run 20 milelong races in 20 North American cities in 20 weeks, finishing each run in less than five minutes. The second Minnesota Mile Duluth, being run this morning, is No. 18.
He's perfect so far through 17 races.
"When I turned 45 in April, I wanted to find a way to challenge myself and inspire others over the age of 40," O'Meara said Friday from Minneapolis. "The mile is a great distance and a great race that has been lost through the years [as track races became metric.]
"I'd like to see the mile become more popular and I'd like to see people use it to become more fit."
His 20-week trek began in May in Tarpon Springs, Fla., and has covered 13 states. The finishing stretch has Duluth, Maui, Hawaii, on Sept. 13 and the Fifth Avenue Mile in New York on Sept. 21. His exploits are chronicled on www.onemilerunner.com .
The travel has all been paid by O'Meara, although he's yet to add up the airline miles and expenses through 13 states. And he's met his goal of sub-5:00 finishes, with a fast mile of 4 minutes, 36 seconds on Aug. 30 at Jack Russell's Downhill Mile in Bar Harbor, Maine, and a slow time of 4:56 on Aug. 22 at the Derby Street Mile in Salem, Mass.
In the Main Street Mile on June 27 in Boise, Idaho, the race was run at an elevation of 2,200 feet and had eight turns. O'Meara ran 4:54. The Derby Street Mile had a number of uphill segments.
"What I've tried to do is find some young guys in each race to race against and help me run fast," said O'Meara, who set a career mile best of 4:24 in 2006. "I was concerned about whether my body would hold up and it's been very exciting to be able to run without being injured or sick. It's only a mile, but I'm asking myself to run fast."
O'Meara, who grew up in Hudson, N.H., is a personal trainer, coach and motivational speaker. He took up running 10 years ago. He was a former No. 1 singles tennis player at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine (which produced gold medal marathoner Joan Benoit Samuelson).
The only injury he sustained the past 20 weeks came while stepping off a curb and tweaking his right hip a day after a July race in Gibsons, British Columbia. Chiropractic care and massage got him ready to run the next week in Amarillo, Texas.
On Friday, O'Meara and his wife, Sekyen, flew from Manchester, N.H., to Cincinnati to Minneapolis. They were to drive to Duluth on Saturday and stay near the start of the race at the Fitger's Inn. After competing in today's 10:20 a.m. race, their plan was to catch a 6 p.m. flight from Minneapolis to Sarasota, spend 48 hours at home, and then fly to Hawaii.
"I've traveled across the United States four times since May, which has been tiring, but it's something I really wanted to do," said O'Meara, who has written two books, one entitled "Play Better, Live Better." "Meeting people and seeing so many wonderful places, most for the first time, has made this a great experience."
The schedule for today's second annual Grandma's Minnesota Mile Duluth:
Children's Mile, for those 8-14, 9 a.m.; All-City Mile, for recreational runners, 9:20 a.m.; Duluth Mile, for serious runners, 10 a.m.; and Grandma's Minnesota Mile, an elite race offering $5,700 in prize money, 10:20 a.m.