News / USA

New York City Marathoner Aims to Add to Record Consecutive Runs

Reuters
When more than 45,000 runners begin to race through the streets of New York City on Sunday, somewhere between the elite athletes and the weekend warriors will be a 70-year-old retired music teacher who has finished every New York City Marathon since 1976.
 
Almost 400 people competing have completed 15 or more New York City Marathons. But Dave Obelkevich is the only one to finish so many in a row, according to Sarah Huvane of the New York Road Runners, which organizes the race.
 
“Back then it was four loops around Central Park,” Obelkevich, who lives in Manhattan, said about being inspired in 1972 after watching the winners interviewed on a morning-after television talk show.
 
“I don't think I did any races before I watched that program,” he said.
 
The following year Obelkevich, who was already a swimmer and a cyclist, hopped in mid-race. His first finish was in 1974 and in 1975 he got dizzy and dropped out.
 
“My actual streak starts in '76,” he said, the same year that the 26.2-mile [42.1-km] course extended out to the five boroughs of the city.
 
“I've finished every single year since then,” he said, noting that 2012 doesn't count because the race was canceled in the wake of Superstorm Sandy.
 
Obelkevich said his yearly ritual hasn't changed with time, but his goals have.
 
“In my 30s I thought if I can't run faster than the year before there's no point in finishing it,” he said. “Now I just want to finish. That's my goal.”

Bell curve
 
He likens his running history to a bell-shaped curve. His first finish was 4 hours, 20 minutes, then he got faster and faster until he peaked at 2 hours, 40 minutes in 1982.
 
“I was very proud of that,” he said.
 
The next few years he ran under 3 hours, then under 4 hours in the following 18-20 years. Now he's satisfied to be under 5 hours.
 
“There are lots of people ahead of me but there are lots of people behind me as well,” said Obelkevich, who has also run marathons, sometimes more than once, in South Africa, Japan, Switzerland and London.
 
Still an avid swimmer and cyclist, Obelkevich trains for the race by running 35-40 miles (56 to 64 km) a week, with a long run added in once or twice a month.
 
Back pain has sidelined him for the last week or so.
 
“But if it happens that the day before the race I still have pain, I'm pretty sure I can run 26.2 miles,” he said.
 
Dr. Walter Thompson, a professor of kinesiology and certified program director at the American College of Sports Medicine, said people like Obelkevich are fine, if rare, examples of what one can aspire to.
 
“He's been doing it for a long time. He knows how to train,” said Thompson, “but he's so atypical [of people in his age group], probably less than 1/10th of 1 percent.”
 
Florida-based fitness and wellness expert Shirley Archer notes that what the aging body loses in speed and power, it can gain in endurance with proper training.
 
“Physiologically, as we age, we actually lose fast-twitch muscle fibers and therefore increase proportionately our slow twitch or endurance-oriented muscle fibers,” Archer said.
 
Fast-twitch muscle fibers are engaged in high-intensity, short burst activities and low-twitch fibers release energy gradually.
 
This is why, she said, with proper training, we can enjoy endurance activities, such as marathon running, even as we age.
 
Obelkevich said he is 10-15 pounds (4.5 to 6.8 kg) lighter than he was in high school. He credits running with keeping him in such good shape.
 
“You can run at any age,” said Obelkevich. “I'm never going to break a world record at age 70, so I run the race for fun.”

You May Like

ASEAN Ministers Set to Push for South China Sea Agreements

According to documents obtained by VOA Khmer, ministers will stand up for 'freedom of navigation, unimpeded lawful maritime commerce, trade and over flight' More

Puerto Rico Defaults on $58M Debt Payment

Payment was due Saturday, default is first in country's 117 years as a United States possession More

Turkish Public Fears Jihadists More Than Kurds

Turkey facing twin threats of terrorism by Islamic State and PKK Kurdish separatists, says President Erdogan’s ruling AK Party More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Communityi
X
Sharon Behn
August 03, 2015 2:23 PM
A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Community

A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Bangkok Warned It Soon Could Be Submerged

Italy's Venice and America's New Orleans are not the only cities gradually submerging. The nearly ten million residents of the Bangkok urban area now must confront warnings the city could become uninhabitable in a few decades. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from the Thai capital.
Video

Video Inclusive Gym Gets People With Disabilities in Fitness Spirit

Individuals with special needs are 58 percent more likely to be obese than the general population. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, they also have an increased likelihood of anxiety, depression and social isolation. But a sports club outside Washington wants to make a difference in these people's lives. With Carol Pearson narrating, VOA's June Soh reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Special Olympics Show Competitors' Skill, Determination

Special Olympics competitions will wrap up Saturday in Los Angeles, and the closing ceremony for athletes with intellectual disabilities will be held Sunday night. In a week of competition, athletes have shown what they can do through skill and determination. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Shooter’s Grill: Serving Food with a Touch of the Second Amendment

Shooter's Grill, a restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, attracts visitors from all over the world as well as local patrons. The reason? Waitresses openly carry loaded firearms as they serve food, and customers are welcome to carry them, too. VOA's Enming Liu and Lin Yang paid a visit to Shooter's Grill, and heard different opinions about this unique establishment.
Video

Video Despite Controversy, Business Owner Continues Sale of Confederate Flags

At Cooter’s, a store in rural Sperryville, Virginia, about 120 kilometers west of Washington, D.C., Confederate flags are flying off the shelves. The red, white and blue battle flag, with 13 white stars representing the Confederate states, was carried by southern forces during the U.S. Civil War in the 1860s. The South had seceded from the Union over several key issues of disagreement, including slavery. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs