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

Could Nemtsov Threaten Putin in Death as in Life?

Dynamic and debonair opposition leader had supported liberal economic reforms, criticized Russian president's aggression in Ukraine More

Oil Smuggling Highlights Challenges in Shutting Down IS Finances

Pentagon spokesman says Islamic State 'certainly continues to get revenue from the oil industry black market' but that airstrikes have made a dent More

India Focuses on Infrastructure, Investment to Propel Economy

Government expects economy to grow at 8 to 8.5 percent in next fiscal year 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.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More