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

    Turkey, West in Standoff Over Syrian Refugees

    Turkish government refuses to admit refugees, the first in a wave of civilians fleeing offensive by Assad regime in northern Aleppo countryside

    Jailed American Testifies About Islamist Involvement in Mumbai Attacks

    David Headley testifies via video link that Pakistan-based Islamic terror group made two failed attempts to mount strikes in Mumbai in months prior to coordinated assault

    These Are the 10 Smartest US States

    A new report breaks down the nation's best and brightest

    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.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.