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

Video Indiana Controversy Points to Divergent Notions of Religious Freedom

Arkansas, North Carolina have approved similar laws that gay-marriage opponents say help maintain their beliefs in face of changing culture More

UNICEF Denies North Korean Measles Outbreak

Agency dismisses Russian media report after government, WHO assurances More

Turkey Seen Taking Harder Stance Against Militant Kurds

Stance comes as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is being seen as moving closer to generals 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.
Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedomi
X
Jerome Socolovsky
April 01, 2015 1:41 AM
Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedom

Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Nigerians Welcome Buhari's Return to Power

Crowds of jubilant Nigerians nationwide have celebrated the return to power of former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari. The retired army general won this year's presidential election with more than 2 million votes more than incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan. Buhari's supporters hope he can strengthen the country's economy and security once he takes office in late May. Zlatica Hoke has this story.
Video

Video Report: State of Black America a 'Tale of Two Nations'

The National Urban League has described this year's "State of Black America" report as a "tale of two nations." The group's annual report, released earlier this month (March), found that under an equality index African Americans had only 72% parity compared to whites in areas such as education, economics, health, social justice and civic engagement. It’s a gap that educators and students at Brooklyn’s Medgar Evers College are looking to close. VOA's Daniela Schrier reports from the school.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Gamma Ray Observatory to Open Soon in Mexico

American and Mexican scientists have completed construction of the world's largest gamma ray observatory, situated high in central Mexico’s Sierra Negra Mountain. The observatory's huge array of water-based detectors will soon start discovering secrets about black holes and supernovas. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials Underway in West Africa

Ebola has claimed the lives of more than 10,000 people in West Africa. Since last summer, researchers have rushed to get anti-Ebola vaccines into clinical trials. While it's too early to say that any of the potential vaccines work, some scientists say they are seeing strong results from some of the studies. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.

VOA Blogs

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