Profile--Mark Courtney has run 14,609 days in a row.

(Jan. 2019) On December 19, 2019, Mark Courtney completed his daily run for the 14,609th day in a row. That's 40 years with nary a day off. Courtney's impressive in many other ways. He has run 40 straight Boston Marathons, and has a marathon PR of 2:28:48 at Chicago. Now 63 and living in Grove City, PA, he continues to operate a road-race timing company--Runner's High. His running allows him to eat somewhat indiscriminately. "My diet includes beer and ice cream," he says. "Though rarely at the same time."

Career/Profession? I was a Physician Assistant for 34 years (Family Practice) - retired. Owner of Runner’s High, a road-race timing company since 1979,
with Chip timing since 2000. We provide timing services to almost 300 races per year.

When did you start running and why? March 22, 1978 just prior to graduation at Alderson-Broaddus College, WV.  Just finished reading Ken Cooper’s book on aerobics, and on that sunny morning, I decided that if I was ever going to start running, today was the day.  I set a goal of running the Boston Marathon before I was 40 although I can’t remember if I really knew how long a marathon was.

How much did you run in your peak years? Highest year 1983 - 3650 miles (10/day). Highest week, 120. During my daily-run streak, I have averaged 7.1 miles a day during 40 year streak.

Top performances? 40 Boston Marathons in a row including 2019. Average of best 25 - 2:44:03. Average of best 30 - 2:46:53. Average of best 35 - 2:50:51. Average of all 40 - 2:58:19.
Winner of 50-59 age group in 2006 with 2:46:44. My marathon PR is 2:28:48, Chicago 1990.
Have toilet paper, will run.

Estimate of total lifetime miles? 107,000 on 12/31/19.

How much are you running and cross-training now? 
Never stretched in 40 years, except for tying shoes and picking up loose change on the ground.  Started Yoga in 2019, and attended over 160 classes in 2019.  (Not running any faster and still can’t touch my toes--just saying)

Recent race results? I ran 26 races in 2019 (age 63). Best 5K - 20:43. Boston Marathon 3:30:45. Columbus Marathon  3:28:55

Motivation? Maintaining a log of daily, weekly, monthly and yearly mileage keeps me on track.  Running with others is a lifesaver.  Only 700 of my 2300 miles in 2019 were alone. Also, competing in races of all distances keeps me focused and motivated more than anything else.

Any dietary or weight changes? Weight is almost exactly the same as it was in 1978. Diet includes beer and ice cream, but seldom at the same time. My last McDonald's hamburger was June 5, 1985.  No supplements, but Vitamin I (ibuprofen) and I are good friends.

Injuries or health issues? How have you dealt with these?
First injury was plantar fascitis in year 1. It responded immediately when I bought a pair of real running shoes. A testicle biopsy in 2000 just about ended my streak. As Forest Gump would say, “That’s all I have to say about that.” Multiple kidney stones from not drinking enough water. I had a hamstring tear one week before Boston 2018, but suffered through a 5:11:10. Six weeks later, I ran a 5K in 20:15.

It ain't always pretty. Could
this be Boston 2018?
Inspirational quotes or thoughts? 
1--The first step out the door is still the hardest. 
2--The older I “GET”, the faster I “WAS.” There are worse things to be addicted to.
3--Someday when the streak ends, it will be Dr Seuss’ line. "Not sad that it’s over, just happy that it happened."

Tips for other hopeful lifetime runners?
1--Listen to your body, but don’t be a wimp. "No pain - no gain” is a given, but “more pain - more gain” isn’t.
2--Invest in quality running shoes.  No need to buy the high end models with bells and whistles.  Just find a good sturdy shoe that works for you, and buy several pairs on sale.
3--Don't get addicted to high mileage.
4--Drink water, and stretch.
5--Do as I say, not as I do.

How does running & fitness improve your life on a daily/weekly basis? I can’t imagine the quality of my life without running.  I sleep well.  I’m never depressed.  I can eat about anything I want.  I can still wear my high school graduation suit (although I never would).

What is your philosophy of life and running? If I had to do it all over again, “I WOULD.”