Are you a marathon maniac? Michael Goolkasian, aka “Michael G.,” is. In fact, he is member # 377 of the Marathon Maniacs, a club that supports, encourages and fosters the lifestyle of those who love and are addicted to running marathons.
A look at Michael’s stats gives you an idea of his tremendous love for and dedication to the sport. Michael was recently inducted as a “Gold Maniac” (that is, someone who has run 12 marathons in 12 states in one year) and went quickly on to achieve the next level—“Iridium Maniac” (appropriately named after a very hard and extremely corrosion resistant metal) —after completing back-to-back marathons (that is, two sanctioned marathons within 48 hours) at Oklahoma and Route 66.
At age 46, Michael has competed in over 350 races since 1980, and has completed four ultra-marathon runs (up to 100k, or 62.1 miles), 139 marathons and nine Ironman triathlons. He recently earned the prestigious 50 States Marathon Club Award for running and finishing a sanctioned marathon in all 50 U.S. states, with his last and final state culminating in the Couer D’Alene (Idaho) Ironman event that included a 2.4-mile open-water swim, followed by a 112-mile cycling event and a complete 26.2-mile marathon.
Growing up on the East Coast, Michael G. was not always a runner and triathlete. Ice hockey was the sport of choice.
“I grew up in Methuen, Massachusetts, about 25 miles north of Boston, and I went to Central Catholic High and played a lot of hockey. I didn’t do track or cross-country, I just played hockey,” said Goolkasian, who is still involved with Central Catholic hockey as an assistant coach with both the JV and varsity programs as well as a volunteer youth director for the local YMCA program.
“At Bentley College in Waltham, my brother-in-law, who was training for the Boston Marathon, encouraged me to start running. I was surprised at how fast I was able to get fit and how much fun I had. So I joined the cross-country team. I wasn’t fast, but I just kept running longer and longer races until I started running marathons.
“My first was the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, D.C., and Arlington, Va. I also remember running the Boston Marathon as a bandit runner. You have to qualify for Boston, so those who don’t qualify run unregistered as bandits—oops! The cat’s out of the bag on that one!”
His best marathon time was a two-hour, 55-minute (2:55) run in Burlington, Vt.’s Vermont City Marathon. But his all-time favorite was a run along the edge of one of America’s greatest natural wonders.
“The Grand Canyon Marathon was my favorite,” said Goolkasian. “You’re just running there along the South Rim, with eagles flying overhead, down trails that Billie Mills (the only American to win the Olympic Gold Medal in the 10,000 meter) trained on, and to top it off, I placed first in my age group, set a course record and had the chance to meet and talk with the legend himself, Billie Mills, who officiated at the event.”
Michael credits his accomplishment to a good work ethic, a solid core of training partners, proper nutrition, and supplementation with Natural Vitality’s sports products.
“I use the Natural Calm® Plus Calcium daily before I go to bed for a good night’s sleep and recovery support. I noticed less fatigue in my hip flexor muscles, which always take a beating in workouts and racing. Along with the Cell Rejuvenator product and the Natural Life Minerals, these products help me recover and give me the added nutrition to keep me in the game longer.
“I have recently added the Nutra Rev!™super antioxidant product, which is giving me an added boost both before a long run and during the run. I experience more energy while training and am noticing more muscle definition as a result. I recently completed the Disney Marathon and Half-Marathon back to back on January 9, 2010, and I felt these products helped prevent any cramping that I may have otherwise experienced. They also reduced fatigue.
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“I swim every morning for about two miles, and I always notice when other swimmers cramp up during training. They always pull up short and start walking the shallow pool to shake off the cramping. They ask me how I keep from cramping, and I tell them, ‘Just use the Natural Calm Plus Calcium, and you won’t have this problem.’
“I also use Natural Vitality’s Organic Life Vitamins® (OLV), which give me a further edge as these multivitamins in liquid form keep my body nutrients at a level that helps me sustain my efforts without risking injury.”
We asked Michael about his upcoming events and how he could possibly top the 50 States Marathon Club Award, and he does already have something bigger in the works.
“My upcoming races include the Boston Marathon in April, followed by the Big Sur Marathon in California the following weekend. This is part of a coast-to-coast marathon that only 50 people are allowed to race. I also plan to do a marathon in Iceland and one on or along the Great Wall of China. But the big one I am really going for is the Seven Continents Club Award.”
In 1995, the inaugural Antarctica Marathon on “The Last Continent” made it possible for runners to conquer a marathon on all of the earth’s seven continents. In recognition of those runners who have achieved this amazing feat, Marathon Tours & Travel established the prestigious Seven Continents Club (SCC).
Michael has run officially sanctioned marathons in four of the seven continents but still needs to do a marathon in South Africa, one in Asia, and one in logistically the toughest and the coldest continent—Antarctica.
As the Marathon Maniacs credo states, “To be a Marathon Maniac does not require specific times—just that you finish your races. And also, that you have fun! After all, isn’t that why we do this?”
Although Michael’s times and achievements are impressive, the real “win” is enjoying the lifestyle, the camaraderie, and the people and friends he’s met along the way.
“Just being able to get out there and do it is a big part of my life. The motivation to stay healthy and fit is there—but a big part of it is the camaraderie, the people.”
Are you addicted to running marathons? Do your thoughts wander to the next scheduled race right after finishing a marathon? Are you registered for more than one race already?
Do you know the history of how the marathon got started and why the course is 26.2 miles?
Do you read books on marathons, like Marathon and Beyond? Do you start to feel depressed when you haven’t done a marathon in a while? Do you have a collection of marathon t-shirts bulging out of your dresser drawers? When asked about your racing by a non-runner, do you talk with great passion, to the point that the person regrets ever asking you the question? Have you run marathons on back-to-back weekends? On back-to-back days? When asked by family or friends what your plans are for the weekend, do you feel guilty telling them you’re running another marathon, so you tell them, “It’s only a half-marathon this weekend”?
If the answer is “yes” to any of these, tell us about your next running adventure—or join Michael G. for his next one, and have a blast!