This Is Why I Run: Michael Ko
“I started running back in middle school because the track team in middle school had no cuts. As long as you kept showing up, you got to be on the team. I kept running through high school and for a short while in college (if you can classify pole vaulting as running), and then I took a very long break.
When my father was turning 60, I was turning 30. He was going to run the Baltimore Marathon and so I joined him. It was going to be each of our first marathons, and I thought it would be a great way to connect with my dad and get a great photo of the two of us crossing the line together. It turned out that he would end up beating me by over 20 minutes.
After that first marathon, I realized that couch to marathon was perhaps not a great thing for me to do, so I took a bit of a break for about seven years. At that point, a good friend of mine asked me to run a 10 mile race with him over Memorial Day. We trained a bit for this race, although it turned out that my good friend had been training much harder than me. He had enough time to finish the race, go to the car, get changed, and then walk back to the finish to see me cross the line. But we had a great time and have been running many Saturday long runs and races together since.
I've now run a total of five marathons and numerous half marathons. My most recent race was the Tunnel Marathon where I was able to qualify for Boston. This was something I would never achieve: something that I once thought was for other people but certainly not me.
But I don't run necessarily to qualify for races or to beat a certain time. I run because it makes me feel great. Things seem to make more sense on the days that I run. And it's a way that I can connect with the people and places around me. I run because sometimes, the sunrise is just too good, and I want to keep running with it for as long as the day breaks. Or sometimes, we explore a new place and, just when we think we should turn back, we only then reach a trail cutting through cliffs overlooking the ocean. And I don't ever want to have to miss out on experiencing something amazing just because my legs might be tired. Being in shape or maintaining a level of running fitness isn't about PR's and races anymore. It's about experiences.
And those experiences have extended beyond sunrises and views. Running, plus an affinity for action cameras, has given me a great creative outlet. I've been filming my running - adventures big and small - for several years now, and uploading those videos to YouTube has enabled me to share my little running adventures with the world. I have been able to share the time I found the sunset over the Pacific Ocean in San Diego, or the time I ran up a mountain in Arizona (*it may not have technically been a mountain), or the time I actually BQ'd at the Tunnel Marathon. And bringing people along with me through my videos has made the experiences all the more fulfilling.”
Watch his amazing run at Tunnel Marathons on his YouTube channel - you can find him by searching "Michael Kofuzi" and look for Tunnel Marathon.