Lifelong Runner Michael Smith Shares His Story
Part 1 of Patch series features one of three men who will be honored by the Baltimore Running Festival this weekend for having run every year of the decade-old event.
Michael Smith, 58, says his wife is all the motivation he needs to reach the finish line.
The Timonium resident has been running since 1978. This weekend, he will celebrate his 10th Baltimore marathon—a feat that Baltimore Running Festival organizers will honor this weekend.
Patch caught up with Smith who has been training for Saturday's 26.2-mile endurance test.
His wife Lynn, who he has playfully dubbed his manager, has been there for him step for step and stride for stride.
"I couldn't do it without her," he said, smiling at her from across the room.
Michael said that he usually plans for a long run on Saturday mornings. The lengths of his runs have gotten longer in the weeks leading up to the marathon.
He'll leave the house early in the morning and set out on his predetermined course. A little while later, Lynn will get up and pack the car with extra water, a clean shirt and a few words of encouragement.
Sometimes she'll catch up with him on his course and wait for him a mile or two ahead, parked along the roadway. When he passes her, she'll speed up and park another mile down the road.
"And then we go to breakfast," Lynn said, chiming in from the other room.
Michael will be wearing the No. 45 in the race this year, lumped in with a few other "10-timers,"at the front of the pack.
"When you're running the race sometimes you say to yourself I'm never going to do this again, you have to be so crazy. But then again I know Lynn is at the finish so I can keep running knowing she's going to be there," he said.
Aside from thinking about his wife, Michael said running has become a way to relax and organize his thoughts. While he runs he thinks about animals he sees, the pretty houses he passes by, "watching out for BMWs," and litigation for upcoming trials he has to plan for as a lawyer.
"The next you know you look up and you've run three miles from when you started thinking about this stuff," he joked.
Most men at 58 years of years may find it difficult or even absurd to pursue a goal of running 26.2 miles, let alone doing it once a year for 10 years. But that isn't the case with Michael.
"Age doesn't have anything to do with it. If you don't like to run, you're never going to run. If you like to run, you can gradually work up to it," he said. "There's a certain addiction that's involved. When I started running I was thinking about times and distance but now I just go ahead and do it. It's relaxing and I do it first thing in the morning. I don't have to worry about distractions."
With his full head of hair and lean physique it would be hard to guess Michael is nearing 60. But he doesn't take much stock in his healthy look.
"I think I look heavy," he said, sipping a glass of red wine.
"Oh please!" Lynn called out without missing a beat.