Name: Marcus W. Mitchell
Married to Pamela “Pam” and two lovely children Jared (aged 9) and Will “the Mayor” (aged 7)
Residence: Holbrook in the County of Suffolk
Occupation: Project Engineer (aka Chief Cook and Bottle-washer)
Firstly, I wanted to thank Samantha Simon for a great week. I also wanted to point out three interesting items we have in common. 1. We both have first and last names that begin with the same letter. 2. Both our first and last names are first names in themselves and 3. We are both incredibly nice people.
Like many warriors that have written these inspirational stories before I had no running heritage to speak of. Attending an all boys former Grammar school in Kings Norton, Birmingham, UK (see photo). My school held a mandatory 5k house cross country run. You could only get out of it if you were dying and even that was not a good enough excuse. I played football (soccer) for a few years but since David Beckham was already discovered I gave that the boot pretty swiftly. I did excel at a couple of unofficial sports during my teen years arm wrestling and darts. I know what you a thinking, what an athlete.I was also heavily invested in the Scout movement. I spent many of my Summers in large isolated farm fields in Somerset mentoring our younger generation. I loved to hike and one of my greatest endurance accomplishments was hiking the length of the Roman Emperor Hadrian’s Wall a total of over 100 miles in five days carrying gear and food (see photo). I also achieved the equivalent of Eagle Scout in the UK. Ironically, it’s called becoming a Queen’s Scout. My first taste of America was in 1994 when at University I was peer pressured into applying for Camp America. Camp America is an organisation that recruits international students who want to work at Summer Camps in the vast continent of United States of America. Camp Sussex in New Jersey is where I met my wife. I often joke with people that she was my councillor. I then pursued a Masters degree at Stony Brook. I actually graduated from the same program as fellow warrior Rich.
Fast forward a decade or two I had relocated my life to the new world where I soon would find myself married with children. The pregnancy weight piled on. My goodness the midnight ice cream cravings were deliberating. The pounds quickly added up and before you know it I’m the weight of a small horse. I was struggling to climb up the stairs at the tender age of 33. To remedy this I fad dieted for a while, walked at lunch and made an effort to get in better shape. I joined LA Fitness and would hit the elliptical trainer pretty hard.
The biggest hurdle arrived after I was again peer pressured by one of my close friends to apply to the FBI as a Special Agent. I always fancied myself as an international man of mystery. Miraculously my application was accepted and I was invited to 100 Federal Plaza, Manhattan to take the written examination and advised to start preparing for the fitness test right away. I had to run 1-1/2 miles in under 12m 15s which I thought would be a cake walk (well run). I headed to my local school track and did the customary stretches in an attempt to demonstrate to anyone else I really did knew what I was doing. Ok here we go I’m off. I barely made it 3/4 way around the 400m track where I found myself lying on the ground my heart beating so hard I thought it would pop out of my body. Not a quitter…I came back a week later and started running one lap walking a lap and steadily increasing the running and decreasing the walking intervals. I think within a month or two I was able to run 5k with only one (or two breaks, ok maybe three) Then my friend Pete persuaded me to sign up for my first 5k the Bellport Clipper Classic. What he failed to tell me (thanks a lot mate) that it was run in the afternoon and its in July so it would be typically hot and humid. I ran my first 5k sub 30 which really was unexpected given it was my first race since leaving school and it was hot.
Then after running the local scene for a couple of years I would see the Selden Hills Red and would be intimidated by the “it’s a hill get over it” slogan. Then about a year ago I was in a local supermarket (the brand is nameless but there is one currently under construction a few yards from our pole) and I was wearing one of my race shirts and Michael had commented on my shirt and mentioned the Hills. Then in July before one of the Sayville Summer Series runs I saw a bunch of Hills members. The amount of red just looked like it blended into one giant running machine. It was there I got talking to Gills and Sarah and they persuaded me to run the hills. I came down to my first hills run on July 5, 2015. I ran my first 10k with Sarah and Victoria and finished in just over 57 minutes which remained my PR until just recently. I was hooked and have since run the hills twice a week with a few exceptions. I have now completed all four of the courses and come along way from my first incomplete track lap. I’ve met some really inspirational people and am thankful for so many folks that continue to amaze me on my running journey. This year I am planning on running my first half and full marathon . I am looking forward to training with you RB, Georgia and the Selden Six.
I want to express my gratitude to Lou LaFleur for providing me with this opportunity and for welcoming me to this “little” group. All kidding aside thanks for all the dedication and hard work you put into our group. It’s a pleasure wearing the Scarlett of SHW and thanks for reading my story…there’s more to come .
Name: Marcus W. Mitchell