Mark Covert, photo by Grace Patterson
Mark Covert is a truly unique individual, for many reasons. Covert competed in the 1972 and 1976 Olympic marathon Trials, running huge miles, as much as 6,000 miles in a year. Mark Covert gave up his job at a little company called Nike, because it was taking away from his running time. Mark Covert started his running streak with a fifteen mile run as a teenager, and he did not stop for 45 years.
Mark Covert was one of my early running heroes because, he was, well, real. Covert was one of the guys who made California road running real. Covert ran for the pure act of running. And, it was beautiful.
Mark Covert's running streak, was a living, breathing companion. In a world where we are surrounded by digital, social and audio noise, 24/7, it is not surprising that many people have the attention span of gnats. Covert's running streak is as about listening to one's heart, soles and lungs.
The ending of his streak, to me, is fascinating. Not so much a wake, but, a rebirth, a type of reincarnation. How will Mark run in the future? Will he take a break for a bit? Will he bike now, and run when his foot gets better? Who knows? Does it really matter?
In the end, Mark Covert has made the daily journey, for 45 years, 16,000 plus days, 145,000 plus miles. Covert has focused on the moment. In my mind, Mark Covert has given the best example of what Buddhists speak about, of being in the moment. He celebrated with his wife, his family, his friends.
While I was not at this event, I was at Mark's 25th anniversary. Mark doesn't look much different, but then, what would you expect from a guy who has been a lone voice of sanity in the desert for over four and one half decades?