Mark Conover, photo courtesy of Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo Track & Field
This is a piece on Mark Conover, the 1988 Olympic Trials marathon champion and the Director of Track & Field at Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo where he has been the last 25 years.
Today, I wanted to tell you about Mark Conover. Mark is the 1988 Olympic Trials champion at the marathon. He is a 4 time Olympic Trials qualifier.
For the last 25 years, Mark Conover has coached at Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo. Mark is the Director of Track & Field and Cross Country.
Over the past 30 years, I knew I would see Mark several times a year at major running events in California, and if I was lucky, at US championships.
I always enjoy my time with Mark. He is a naturally funny man, with a deep thoughtfulness about him. I always learn something when I speak with Mark.
In 2007, Mark and his wife, Kelly, became parents of triplets, two girls and a boy. I remember Joe Mangan, the man I coached with at Foothill college and probably the most informed man in our sport, about Mark and Kelly’s new additions. I remember smiling and saying how Mark and Kelly would have a life of love, craziness, and lots of energy.
One of the recent times I saw Mark was at the CIF Cross country championships, Mark was checking out athletes, and we spent a few minutes chatting about the quality of the athletes.
Mark is that kind of guy. At Cal State Humboldt, Mark had developed from a good runner at Miramonte High School to the 1981 NCAA Div 2 champ at 10,000m and cross country. Under the watchful eye of the late Jim Hunt, Mark learned his lessons on what training worked for him.
Mark is an Olympian. He competed in the 1988 Olympics in Seoul. He competed at the US Trials at the 10,000m one time (1984) and 3 times at the marathon (1988, 1992, and 1996). Mark competed in 1996, even after battling cancer for the first time.
Mark is one of those people that you meet in your life which you can never spend enough time with. I have always loved to watch him with his athletes, fellow competitors, and fellow coaches.
Mark loves coaching. Mark loves his family and friends. He knows how fortunate he has been in life.
One of Mark’s closest friends, Kevin Searls, gave us this quote from Mark Conover. Mark noted this after his 2019 stem cell treatment:
Honor those fighting or who have fought this insidious disease.
Especially honor those who battled and succumbed to it.
Keep moving and do what you love. And love some more.”
Now, Mark is in hospice, and I wanted to take some time to think about him, and how many people over the years he has influenced. Mark Conover is a good man, and isn’t that the best that we can say about a friend?
To send a note, please check out Mark Conover at CaringBridge.