Channahon man doesn’t let age slow him in 50-mile runs
By Jeanne Millsap For The Herald-News January 12, 2012 6:16PM
Michael Geldean of Channahon sheds layers of clothing during the 50-mile ultra-marathon in Chicago. | submitted photo
Updated: February 14, 2012 8:04AM
CHANNAHON — A lot of people would be satisfied to be in good enough shape to run even a couple of miles at the age of 50, but Michael Geldean went far beyond that. The Channahon resident and school board member spent the day after his 50th birthday running the Chicago Lakefront 50-Mile Race.
He even placed first in his age group and fifth overall.
Geldean is no stranger to marathons, which are just longer than 26 miles. He has run several official marathons, and his training for the 50-mile “ultra-marathon” included a month of running the equivalent of eight marathons over four weekends.
But the late October Chicago race was his first ever at 50 miles. He ran it in 6 hours, 47 minutes, 30 seconds.
“My goal was to break seven hours,” he said. “Everything went really well. The weather was perfect. It was a four-loop race along the lakefront,” he said.
Geldean said he finds 50-mile runs less grueling than the shorter marathon races, as the pace is slower, even though the distance is longer.
“As I age,” he said, “I slow down. I thought I’d try a longer race to see what I could do.”
He didn’t even hit a wall during the ultra-marathon, which he has hit before during regular marathons.
“I was running at a slightly slower pace,” he said, “and it was steady throughout. My son Andy ran the last six miles with me. That was nice. It kind of pepped me up.”
Geldean took up running when he was around 30 to keep in shape. His father, who began running in his 50s, was his inspiration.
After only a year of running, he ran the Chicago Marathon.
He tried his first 50-mile run last year, but only made it 31 miles after breaking his foot early in the race. He hoped he would make it the distance this time.
“I had some doubts,” he said of finishing. “It was kind of an unknown. I figured once I got to 40 (miles), I’d be OK.”
Normally, Geldean mostly runs on his own. It’s less complicated to schedule, he said, and he can run at the pace he needs to.
He prefers running outside, working on speed on weeknights and on distance on the weekends.
In addition to his enjoyment of running, he likes the health benefits it gives. He also sees the exact opposite of what some runners notice with their joints.
“A lot of people say when you get older, it’s really hard on your joints,” he said, “but I haven’t seen that. I think it actually helps.”
Geldean said it’s during the periods he’s not running that he notices joint pain. He’ll feel the stiffness when he doesn’t run for just a few days.