Mark Taylor: the published runner with an inspiring message for all

WE TALK to Mark Taylor about life as a competitive runner, author and triathlete.


Mark Taylor didn’t take running seriously until 2009 when he well and truly caught the running bug. He has gone on to write two books on the sport.

MARK TAYLOR had flashes of success with running during his youth but stopped taking the sport seriously until he came to a crossroads in life in 2009. At that time he found that running helped him tackle certain problems he was facing and has continued to use the sport as a catalyst to turn things around and make a career for himself.


Mark has gone on to challenge and better himself in races all over and has qualified for the Boston Marathon on six different marathon courses, including Boston itself. He’s competed in triathlon events over the last four seasons and has written two extremely well reviewed books on the subject of running.

Here Mark talks about what it is about the sport that has had such a huge impact on him and goes into detail about what readers can expect from his writing.  You can follow Mark’s blog at https://wiserunning.wordpress.com where you can also find out how to purchase his books.



When did you start running and what is it that you love about the sport?


I actually become a runner because I was a clumsy child. I did not learn to ride a bike until later. In the meanwhile, we were members of a local pool. That pool was a full 1.5 miles away from our house. While my brothers and friends would ride their bike to the pool, I would run next to them. I didn’t know it was hard. I just wanted to go play. We once had a neighborhood Olympics with medals cut from cardboard and colored with crayons. I only signed up for the ‘marathon’.


I ran high school cross country and track, working my way from being on the slow side to making the all-conference team. That success dropped into nothingness immediately after high school. I had a bad case of tendonitis and multiple doctors could not find a cure. That was 1985.


I would not run competitively again until 2009. When life got far too stressful, I went running. It was waiting for me like an old reliable friend. It was stress relief. It was a feeling of freedom. It was a place of peace and refuge. It was exactly what I needed to get me through.


It also meant friends. Runners are an awesome support system just waiting to welcome you and help you out.


What have been some of your biggest running successes over the years?


In my teens, the success came in the form of belonging and acceptance. I also scored points for our teams by running. It was good place be. In my senior year, I ran a half marathon in 1:20:43. I understand now that this is pretty fast. I had no idea. I just went for a run wearing a number. No watch. No plan. Just a good run on a flat and fast course.


In my grand return to running in 2009, I was quite a bit slower, just under two hours. Not bad for a 42-year-old after taking a 24-year break. Over the next several years, I managed to whittle down my half marathon time and win a few masters awards.


I have now qualified for the Boston Marathon on six different marathon courses, including Boston. My current personal record sits at 3:08:32.


What made you move into triathlons and what have been some of your highlights and biggest achievements in that sport?


I watched my wife complete her first half distance 70.3 triathlon in the fall of 2013. I was inspired. I quickly picked up a used road bike and started cycling. I was never interested in the short events. I have completed only one sprint triathlon and two Olympic triathlons in my four triathlon seasons. I do more half-distance races than anything else. I have completed one full 140.6 distance at Cedar Point in 2015, my second triathlon season.


I have to admit that I have not taken the easiest path into triathlons. The learning curve is incredibly steep. There are so many technical details that are make or break. I also made it more difficult by constantly changing bikes. I have finally settled on a bike and things are coming into focus. I started at the bottom and have slowly worked my way up to mid-pack.


I have my sights set on qualifying for Kona in a few years. Before that, however, my goal is to qualify for Boston at the end of a full Ironman. My next opportunity is at Ironman Louisville in just under two weeks from the time I wrote this.


Mark has his sights set on qualifying for Kona in the near future.

Tell us about the books you’ve written and what our readers can expect from your style of writing?


I wrote my first book on running out of frustration! There are so many people out there writing books, articles, and blog posts about running. That is great, but the frustration I faced was looking at this immense pile of knowledge on running. It was simply overwhelming. In addition to the sheer amount of facts and opinions out there, many of them were conflicting to some degree. The next frustration was the ‘everyone is different’ response that I got from the most knowledgeable runners when I would ask a question.


I wrote The Gift of Running to clear up the muddy water. I aimed at beginners, but made sure that anyone can benefit from reading all of the basics in one spot. I also wrote it from my personal perspective. Intermingled with the basic facts of running are stories of my trials, tribulations, successes, and joyous moments as a runner.


I followed that up with Wise Running to answer some questions that readers of the first book were asking. It also focuses a lot on personal perspective and motivating quotes.


I don’t make much money from either book. That was never the point. The point was to share and hopefully earn just enough to keep my website going.


My advice: If you want to improve your running, always start with The Gift of Running.


If you want more of the same kind of wit and wisdom, then order Wise Running.



Mark finishes the Williamsburg race with some support from daughter Amelia..

As a coach who are some of the kinds of athletes you work with and what message do you try to instill in them?


As a coach, I work mostly with two types of runners:


· Beginners benefit the most from the structure I provide and the willingness to answer every little question.


· Experienced runners that want to score a personal record on an upcoming half or full marathon


I love watching them get faster, but also grow smarter about how they train and race.


Tell us about https://wiserunning.wordpress.com/ and what we can expect from it?


Wise Running is a blog post where I share my experience, race reports, and test out new writing that will be updated and then included in my next book. You can go there to learn specific thing using a search or the key word cloud on the side. You can also go the Ask Mark section to ask a question if it is not asked elsewhere on the site. There is no fee for getting the answer. I just love to share knowledge and help runners meet their goals.


How hard are you currently training and do you have any events or races coming up in the months ahead?


Ironman Louisville is up next. I am in taper mode right now, but I have trained for 6 months.

Some folks may say that that is too much time to spend on one race. You are right. It is. I get so many other benefits from the 6 months of training. One of the biggest ones is that I get to swim, bike, and run long and fast. If you fall in love with the process, then it is not just about one race. It is about enjoying the experiences that lead up to it as well.


Enjoy the run!

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