Taking Back Life & Health One Mile at a Time

May 25, 2012

 Runner-up: My Most Memorable Mile Essay Contest (May 2012)

Thank you to Joshua Perks for submitting his Most Memorable Mile. We've heard that the Mile is the perfect distance and goal to start one's healthy journey. Take Joshua's word for it; he's living testament. Now go out there and get one more PR!

My first real memory of racing a track Mile is in 9th grade, although it was 1600 meters.  Over the next several years I got faster, but I never put my heart into training. By the summer of my junior year I decided to quit and focus my energies on smoking, drinking and hanging out with friends. I didn’t run again for over 10 years.

In the spring of 2002 I was getting ready to turn 28 and decided to take my life and my health back. I quit smoking a pack a day and started running. 

The first run was awful.  I did 2 miles in about 18 minutes, but after a few months I was doing 40 miles per week including speed work.  In late July 2002 I ran my first race.  It was a 1600 meter race at the Twilight Track Series in Lagrange, NY on the same track I had run my first ‘mile’ race more than 12 years before. I ran 5:15 and it felt incredible. 

Immediately I set my mind to breaking 5 minutes, then 4:50 then 4:40. It wasn’t until February of 2003 when I took a trip down to the Armory in New York City for their Thursday Night at the Races that I ran my first actual mile on the track.

Then on June 12th, 2009 I ran the Charlie McMullen Mile in Rochester, NY, my first outdoor Mile, finishing in 4:41.  I returned in 2010 running 4:34 and then in 2011 I finally cracked the 4:30 barrier running 4:29.84. 

My first thought as I began my cool down that evening was of the quote from Once a Runner, ‘everyone runs a 4:30 mile in high school.’ I ran my last high school track meet in 1991, but it took 20 years to be like ‘everyone’ else and run a 4:30 Mile.

Now with my 38th birthday fast approaching, and 10 years since I quit smoking I hope to squeeze a few more seconds out of these legs.  I don’t’ know how many years of PR’s I have left in me, but I’m hoping it is at least one.

Joshua in the white Roadkill Racing singlet (hip #11) on the outside side lane sprinting past two of his competitors at the finish


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Return the Mile to prominence on the American & worldwide sports and cultural landscape by elevating and celebrating the Mile to create a movement.

Bring Back the Mile as the premier event in the sport, and increase interest in and media coverage of the Mile for both those who love the distance as well as the general public.

Bring Back the Mile to celebrate the storied distance and to recognize the people who made and make the Mile great and to promote Mile events and the next generation of U.S. Milers.

Bring Back the Mile to create a national movement for the Mile as America’s Distance,
to inspire Americans to run the Mile as part of their fitness program and to replace the 1600 meters at High School State Track & Field Meets across the country.

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