Mary Wittenberg, President & CEO of the New York Road Runners, left, takes a loop with Phelps and Ohno. (Photo by Diane Bondareff/AP Images for SUBWAY)
This gold medal-winning Olympic speed skater, and a favorite among the Dancing With The Stars alum—not to mention the season four winner—is going for a run on November 6 around the boroughs of Manhattan in his first-ever marathon. I was lucky enough to score an invite to watch Apolo train at Chelsea Piers Sports Center in New York City, alongside buddy and 26-time Olympic winner, swimmer Michael Phelps, who was there to support his friend. (There was so much amazing talent in one place I wasn't sure I could contain my excitement!)
Phelps and Ohno take a breather and share a laugh over the swimmer's lack of running skills. (Photo by Diane Bondareff/AP Images for SUBWAY)
"For 15 years I have trained to sprint for 10 seconds, rest, sprint for 10 seconds, rest," Apolo told us. So I wondered why an 8-time Olympic gold medalist like Apolo, who is America's most decorated winter Olympic athlete, would venture so far from the ice to the pavement? As a speed skater, endurance is certainly not Apolo's cup of tea. But with the physique vastly different than a runner—big legs, tiny arms, comparing himself to that of "T-Rex"—Apolo is putting in the miles to support Subway's campaign to promote health and fitness.
After meeting Jared Fogle—the man who rose to fame after America discovered he had dropped over 200 pounds by eating Subway sandwiches alone—Apolo claims he was inspired by Jared's passion to lead a new lifestyle; and was put up to the challenge by Jared himself, who ran the 45,000 person marathon in 2010. "This is one of my favorite cities to visit, so to have the opportunity to run here, and have the city shut down once a year? That doesn't happen, it's amazing," says Ohno seeming extremely giddy to be part of such a monumental event.
I'm feeling honored to have met such an amazing athlete! (Photo by Diane Bondareff/AP Images for SUBWAY)
Did I ever think I'd witness a cross between athletic challenges, like speed skating and marathon running, in such a way? Not likely, but as as runner myself it was touching to see someone so inspirational take on a new challenge totally out of his comfort zone. Apolo's Olympic training may not have prepared him for the 26.2 mileage, or all the mental work that goes into tackling that "wall," however Apolo seemed like a man on a mission. Will I bump into Apolo on the race course in just less than three weeks? Who knows with the massive amount of runners I'll be making my way through, but I'll definitely be on the lookout for him like Where's Waldo.
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