Lincoln Marathon no match for 52-year-old man

Story by: Alicia Mikoloyck

NewsNetNebraska

Mark Krieger, a 52-year-old Lincoln man runs full and half marathons. "It's the best thing I have done  in my entire life."

Mark Krieger, a 52-year-old Lincoln man runs full and half marathons. "It's the best thing I have done in my entire life."

Mark Krieger started running just to keep up with his 18-year-old son’s senior soccer team; little did he know it would turn into something more than that.

“They got older and faster so I needed to do something.” Krieger said.

Krieger, 52, didn’t have much experience before he began training. His activity consisted mostly of lifting weights occasionally. Running was a rarity. It was something he wasn’t so sure of, but over time, Krieger warmed up to it.

Once he was able to catch up with his sons’ soccer team, his focus shifted to doing more, he wanted to train for the Lincoln Half Marathon.

He began the training program, which was a four-month process.

The regime consisted of running three times during the weekdays, followed by a long run on the weekend. This was the total number of miles ran during the week.

“The longest I had ever run was three miles, so it was crazy to then have to do three times that for a long run on the weekend.” Krieger said.

When May 2009 arrived, it was time. He was wondering if he would be able to finish the race, but his training paid off.

“It was a lot of fun, one of the best things I had done in my entire life,” Krieger said. “It was a beautiful day and we just had a great time.”

After he completed the race in two hours and five minutes, Krieger experienced no problems with his body being sore. He then decided that running the half marathon would be a yearly endeavor.

Krieger and friends after finishing the 2013 Lincoln Half Marathon.

Krieger and friends after finishing the 2013 Lincoln Half Marathon.

About 8000 runners were signed up for the 2009 Lincoln Marathon/Half Marathon, along with their friends and family who offer water and support along the path.

Krieger gives credit to his family and friends for keeping him motivated while running the race.

“They follow me throughout the course, meeting up with me in certain spots,” Krieger said. “It’s great to see them cheering me on, it gives me motivation to keep going and finish.”

His wife is in charge of making shirts every year for those who follow him around the course and cheer him on.

“I look forward to getting the fan club organized every year and we have fun plotting our viewing stops,” Terri Weeks Krieger, Mark Krieger’s wife, said. “Much more fun than running.”

It’s a tradition that on the night before the big race, Krieger and his friends and family have a spaghetti dinner, loaded with plenty of carbohydrates to gear up for the race. Krieger also has another habit of eating Piezano’s spaghetti, a cream cheese pepperoni and black olive pizza along with two beers the night before a long weekend run.

April 15, 2013 changed the way Krieger viewed his upcoming race in May. The tragedy of the bombings that rocked the Boston Marathon added determination. He was running for more than just himself this year.

“Boston was a huge motivator, I wanted to be able to run for them.” Krieger said.

The back of shirts created by Krieger's family for the 2013 Lincoln Half Marathon.

The back of shirts created by Krieger's family for the 2013 Lincoln Half Marathon.

Even though Krieger has his traditions and people who motivate him, mental toughness is the key to running the race year after year.

“I always remember on days that I don’t feel like running that if I can get through the first half mile of my run, I can finish the rest,” Krieger said. “It’s all about starting, not letting your mind convince you not to.”

 

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