Whether he knew it or not, Wayne Levy was always a runner. Born in Jamaica, Wayne spent the first 12 years of his life over delivering on his chores; when his mom asked him to pick up some milk, Wayne would sprint to the store and back, handing her the carton practically before she could pour her cereal. She knew he loved to run, but it wasn’t until Wayne moved to Connecticut at age 12 and started playing basketball that he realized he could run laps forever around the court without getting tired or bored. And when his coach encouraged him to join the track and field team 34 years ago, it was the beginning of his life’s passion.
Wayne ran competitively through high school and university and has continued to race with the Boston Athletic Association since. He’s completed 13 marathons, over 30 half marathons and countless 5 and 10 k’s. He runs over 70 miles (112kms) a week and is poised to run his 100,000th mile during this year’s Boston Marathon on April 15th. That’s an average of 8 miles (13kms) A DAY, every day, for the last 34 years – or equivalent to 1,760,000 football fields, 33 times across the USA, 4 times running around the earth, or HALF WAY TO THE MOON! A pretty huge accomplishment if you ask us. With 6 Boston Marathon’s under his belt, we sat down with Wayne to find out what makes Boston such a special race, and why running is what makes him tick.
why do you love running?
I owe a lot to running. My mother passed away when I was 16 years old and I started down a bad path: hanging out with the wrong kind of friends, making questionable choices and being self destructive. Luckily I got connected to a group of older mentors from the Runners of Bikilia, a local running club from New Haven, Connecticut who took me under their wing and pulled me back onto the right path. Without running I’m not sure where I would be today.
what makes the Boston Marathon so special?
Other than because it’s the best marathon in the world?!? Boston is such a unique race: it’s the only race that you have to qualify to run, it’s the oldest marathon in the world and packed with history, the route is incredibly challenging, and it literally brings an entire city out to cheer and get involved. It’s surrounded by so much mystique, that the energy from all of the runners and crowd is just electric. It’s held every year on Patriot’s Day (a Massachusetts holiday) and the entire community comes out for parties, BBQs and to cheer – there is literally someone supporting you on every step.
was your first Boston Marathon everything you’d expected?
Actually, in my first Boston Marathon I had to drop out. I made it 17 miles and then my body just shut down. I was so heartbroken because I had been looking forward to it for so long and I felt so disappointed. But I realized that sometimes we fail, and what’s most important is that we keep trying and pushing ourselves. I came back the next year and finished strong.
100,000 miles is A LOT. what does it mean to you to reach that mark?
It means so much to me. If you told me 34 years ago that I would eventually run 100,000 miles, I probably would not have believed it. What stands out is how I have enjoyed every single one of the 100,000 miles. Although I hope to run another 100,000, it is quite an accomplishment to run this far. After all, a lot of cars don't even make it to 100,000 miles!
what advice would you give someone whose goal is to qualify for the Boston Marathon?
Anything is possible! Other than a few exceptions, almost anyone can qualify for (and run) the Boston Marathon. You just need a little determination, some patience, and a personal commitment to this goal. With this, the rest is easy. My father would always say to me, "Plan your work...and work your plan.” The same applies for qualifying for Boston. And the good news is there is plenty of help (training plans, coaches, training partners, etc) out there.
tell us about something that you’re proud of.
Although I’ve run lots of half marathons and races over the years, I’m so proud to have been the winner of the inaugural Boston Half Marathon in 2001. The half marathon is put on by the Boston Athletic Association (who put on the full Boston Marathon), and it was just so special to me to cross that finish line first, in my own city, surrounded by so much support.
what else should we know about you?
For the last few years I have worked with a company called RunBoston.org, which gives running tours of historical Boston. It’s such a great way for people to see and experience the city, and get to run through some of the most historical neighbourhoods in the USA. People even get to run across the Boston Marathon finish line! I’m proud to now be the owner of Run Boston, and have the chance to share my city with others in such a unique way.
Good luck to Wayne and everyone running the Boston Marathon on April 15th! Follow @lululemonlive for updates on race day - we'll be there with bells on.