Why the TCS New York City Marathon Stands Out on Michael Wardian’s Wild List of Running Adventures
Michael Wardian has run more than 50 races already this year, including 16 marathons, 10 ultramarathons, and a 400K.
“I’ve done every race under the sun,” he said.
Wardian keeps a spreadsheet of all his results, tracking his statistics from each race.
When the 43-year-old father of two runs the TCS New York City Marathon for the third time on Sunday, November 5, television viewers will be able to follow his statistics in real-time thanks to Performance Metrics Powered by TCS. A device attached to Wardian’s body during the race will provide real-time data for the WABC and ESPN2 broadcast. The device will track his heart rate, breathing rate, pace, and speed, and ESPN2’s John Brenkus will provide analysis and live look-ins to break down the data and explain to viewers what it all means.
It’s just one more thing that makes the TCS New York City Marathon stand out on Wardian’s jam-packed schedule.
“I love having the roads close to share what I love to do with so many people,” he said. “The level of enthusiasm of the people of New York is second to none. It has crazy participation from staff, spectators, and volunteers. I think New York is so electric when you’re there—the vibe is just surreal—and if you can tap into that, it’s pretty powerful.”
Wardian is a three-time U.S. 50K champion who has run more than 200 marathons all over the world, which makes his passport look like a worn-out phone book. He claims he originally picked up the sport “by accident” after running one marathon, but also that it’s led him to an “incredible life” of experiences.
Just look at his past year: Since winning his Abbott World Marathon Majors six-star finisher medal at last year’s TCS New York City Marathon, Wardian has raced in Antarctica, New Zealand, Morocco, and nearly half of the United States.
To kick off 2017, Wardian took part in the World Marathon Challenge, running seven marathons in seven days on seven continents. As if that wasn’t enough, he broke the world record, too. He eclipsed the three-hour mark in each of the seven races, averaging a 2:45 marathon.
Over the summer, he raced Colorado’s Leadville Trail 100—one of the toughest 100-milers in the country—the day before running the grueling Pikes Peak Marathon.
He also won the Fenway Park Marathon in Boston, running 116 laps around the edges of the baseball diamond.
The Virginia native has been referred to as the modern-day Forrest Gump, but claims there’s a lot of behind-the-scenes work that his followers may not realize he puts in.
“The marathon is long enough where you can’t fake it,” he said. “You can wing a 5K, but a marathon is an event where your fitness will show. You can’t hide behind somebody. It’s all about what you’ve done and the work you put in.”
Wardian’s achievements are displayed next to his sons' drawings on the “Wall of Honor” in their playroom. Everyone’s achievements are equal in the Wardian household. His boys, 11-year-old Pierce and 8-year-old Grant, have caught the running bug, too. Wardian now volunteers every Friday at their school’s running club.
“The fact that I work and have a job, family, and dog makes people appreciate that I’m not just this hermit living in the woods running all the time,” Wardian said. “I really hope that people are inspired by me to do a little more than they think they can. It doesn’t have to be running 100 miles and then a marathon the next day, or running 400 kilometers. It can just be finding a way to get in more steps than the day before, running a 5K, or taking their kids for a hike.”
He adds: “I hope people find community in it, too. That’s one of the nice things about runners. We come in all different shapes, sizes, demographics, socio-economic statuses, and there’s one thing that bonds us together, and that’s moving connectively through the world of running.”