Thursday, April 19, 2018

Volte's 2018 Road to Boston: Michael Csikos


Anybody that has been in The Woodlands running community for any length of time would know that you were talking about Mike Csikos.

This year’s Boston Marathon will be Mike’s third trip to Beantown and his 28th marathon in his running career.

Mike says that it is Boston’s community – other than it being the most elite marathon in the world – that keeps bringing him back.

“The way that the people in Boston totally embrace the event,” he said.  “From the time you step off the plane in Boston until the time you leave, you feel special and appreciated for your accomplishment.”

Our community here certainly has the utmost respect for Mike, starting with his coach, Juliee Sparks.

Mike and his coach, Juliee Sparks - alums of two different old SWC schools, Texas A&M and Baylor
(Photo courtesy of Bill Dwyer)
“Mike is a happy and dedicated runner. No matter how hard or easy the run is he always has the same big smile,” she said.  “Even with a very busy personal schedule he finds the time to get his training in.

“He is a smart and consistent runner. In the majority of his training runs and races he finishes with a negative split.”

Smart indicates having a plan and it turns out Mike had two – well, make that three – to get to Boston this year.

“I really wanted to qualify for Boston 2018 as I have a nephew attending Boston College and wanted to make the trip a mini-family reunion,” he said.  “I had a plan “A” and a plan “B”.  Plan “A” was the 2017 Houston Marathon.  However, the weather on January 15 was less than ideal.

“You know if you’re sweating in the staring corral that it might not be a BQ race and it wasn’t by a long shot for me.  I started a “run/walk” routine after mile 19 and began thinking about Plan “B”.”

For many runners in the greater Houston area, it always used to be the Austin Marathon – even with its elevation changes – that runners would shift to if the Houston Marathon wasn’t as nice as it could be.

Now, especially for runners in Spring and Montgomery County, The Woodlands Marathon is an option and it quickly became Mike’s plan “B”.

“The short course issue has been well chronicled, but I can’t blame that issue on not making the BQ time in this event,” he said.  “Although my 3:19:47 looks good on paper, the extrapolated distance-corrected time would not have been a BQ anyway.

“I really like the course and the weather was nice, but it wasn’t meant to be.  After the race, I started thinking about plan “C”.

And Oregon’s Eugene Marathon started coming into focus.

“The Eugene Marathon worked as it gave me enough time to recover and a good chance of ideal running weather in May,” Mike said.  “It was one that I’ve always wanted to run because it’s “Track Town USA”.  There is so much running history there and the scenery is beautiful.  Oh, and there’s that “nice running weather” thing too!”

With his wife, Lisa, and daughter, Michaela, along for a great family trip, Mike punched his ticket on May 7 last year with a time of 3:20:52.

They are “the most awesome marathon cheerleaders ever,” he said.  “They do such a good job of navigating around a marathon course – absolute pros!

“I was able to see them four times along the Eugene route including that awesome finishing stretch on the track of Hayward Field.”

And they are all held in high regard by Volte founder Bill Dwyer.

Mike at the BCS Marathon, where he has actually appeared on one of the race's highway billboards a couple of years ago.
(Photo courtesy of Bill Dwyer.)
“He and his family are amazing,” Bill said.  “I have known Mike for many years. We met when I was coaching a group for Team In Training in 2004.

“Mike and his family went through a tragic time with the loss of their son Christopher to cancer.

“In the years since, Mike has been very positive and uplifting to everyone.”

Including himself.

“I’m not going to Boston with the intent of running a PR; therefore, I haven’t stressed too much about weekly training mileage,” he said.  “My main goal has been to get to the Boston starting line as healthy as possible.”

Although he hopes to beat 3:36, which is his Boston PR, Mike admitted before the race that his training was going “OK” as he had done a couple of the Texas 10 Series races and said he had fun with those.

He hopes to complete all seven races in the Series this year and to focus on shorter distances.

But for the moment, Boston will be all about family and a great experience.

“I consider myself fortunate and blessed to be able to share the Boston Marathon experience with my family and friends,” he said.  “I looking forward to spending time with my immediate and extended family as well as my fellow Volte runners during the weekend.”

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