I think the mile requires a hybrid type of athlete. We’re half sprinter and half distance runner. I think that the mile race itself is just long enough to create a dramatic anticipation for that last lap, and then this explosive finishing kick where really anything can happen. It’s a sort 4-minute story that’s really exciting to watch. ~ 1996 Olympian Paul McMullen, who grew up in Cadillac, Mich. and now lives in Grand Haven

On the latest episode of the Michigan Runner Girl podcast, Paul talks about the allure of the mile, his amazing talent for this distance, both in high school and on the collegiate level — his best mile time was 3:54 — and what it was like to become an Olympic athlete. Paul, the father of three children, also shares what eventually propelled him beyond the mile and toward much longer distances, including the ultramarathon. He ran this year’s Boston Marathon and also participated in an especially grueling ultramarathon in Spain. Paul also is candid about how his relationship with running has changed over the course of his athletic career. {To listen to the conversation with Paul, click on the player at the top of this post. Or download the episode using your favorite podcast app}

Paul McMullen

Paul, who is running this fall’s Holland Haven Marathon, has a passion for encouraging young runners. Through his youth running club Chariots of Fire in west Michigan, he is inspiring kids ages 6 – 13 to enjoy running. Through play, these kids have a fun place to discover and develop their gift of running, Paul says.

Paul also talks about how In 1997 he lost parts of two toes when his foot slipped under a lawnmower he was operating. He returned to the sport in December 1998 and was able to run even faster than before the accident. Runner’s World referred to him, somewhat tongue-in-cheek, as “the world’s fastest eight-toed miler.”

Paul is an eight-time NCAA All-American who graduated from Eastern Michigan University in 1995. At his specialty of 1500 meters, he was the 1996 Olympic Trials 1500-meter champion, 1995 USA Outdoor champ and 1998 USA Indoor mile champ and tenth at the 1995 and 2001 World Championships outdoors. His personal bests are: 1500m-3:33.89 (2001), Mile-3:54.94 (2001) and 800m-1:45.71 (2001).

The Michigan Runner Girl Show is made possible in part by the Grand Traverse Resort & Spa. Traverse City Tourism also helped make this episode possible.

If you enjoy what you’re hearing on the Michigan Runner Girl show, we’d be so grateful if you’d take a few moments to write a review on iTunes. This will help more runners and Michigan lovers like yourself find the podcasts. Thank you!! Also, the quickest way to get the podcasts is to subscribe to the show via iTunes or via Stitcher or your favorite podcast app. 

A special thanks to Mike Moran, Mike Youker and Jonny Tornga of Quarter After Productions in Traverse City, Mich. for producing the show. Check out this studio’s work here.

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One Response to “Olympian Paul McMullen is inspiring young Michigan runners”

  1. Mike Bond

    Paul just doesn’t inspire young runners, but old runners and others as well. I’ve know Paul since his days at EMU. Recently at 52, I decided to get back in running. I had run from age 14 to 26. Paul was an inspiration. His biggest thing in running and life is making the effort and to believe in yourself. That kept me going as well as a few other things. I did finish my five mile run at the Canal Run (July 21) in Hancock by the way. Paul is a class act and I’m honored to have seen him run a lot and more honored to be his friend.

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