Not only was it a unique setting, but the dialogue I had with 4 Time Olympian and Villanova Coach; Marcus O’Sullivan was nothing short of fascinating. Please see this link for part 1, as I met the legend in a quiet NJ cornfield. O’Sullivan is also the first human to ever run 100 sub 4 minute miles.
Despite his legendary status, O’Sullivan could not have been more hospitable and charming. He shared some interesting thoughts about his views on running, He first noted “Running should be a part of a healthy lifestyle with other physical activity (in addition to running) incorporated.”
He then spoke about a topic fascinating to us… The Irish Pipeline, referring to the tremendously talented runners who came across the pond from the Emerald Isle to run for Villanova University. When asked about the rationale for such talent from Ireland, O’Sullivan explained to us that “point to point racing is engrained in European culture. For centuries, people wanted to compete in running, horse racing and other similar events and that spirit has never waned.”
(Photo Credit: Leevale)
Due to our peculiar, fruit stand-side setting, I asked him about nutrition and running. His words were surprising as he noted; “Nutrition is not the most important thing for younger runners, but is more important for older runners”. He went on to say “Trust your body. Learn to know what feels right for you.” He also noted the importance of having fuel in your tank to draw upon, especially if you run longer distances. Marcus also felt that “modest changes in diet can often make an impact to how you feel when running”.
Our dialogue was truly remarkable and one that I won’t soon forget. His down-to-Earth spirit reaffirms that whether you are a 4-time Olympian or a shlub (like me) we are all runners. The joy of the sport brings us all together in a spirit and comrodery not found in any other sport. Best of luck to Coach O’Sullivan and his Villanova Wildcats this season. It was truly an honor to meet this fascinating man.