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Distance runner Green logs 50K miles

Even Michael Green shakes his head in disbelief.

When he ran onto the front steps of his home on West College Street in Troy at exactly 5:15 p.m. Friday, he officially logged 50,000 miles “on the run.”

“Fifty-thousand miles is a number that is impossible for a runner to even think about,” Green said, with a smile. “It’s a number that just doesn’t make any sense. But I guess, if you run long enough, you’ll eventually hit 50,000 miles.”

That milestone distance wasn’t a goal that Green had set for himself. “It just happened.”

But, he did plan to make that last mile one to remember.

“I thought about hitting mile 50,000 at a couple of places, the track at Troy University or the Quad, because Troy University has been such an important part of my training,” he said. “But, I decided to run home and for Su to be there to meet me.”

Green’s wife, Su, has been so supportive of her husband’s passion for running that it was a moment that was special for both of them.

And, as incredible as it seems that a runner could log 50,000 miles, it’s even more unbelievable that those are only Green’s “recorded miles.” There are many more miles – hundreds more — that were never logged and never calculated.

Green started running in his native England when he was only eight years old. From the first running effort that he remembers, he loved the “sport.”

“I was a very active – hyper – child and I was also a small person,” Green said. “I wasn’t attracted to soccer so my dad encouraged me to run. From the beginning, I had a passion for running.”

Green admits that he is not a team-minded person. He enjoys team sports as a spectator but, if he’s going to compete, he prefers an individual pursuit.

“If you win or lose, it’s because of yourself,” he said. “You are your own competition. It’s you against the clock. You train to improve and you know when you didn’t do your best. The outcome is up to you.”

Distance running is, for the most part, a solitary sport. And, so is the training – the long hours of running and going nowhere.

“It’s rather ironic,” Green said, laughing. “I run and run but I don’t go anywhere. I finish right where I started. I run and then I go get in the car and go home.”

So, the solitary “game” for a distance runner is “played” by only those who have a passion for the sport. They can’t really explain it. And, they don’t have to even understand it. They just run for the inner joy of it and to compete against themselves, primarily.

Green runs and/or trains seven days a week, beginning on Sunday. And, by Saturday night, he has usually logged quite a few miles, building up to 110 to 120 miles a week while in training for a 26.2-mile marathon.

“Every now and then, I’ll take a day off but not often,” Green said. “A typical week for me is about 21 miles on Sunday, 10 on Monday, a speed session on the track and a few miles on Tuesday. Wednesday, I’ll run about 15 miles and Thursday will be another track session and run. Ten miles on Friday and on Saturday, I’ll do several miles in the morning and about four or five in the afternoon.”

Nobody forces Green to run so, when he feels like he needs to take a break, he’ll step away for a few days.

“But then I start missing it,” he said. “Running is wonderful. It’s fun. A main benefit for me has been discipline. Running is not a glamorous sport and it’s not a money sport. It’s a very personal sport.”

Since his dad started logging his runs when he was about 15 years old, Green has run 202 road races, 27 track races, 136 cross country races, 28 half-marathons and 10 marathons — three in London, three in Hartford, Conn., three in Huntsville and one in Scotland.

“The only one that I’ve won was Huntsville in 2003,” he said. “But I’m running to improve my times every time I run. My best marathon was 2.18.11 in 2004. My goal is always to train and be ready and to do my best.”

In a couple of weeks, Green will compete in the London Marathon, which is a world-class event.

“It’s an open event with two elite classes,” he said. “The World Class Elite will be the top runners. I’ll be in the second tier, the International Elite.”

There will be about 40,000 runners and the three top British runners who finish will qualify for the 2010 Commonwealth Games in India. The 2012 London Marathon will be a qualifier for the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London.

Michael Green, the “Brit” that he is and the competitor that he is, would like nothing better than to be a member of that team.

“When you have a goal you have to take a first step toward it,” he said. “You have to make the changes that you must make and do what must be done, unless you do, it’s just a pipe dream.”

Michael Green isn’t into pipe dreams. He’s run way too far for that.