Go! Running with Michael Harmon

As we celebrate our 7th Anniversary, we took a look back at some of the people who have been with us from Day 1.  One of those true “been there from the start” friends was Michael. I look back and can see his smiling, cheeky self popping up at our grand opening, and on our original weekly run (Tuesday for a short period of time), at packet picks ups and special events.  And before we knew it, we were hooked and had to get to know him better. He quickly went from ‘Customer’ to ‘Customer Service’, working for us part time and joining in full steam ahead with the Go! Family. If you’ve been to one of our weekly “Thursday” runs, or any Grand Prix race, you’ve probably met Michael. He’s an attorney by trade and a runner at heart. What has always amazed me about Michael, is that he is truly liked by everyone. Just speak to any trail runner, marathon maniac, road runner warrior, AURA member, track trekker and more. He has a very welcoming way about him and can relate to both the novice and the experienced runner alike. So we thought it fitting, to sit down with Michael for a chat, and here’s what he had to say about running and his life on the road.

What are your hobbies, outside of your professional life?

Outside of work, I enjoy running, traveling, gardening, beekeeping, and acting.  When I’m not injured, I try to run at least three times a week.  Tuesdays at the track with the fast people (I’m the slow one.). Thursdays at Go! Running or at home when work keeps me from Go!  Sundays at Scott Field.   Spring and summer will find me tootling around in the garden trying to do my best to raise garlic, tomatoes, peppers, okra, and eggplant.  It’s good to get the hands dirty  I have two beehives of honeybees but have yet to figure out how to get honey.  I love the theater and occasionally be found acting a fool on one of the several theaters in Little Rock.  Support local theater!  Between all those hobbies, I’m always busy.  Lastly, but probably most importantly, I’m ‘Gary The Dog’s’ human. 

Why did you start running?

I got started running when I was approaching one of those milestone birthdays.  A friend of mine said he was going to run a marathon, which caused me to think i could do that.  Well, he ran the marathon.  I bailed and ran the half.  I decided then and there that people who ran marathons were insane.  I only ran 13.1 miles and felt like l had been run over by a steamroller.  So, naturally, I ran the marathon the next year.  During the training for the marathon, I met Michelle Rupp.  She was my running buddy and motivator during the training.  Thanks to her, I was able to finish the marathon and was hooked.  Since then, I have finished at least 35 marathons (I lost count) and 3 – 50Ks.  I travel with work two to four times per year and usually try to find a race during my travels.

What’s your favorite thing about working with Go! Running?   The people.  The people who come to the store, the people who work at the store, and the people who own the store.  I love getting to visit with the people who walk in the door, finding about their goals, and helping them with their goals.  Working at Go! is great because it’s not like going to work, it’s like going to the hangout with running friends and socialize.  Everybody has a story.

What three words describe your running?  Slow.  Slower.  Slowest.  

Do you have any quirky habits while running?  If it’s anything longer than a 400m run, I will be point-running.  I will pick out a point to run as hard as I can as fast as I can.  Then catch my breath, walk, and repeat the point run.  One day, I’ll be able to put these points together and not stop during a race. 

Finish this sentence.  I won’t run outside when it’s storming.  I don’t mess with lightning, though I thoroughly enjoy a great thunderstorm.  Anybody up to chasing tornados?

What was your best run ever?  My best run ever was at the 2009 Seattle Rock ‘N Roll Marathon in Seattle, Washington.  It was my birthday.  It was a PR.  I haven’t come close to that time since.

What’s your favorite race and why?  Cossatot River Trail Half Marathon at Cossatot River State Park in Wickes, Arkansas.  This race takes place in October, usually when the leaves are showing a brilliant display of orange, gold, and red. The race starts at the north end of the park and follows a single-track trail along the beautiful Cossatot River.   The single-track trail meanders along the river and crosses the river before hitting the hills above the Cossatot Falls.  The Cossatot River, by the way, is the only place in Arkansas that has Class IV or V rapids when the water is high.  Otherwise, the rapids are rated Class II or III.  The changing color of leaves, the trails, the sights of the river, and the sound of the falls, all make this race my favorite.   

What do you love most about running?  The socialization. Running may be an individual sport, but it is definitely a social sport.

What is a goal you have for your runnning?  My goal, as it has been for the last six years, is to run the Go! Mile in 6:59.99

If you would like to meet Michael, we invite you to stop by and chat with him on a thursday night and the rest of the Go! family. We welcome runners and walkers from all paces and walks of life. Come and be part of our running/walking community. Remember, every run begins with Go!