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Running for Life: Mike Daly
41, San Diego
“Running is relative. It doesn’t matter what your 5K time is, whether you’re doing it for fun or pushing hard. Anyone can get out there and run.”
Mike Daly is proof you can go from being a pack-a-day smoker to a fast runner and Western States Endurance Run finisher. In fact, he considers running a constant metaphor that demonstrates he’s capable of way more than he ever imagined.
“Once upon a time I thought there was no way I could run a sub-2:40 marathon, the Boston Marathon and a 100-miler. I had all these barriers,” the 41-year-old says. “By achieving different running goals over the years, I’ve been able to transfer the momentum to the rest of my life and turn ‘I can’t’ into ‘I can do that.’”
Daly’s first running coach was his uncle. He trained Daly for his first marathon in 2002 and even ran it with him. Later, he was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer and passed away in 2007 at the age of 51.
“There was a point where I took running for granted, but when my uncle passed away, it gave a new purpose to my running,” says the entrepreneur and founder of AEC Scout (an engineering and architecture recruiting firm) and Boom Running. “At the time my uncle was diagnosed, my friends were more into binge drinking at the beach than running. I was going through the motions. [Then] I realized my health and fitness were gifts. That next year I ran three half marathons, got PRs in all of them and became completely committed to running.”
In addition to training and running two businesses, Daly and his Boom Running business partner started a running team and host weekly group runs. This year he’s also working to set new PRs in his 10K, half-marathon and marathon times.
“Ultimately, I enjoy running. It’s meditative, sometimes it’s my alone time, sometimes it’s time to catch up with buddies, it’s therapy, it’s fresh air,” says Daly, who likes to log training miles in the morning before work. “My best friends, my business, my girlfriend all came through running. There’s not a day that goes by where something doesn’t happen that’s related to running. The running community is one of the coolest things of all.”