Mark Tanaka

Age: 48, Years running: 35-ish, 14 runni, Hometown: East Bay of Northern California, Favorite product: HELIOS SR


What are some of your lifetime running goals?

Finish 100 100-mile races. This should happen before I turn 60 even if I have to tone things back a bit. Keep running into my 70s and 80s if I can help it. I have a long bucket list for races, mostly longer ultras. Not get the runs too many times.

Do you have a claim to fame?

I haven't DNF'd since I was pulled from my first 50 miler atop the Bay Area's Mount Diablo (and ended up in the hospital overnight), September 2003. 145-170 ultras since then depending on how you count, and over 45 of them 100 milers. I've DFL'd in two 100 milers-- I'm more proud of these than the 1st-place finishes I might be able to count on both hands.

Do you have any vices?

(hee hee hee) absolutely not!

What makes you tick as a runner and in the real world?

adenosine triphosphate and NADP+, if I remember my biochemistry correctly. (Geeky questions merit geeky answers.)

What drives you to run?

If nothing else, avoidance of withdrawal symptoms, which would possibly adversely affect my home and work lives. I have a lot of great great trails starting within a mile from my house with gorgeous views, so it's not hard to get motivated to put on one of my La Sportivas and get out there. Also, this past summer we just a dog, who now shares my addiction.

What is your favorite movie?

The one I'm watching right now, if it's good. Live in the moment!

Do you have any nicknames? Explain:

only behind my back

What’s the longest you’ve gone without sleep? Why?

50-something hours driving to and then running my first 150-mile race, which started at noon, was very wet and muddy and cold during both nights, though maybe I was sleep walking for some of it.

If you had to be named after one of the 50 states, which would it be?

It would be so dope to have the 51st state named after me.

What did you have for lunch yesterday?

Not enough. Often leftovers; if my wife made it, still totally delicious.

If you could hook up a thought monitor to your head, would you see pictures, hear words or would music be playing?

Music with words and pictures.

What really scares you about trail running?

Coming down with some chronic illness or suffering a severe debilitating injury so that I could no longer do it.

If your life was made into a movie, what would it be called?

"Daaaaaaang!" (based on a true story)

Where would you live if it could be anywhere in the world?

Wherever the best party with lots of free gourmet food is happening, especially if my kids can come too or at least there is free day care on site.

What’s your worst encounter on the trail?

Bad chafing down there.