The 13.1 Marathon New York is set for this weekend at Flushing Meadows Corona in Queens, with the accompanying Karhu 5K adding a fun additional twist. Because Karhu means “bear” in Finnish, the first 10 runners to “Beat the Bear,” a runner wearing the Karhu bear costume, will win free running shoes, and any others that best his time will win a commemorative tshirt.
Runners, meet the bear…
Bellerose, N.Y., resident Mark Carbone, an elite amateur triathlete and marathoner who has competed all over the world, will be that costumed character. He took a few minutes today to speak to The Ultimate Fan about his endeavor.
TUF: About how many triathlons and marathons have you competed in?
MC: I have been doing these events for over 15 years so I don’t have an exact count. I have done close to 25 marathons and almost 50 triathlons of all distances.
TUF: What is your training week typically consist of?
MC: Currently I am training 17-19 hours a week, but averge anywhere from 10-15 during the year, depending on event I am training for and period in my schedule.
TUF: What events are you currently training for, and which do you look to do in the coming months?
MC: I am finishing off my running and base work for triathlon season, so I have the Charlotte Half Marathon and the Long Island Half Marathon remaining, then I start my triathlon season with two big events - Buffalo Springs 70.3 in Texas and the ITU World Long Distance Championships representing TEAM USA in Henderson, Nevada, come November.
TUF: Tell us about TEAMMC.
MC: TEAMMC is a concept I created when I started my aim towards qualifying for Hawaii Ironman and in a personal sense — towards actualization. I was fresh out of college and wanted to create a TEAM of all who have influenced me and helped me attain both goals. I now in this stage of my life continue to use sports/training and my racing to “pay it forward” to those who aim to simply get in shape or look to improve their own race times, but may not have the right support crew.
TUF: How did you get involved with the Karhu 5K and “Beat the Bear” promotion?
MC: One of my sponsors send a few of us an email and I always thought it would be fun to be a mascot. I got a look at the outfit, thought “Why not?” since it would be a great challenge from a workout view, but add loads of fun. I work for a Finnish company so why not help support another Finnish brand?
TUF: Have you ever run in a costume before?
TUF: What challenges do you think it will present?
MC:The only thing I am worried about is the head. Looks big and I hope it swivels shut otherwise I may have to keep that thing as balanced as possible. I like the heat so I won’t wear much underneath but I intend to wear my heart rate monitor to get a file recording of this whole thing!
TUF: What is your typical time for a competitive 5K, and what do you expect to run in the costume?
MC: I never really train full out for a 5K since I like to use then as one of those “hard, painful” blast runs, but I can get close to the 16:30 to 16 range. In the costume, I’ve put the 18 minute barrier as my challenge.
The 13.1® New York half-marathon begins at 9:13 a.m. Saturday in front of Arthur Ashe Stadium and continues around the park, which was the site of the 1939 and 1964 World Fairs. The walker-friendly course will remain open for 3 hours and 30 minutes, a 16 minute/mile pace.
The Karhu 5K race will start at 9:05 a.m., on a separate course within Flushing Meadows Park.