Mark Dupuis has been training with Endorphin Fitness since 2008 during which time he has accomplished several big goals, most recently qualifying for the Boston Marathon. These accomplishments had led to a new perspective on himself which is summed up best with his words, “Athlete was not a word that I would have used to describe myself. All that has changed now. Through Endurance sports and Endorphin Fitness I now am an athlete, and it feels great.” Read Mark’s story in his own words below…
Tell us about your journey to endurance sports. How did you get started?
I started back in 2001, with the realization that I needed to start doing something. I was about 50 lbs. overweight at the time, and I felt like it was starting to impact my quality of life. When I first started to try to run, I was doing a lot of run/walking. My first race was the 2001 Ukrop’s 10K. After it was over, I realized that I needed a goal to push me to keep training. Without a goal, it was too easy to stay on the couch. So, I took the flyer from the Ukrop’s 10K packet pickup bag for the Sports Backer’s marathon training team, and just signed up. That first year was amazing; every week was a new personal best and a new longest run. I had some setbacks, (shin splints), but I was able to work through them and get to the start line. After that I was hooked on endurance sports! Over the next several years I was doing a couple of marathons per year. By 2007 all the miles were starting to wear on me. A friend at work suggested that I look at Triathlon. I started doing research and decided that I needed someone to help me through this new thing (Triathlon) because there is a lot to learn. I found Endorphin Fitness and joined one of the early Adult training teams in 2008. Over the course of the next couple of years, I worked my way up the race distances, and in 2010 I trained for Ironman Louisville. That first Ironman was an amazing experience. My training was driven by fear of not finishing, so I did virtually every workout as prescribed. I can honestly say I was in the best shape of my life for that race.
When was your first race? Tell us about it.
My first race was the Monument Ave 10K in 2001, and my first Tri was the Power Sprint Tri at the Shady Grove YMCA in 2008. Armed with my Endorphin Fitness training I went out and finished 3rd in my age group in my first Tri. Before starting with triathlon, I had run many road races and had never come anywhere near the podium, so to podium in my first Tri I was hooked… on triathlons and Endorphin Fitness!
What is your greatest accomplishment in the sport?
Qualifying for the Boston Marathon after having started my endurance journey as a runner and having run over 20+ marathons over the past 17 years. Qualifying had been in the back of my mind since the start. But until a year and half ago I thought it was just a dream, that I would always just be a middle of the pack runner. But with the help of Coach Erin and a focused training plan, I qualified in June of this year; it took multiple attempts, but in the end, I made it. The feeling when I finally qualified was amazing.
What is your biggest goal right now?
Right now, I am preparing for the Boston Marathon in the Spring, but after that I am thinking about moving up and trying some Ultras. Racing has become so much a part of my life, that I am currently working on a long-term goal (10-year plan) to run a half marathon or better in each of the 50 states. (I have 21 done, Boston will be my 22nd state)
What motivates you?
Setting a goal that is beyond what I know I can do. It’s what gets me out of bed in the morning for the early training swim/ bike/ run.
Outside of training and racing, what are other important things in your life?
My wife and family have always been there to support me. No matter what the event I can always count on my faithful Sherpas. From Long Ironman days, to the many cold marathons that they have come out to support me, they are always there.
How has training and racing impacted the rest of your life?
It has given the rest of my life structure, helping me to realize that I can do anything, with the right preparation and planning. It has given me my health, the loss of which is what started me on my journey to begin with.
Why did you choose to train with Endorphin Fitness?
When I was starting out, I loved the group/team option. There were others with the same questions, and we all supported each other. Even when the goals got bigger, they were always there with a plan to get you there.
What do you love most about training with Endorphin Fitness?
No matter what my goal has been they have always believed that I could reach it, even when I was not so sure.
Anything you would like to add?
Growing up in a large family (a middle child of eight) I was never considered the athlete in the family. That was always one of my other siblings. Athlete was not a word that I would have used to describe myself. All that has changed now. Through Endurance sports and Endorphin Fitness I now am an athlete, and it feels great.