By Craig Pearson
TERRE HAUTE — A Terre Haute marathoner made his first trip to Green Bay, Wis., last week to run the Green Bay Marathon expecting temperatures in the upper 50s or lower 60s.
Instead, Scot Mullins raced Sunday in typical fall football weather. Temperatures at Lambeau Field were in the 30s after a storm hit Green Bay the night before the marathon.
Despite expecting the tame temperatures, Mullins had gloves and ear warmers with him on the trip.
“I always come prepared,” he explained.
Mullins ran a lap inside Lambeau Field before crossing the finish line (He did not actually run on the frozen tundra; it was being re-sodded). Mullins said it was “nice” to run in Lambeau Field —it was not the same thrill for him as it was for many native Cheeseheads.
Mullins finished in 2 hours, 23 minutes and 58 seconds, which is just 1:58 short of the “B” standard for qualifying for the USA Track and Field Olympic Trials.
The 33-year-old set a new personal best by more than six minutes, breaking his previous mark which he set in February by winning the Myrtle Beach Marathon in 2:32:01.
Mullins thinks the qualifying standard for the USATF Olympic Trials is within his reach.
The problem is you can’t go out and run a marathon every few weeks trying to reach it. So Mullins is registered for the Chicago Marathon in October, hoping a “flat, fast course” can help him shave off a few more minutes.
Mullins hopes to stick to the training plan he used for Green Bay, which was putting in 120 to 130 miles per week. Mullins said his weekly training before Myrtle Beach was only 80 to 90 miles.
In the weeks prior to Green Bay, Mullins said he would average about 18 miles a day, getting up to 24 miles one day each week.
Only in the last few years has Mullins really got his competitive fire going again.
“I like to go out and run, but when I do I get competitive with it,” he said.
Mullins stayed away from running after he left Vincennes University in 1995 as the National Junior College Athletic Association national champion.
The graduate of Vincennes Lincoln married his high school sweetheart Stacy in 1994, when both were students at VU.
In Green Bay, Stacy could be seen in a “Scot’s fanclub” t-shirt with the couple’s three children, 12-year-old Kyle, 6-year-old Mackenzie and 3-year-old Kole. Once Scot was settled into his job at Union Hospital, he’s been able to devote more time to running.
“It also takes a big commitment from my wife and children,” Scot said. “They have a lot of patience with it.”
Mullins moved to Terre Haute eight years ago and got back into competitive racing with the 2004 Chicago Marathon. But right after that he suffered a broken foot in a pickup basketball game that kept him off the roads for about a year.
In the last few years, he’s been training with Tom Dever, Tim Fears and Jeff Andrew, all of whom run marathons under three hours.
With continued training, Mullins hopes to continue to improve.
“I don’t think there’s any reason why not. I feel better than I did when I was 20. There’s a lot of room for improvement,” Mullins said.
The best of the best marathoners in the United States are running around 2 hours, 10 minutes. Ryan Hall, 24, ran his first ever marathon in 2:08:24, the fastest ever debut by an American.
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Mullins’ son Kyle appears to be a future standout runner. The sixth-grader took third place in 1,600 in the Vigo County meet May 11.
“I won’t push him into it. I know how hard it is to train and be competitive,” Mullins said. “It’s something you have to love to do.”
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“In time, anybody’s who’s willing to do it and likes to run, can definitely do a marathon,” Mullins said.
Marathons are becoming more and more popular. Registration for the Chicago Marathon is already closed with 45,000 people signed up. Mullins said that isn’t uncommon these days.
Some advice for those just starting out, Mullins says, “take it slow and listen to your body.
“You just have to get out there, even if you have to start with walking, just do a little bit each day.”
For beginning runners, check out wvrr.og, the Web site for the Wabash Valley Road Runners. The Road Runners are offering courses called Running 101 and Running 201.
The first phase of Running 101 begins on June 4 with a meeting at the Terre Haute Family Y.
Craig Pearson can be reached by email at email@example.com or by phone after 4 p.m. at (812) 231-4356. Read his blog at blogs.tribstar.com/craigpearson.