The RunRunLive 4.0 Podcast Episode 4-373 – Bill Sycalik Runs the National Park System

 (Audio: link) audio:]
Link epi4373.mp3

MarathonBQ – How to Qualify for the Boston Marathon in 14 Weeks -

Hello and welcome to this autumn edition of the RunRunlive podcast.  I’m a bit tardy with this one because of a perfect storm of scheduling priorities.  Like I said I have a new gig in the city where I have been figuring out the commute and putting in long hours, plus I’ve been in the final stages of a training plan with those long runs and hard workouts. 

Time has been short and logistics has been challenging for writing and recording. 

But, this is not the ‘whine about things’ podcast.  No this is the RunRunLive podcast where we talk about transformational power of endurance sports.  

Today we interview Bill Sycalik from Run the parks – you may have seen him in that running magazine or heard him on a podcast recently – he’s got a good PR presence and it’s a great story.  It’s a good chat.  I like what he’s doing.  It’s a good transformational story. 

Like I said in the interludes comment last week I’ve been hard pressed with a new professional gig.  I had two business trips this past week and have been putting in some long hours.  I’m not complaining, I love it and I understand that the first 90 days in any new position, whether it’s a contract or a new job or a new role in your current company – those first 90 days are a special opportunity that you need to seize.  And that can adjust your life balance. 

So – here it is Saturday and I’m going to give you the present of a few hours of my thoughtful attention, my RunRunLive friends.  

Training has been a struggle over the last couple weeks but I did get a nice long run in on the Wapack course and I’ve got another tomorrow.  Am I ready for the Maine Marathon in 3 weeks?  Of course.  I could roll out of bed on a random Tuesday and run a marathon.  Am I in race shape?  I give myself a solid B- on that.  My engine is still good but my legs aren’t keeping up as well. 

The big news, I guess, is that I got my confirmation letter for the 2018 Boston Marathon.  This will be my 20th Boston.  I am qualified for this race.  For those of you who have been on this journey with me, or more correctly on your own journeys with me, we’ve seen some ups and downs haven’t we?  We’ve been witness to many things.  We’ve experienced the meat and marrow of many endurance happenings.  We’ve learned a lot.  What a long wonderful trip it’s been, huh?

Here’s a story from one of my first days in the new office. 

I have been getting into the city early to beat the traffic.  Another team member showed up.  Just he and I, chatting.  I don’t know how we got on the subject, maybe it was a segue from the nice cool fall weather, but he starts telling me about the time he ran the Ragnar Relay on Cape Cod. 

I nod and ask some clarifying questions like, ‘Did you have a 12-person team?  Did anyone pull up injured?” 

Then he tells me about how he ran it with his Spartan buddies and about how obstacle racing is really his big thing. 

I ask, “Do you run that one up in Killington?”

He says, “Yeah, I love the Beast.”

I say, “Good for you, that’s a tough race.”

He says, “Yeah, I did it in like 9 ½ hours.”

And the point of my story is that I didn’t say a word about myself.  I just complimented him on his achievements.  Because, I try not to be ‘that guy’ in the office.  I always have tried not to be ‘that guy’ that people avoid because ‘that guy’ always drives the conversation back to himself. 

Let people celebrate their lives and achievements.  Don’t always be playing ‘who’s got the biggest’, even if they stumble into your domain of expertise.  Celebrate with them. It’s not about you.

But just for the record…Remember back when we ran the Ragnar as a Brooks sponsored ultra team with 6 athletes and won it?  And, yeah, remember when I talked to Joe DeSena about his Spartan stuff last year and he gave me an entry to the Killington Beast and a ran it in 6 ½ hours as a 54 year old?

But, it’s not about me, is it! Hah!

On with the show.

I’ll remind you that the RunRunLive podcast is ad free and listener supported.  What does that mean? It means you don’t have to listen to me trying to sound sincere about or Audible.. (although, fyi, my MarathonBQ book is on audible) We do have a membership option where you can become a member and as a special thank you, you will get access to member’s only audio. There are book reviews, odd philosophical thoughts, zombie stories and I curate old episodes for you to listen to.  I recently added that guy who cut off is foot so he could keep training and my first call with Geoff Galloway.   “Curated” means I add some introductory comments and edit them up a bit.  So anyhow – become a member so I can keep paying my bills.


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Section one – 2017 Wapack Trail Race -

Voices of reason – the conversation

Hi Chris,

Thanks again for the opportunity to be on the podcast. I think it was a good discussion. I attached a few photos. One Rocky Mountain, the other USVI.


National Parks Marathon Project - Crowdfunding Page -

If you want to include it - I'm Brand Ambassador for Hammer Nutrition (, Gnarly Nutrition (, Teatulia (, Footbeat ( and Running Buddy (

Social media is below in bio.


Bill Sycalik is the founder of the National Parks Marathon Project, his full-time effort to run a self-directed, self-managed, self-measured 26.2 miles in all 59 U.S. National Parks. Until June 2016 Bill was a management consultant leading large technology projects in New York City. Unfortunately, his passion for health, fitness and the outdoors were out of synch with his profession and location. He wanted to break from the corporate world and get back to nature.

When he read about the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service, as a marathon runner, Bill thought what better way to experience the parks than covering 26.2 miles in each one. He saw an opportunity to promote the National Parks, reconnect with the natural world through long trail runs and inspire people to get out and move in our country’s unspoiled wilderness. So, he quit his job and started running the parks.

Bill ran 48 marathons in the past 54 weeks completing all the parks in the lower 48 states plus the U.S. Virgin Islands. He is now planning to visit the parks in Hawaii, American Samoa in Alaska. To learn more about Bill and the project go to To connect with Bill and join

him at a park please reach out via Instagram (@runningtheparks), Twitter (@runtheparks) or Facebook


Section two – The First 90 Days -


Ok my friends you have run through various national parks in various states to the end of episode 4-373 of the RunRunLive Podcast.  Please wipe that dirt of your feet before you come in. 

I drove up to Quebec for an appointment this week and the leaves are starting to turn.  It’s a pretty drive but there is nothing up there in northern NH and VT.  Since the paper mills left there really isn’t much industry.  There’s no traffic either.  You can just set the cruise control and nap for a couple hours.

Having had an office in Quebec City for a number of years I know this route very well.  And, I know that if you want to you can cut through Franconia Notch.  There are a string of mountain hiking trails in there, smack dab in the middle of the Presidential Range of mountains. 

I pulled off, threw my kit on and went for an afternoon run/hike up the falling waters trail up the side of Mt. Lafayette.  It’s a super difficult trail.  You can’t really run it.  The rangers call it ‘falling people trail’ because of all the tourists they have to drag out. 

It’s really pretty though.  Runs right up a cascading brook.  Not runnable per se but certainly works your legs and gets your HR up.  I only fell once on the way back down. 

Like I said I’m still trying to figure out the rhythms of my new gig.  We are all in the same boat.  We all get the same 24 hours.  You just have to figure out the rhythm that works to balance everything.  You have to remember that any change like this causes stresses that you may not be aware of.  They can manifest in ways you’re not aware of.  Just got to keep your head right and try to get enough sleep!

I did get a club membership in the building and that should give me more flexibility to work out around the traffic or even just to shower and start exploring Boston with my feet.  I’ve never actually lived in the city and hence really don’t know my way around the city proper much. When I’m not traveling I’ll see if I can’t seize that opportunity to fill in some blanks. 

I’ve missed a few workouts with the travel and the exhaustion but I do what I can.  That’s the secret, do what you can. 

I’ll see you out there.

MarathonBQ – How to Qualify for the Boston Marathon in 14 Weeks -


Direct download: epi4373.mp3
Category:Running -- posted at: 10:35am EDT





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