Mississippi State’s football coach made a major personal statement Monday, completing the premier marathon of the running world. If that weren’t impressive enough, it was Mullen’s first-ever try running a real race, much less a marathon. Wait, more; his first time to even attempt going the regulation 26.2 miles, as his training peaked at just over 20 miles.
Four hours, 28 minutes, and 35 seconds after officially starting, the 43-year-old coach (his birthday is April 27th) crossed the line. Smiling, as proven by photographs.
Speaking by phone with Media Relations director Bill Martin, Mullen said “It was an absolute dream come true to not only run the Boston Marathon but to finish it. The entire experience was better than I ever imagined. When you are running, the support of the fans along the race and the camaraderie of your fellow runners pushes you to keep going and finish. It’s a scene I will never forget.”
Mullen only got serious about distance running in summer 2015, when representatives of Mississippi State apparel-and-equipment provider adidas said the football coach could receive a waiver for the Boston Marathon. This was no small matter as Boston is on every real distance runner’s career checklist.
And speaking of ‘no small’ there were over 30,000 entries for the 2016 race.
Just participating in this historic event was special for the New Hampshire native who spent a good portion of his youth in nearby Manchester where his mother still resides. There was larger reason. Mullen used this opportunity to promote the Mullen 36 Foundation. The Foundation contributes to 36 charities, coinciding with Mullen's own varsity number from back in the days when running was for conditioning.
Mullen’s well-publicized preparations for the Marathon helped raise a reported $40,000-plus for the Foundation.
“I want to thank everyone who came out to the race and thank those who supported the Mullen 36 Family Foundation during this unbelievable journey,” Mullen said in the provided statement. “My hope is that this inspires the dreams of others and that we continue to help the young people in our state of Mississippi.”
Now that he’s fulfilled a personal goal, it’s back to off-season Bulldog business. Mullen will participate in five of the ten Road Dawg Tour events this spring, starting Thursday.