• Photo for Real Athlete: Marathoner Danny Kurak
    Photo Credit: Nicolas Smith

Real Athlete: Marathoner Danny Kurak

By RealJock Staff

Ask a lot of marathoners how their run went, and they’ll launch into lengthy descriptions of the pain in their knees at mile 22, their stomach problems at mile 24, and the difficulty of getting through the final 0.2 miles of the 26.2-mile race. Not marathoner Danny Kurak, or "Mr. Smiles" as RealJock dubbed him. This guy just projects good energy. The 31-year-old New York City resident is about to start a full-time MBA program in the fall, so he’s enjoying his last few weeks off before he’s buried in spreadsheets. We spoke with Kurak on Sunday after he woke up from the previous night’s festivities.

How did your race go? How did you do?
It was fantastic. I did about a 3:28 and change. I didn’t look at the official statistics, but it was about that. It was probably a minute over my New York marathon time.

What did you think of the marathon course yesterday?
Normally when you go to a marathon it’s great to get a different perspective of the city. So when they changed the course [to a four-time loop repeat] I was a little bit disappointed. But it ended up being quite nice, because you got to see all of the runners eight times throughout the race. I got to know everyone along the route; had it been just one long course you would have run the whole thing by yourself. So it was a beautiful run, and I was just very impressed. Running along [Lake Michigan] was just gorgeous.

Some people were worried there wouldn’t be enough water stops. Did they have enough stops for you?
They did. I carried some water with me with me. That’s in large part why they rerouted it, so you passed the same water sports over and over again.

How long have you been doing marathons now?
About five years. I’ve done four marathons in that time.

Yes. I’ve been having a great time. I only got here on Friday, and I was in bed by nine o’clock, so I guess I kind of got to the party late. I kind of just came, checked in, ran my marathon, and then went out to the party that night after a little nap.

Do you train alone or with a running team in New York?
I train alone sometimes, but I try to train with the Frontrunners in New York when I can. I usually run with them on Wednesdays once a week.

Tell us a little bit about how you prep for the marathon?
Basically, I just run all the time and get all of my long runs in, and learn how to eat and run. My longest training run this time was 19 miles; I did it about three weeks ago.

What did you eat in the few days leading up to the event?
Lots of pasta.

No booze? We spoke with one marathoner who went out drinking the night before.
[Laughs]. I refrained from going out drinking the night before the race. But I did have one club soda at Side Tracks [a popular local Chicago bar in Boys Town].

Did you have to wait hours to get into Side Tracks like we did?
No, actually, I didn’t have to wait long at all. I was there pretty early in the evening. I was home and in bed by about nine o’clock.

Think you’ll hit the next Games?
Yes, definitely. I’ve had a great time; I’m hooked.