Mike McCormick never set out to run 30 Boston Marathon races, but he found the annual Patriots Day race helped get him through New England's winters.
The 53-year-old running coach plans to run his 30th Boston Marathon Monday. The Newburyport High track assistant has qualified for the Boston race every year since 1982. The only year he missed the Boston Marathon was 1990, when he was living in England. Even when McCormick was abroad, he ran the London Marathon in place of the Boston race.
"This kind of happened by accident," McCormick said of the 30 Boston races. "I kept coming back. I never had a goal of keeping the streak going. I've enjoyed the whole experience."
McCormick has spread his love for running in the Newburyport area, not only as a Newburyport High coach, but also a Winner's Circle Running Club coach and the director of the Hershey National Youth Track and Field Series.
Two of McCormick's daughters, Megan and Hannah, ran under him at Newburyport High. The Newburyport coach often trains with fellow Newburyport residents Joe Gurczak and Dave Carroll.
McCormick participated in the Winner's Circle's eight-week marathon training program this winter. On the weekends, members from the club ran together, increasing their mileage for their long run of the week. They started at 10 miles and finished at 22 miles three weeks ago.
"Running the marathon every year has been a good thing for getting through the winter," McCormick said. "I train all winter, and the race falls at the right time for that. It forces you to get out and train."
The Winner's Circle Running Club will rent a bus to transport McCormick and 30 to 40 other runners to the starting line in Hopkinton Monday. They also have a celebration party at a Boston hotel Monday evening.
McCormick, who finished in 3:27 last year, must navigate the 26.2-mile course faster than 3:30 to qualify for next year's race. With 80-degree temperatures in the forecast, McCormick is considering scaling back his goal of 3:20. McCormick's fastest race came when he was in his late 20s, when he finished in 2:46.
"I'd be very happy with 3:20," McCormick said. "The challenge of qualifying every year makes it different than other races. The rest of the year, people are oblivious to running. You could be the fastest 5K or 10K runner in the area, and people wouldn't know that. They know Boston."