Featured Athlete for June 2017: Jonathan Spowart

Jonathan Spowart hasn't always been a road runner, but if you look at his success, you might think he has run his whole life.

While growing up in the Midlands of England, Jonathan was very active. His hometown of Malvern, sits on a flat plain, but is known for the remarkable hills that seem to rise out of nowhere. Jonathan spent his time riding his bike and running all over the hills. From 1989 to 1992, Jonathan worked on his undergraduate degree at Downing College, Cambridge University and spent his precious free time with his barbershop group, touring the world. There was little time for sport-his time was spent studying and singing.

After choosing to come to the US in 1992 to earn a second Master's Degree, Jonathan, in 1994, decided to train for his first ever race-the Pittsburgh Marathon. Driven to succeed (because someone told him he couldn't do it), Jonathan ran around city blocks for miles and miles. On May 2, 1994, Jonathan ran his first ever road race and completed the Pittsburgh Marathon on 3:44. In late 1994, Jonathan returned to the UK, newly married, to obtain his Ph.D. at Cambridge. While working on his studies and adjusting to married life, Jonathan trained and completed his second marathon 20 minutes faster than his first. It was clear, he was hooked.

In 2008, Jonathan, who lives with his family in Oakwood, started running with the Oakwood running group. The group of about 30 local runners is competitive and successful, often seeing more than 10 of its members each year train, travel and race Boston each spring. Jonathan began to thrive and see his pace drop with the group. Today, Jonathan has a reputation in the group as a 'courtesy runner.' He is supportive of the entire group and will run whatever pace is necessary to hold a good conversation during a training run, or, more often, 'rabbit' or 'pace' anyone who asked.

Jonathan has completed nearly 20 marathons, including 4 Boston Marathons, and numerous half-marathons and shorter races. His long term goal was to break the 3 hour marathon mark and he came heartbreakingly close several times, including the 2012 Columbus Marathon where he missed his goal by 25 seconds. Finally, with support from a conversation with Meb and other professionals, like Darris Blackford, Jonathan achieved his goal in 2014 when, at the age of 43, Jonathan ran his fastest marathon 2:59:26.

Jonathan continues to aspire to new running goals. Having reached his marathon goal, he has turned his sights to breaking pace records in shorter distances. Jonathan is driven and successful in all areas of his life-as a Christian, husband, father, scientist and an athlete. Great job, Jonathan!

Below is a picture of Jonathan with his two girls on Halloween. Being the scientist engineer, he's obviously the robot!