Ouweleen loves camaraderie in the world of running


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John Ouweleen is a top masters runner in the area.You could say that John Ouweleen hit his stride with running later in life than most. He took an interest in running at the age of 66 after the loss of his wife, to cope and get in better shape. 

That journey started with a visit to local fitness retailer Running Zone, where Ouweleen signed up for a training program to prepare for the upcoming Space Coast Marathon. He won the race for his age group just 15 weeks later.  

Since that first taste of victory, the Sebastian resident has completed 30 full marathons and 10 half-marathons. 

The retired New Jersey State Police Officer turns 77 this month and he’s showing no signs of slowing down. By the end of 2017, he’ll finish two more marathons.

When Ouweleen is not training for a race, he runs around 50 miles per week. As he prepares for races, he bumps up that mileage to 65 or more miles each week. He’s a member of several local running groups, including Space Coast Runners, Treasure Coast Runners, Sunrunners of Vero Beach and Sebastian Running Club. 

 “I have completed all six World Majors marathons, but the Boston Marathon has got to be my overall favorite. I have completed Boston 10 times and it is my favorite because it brings out the best in the world,” Ouweleen said. 

Saying that he has simply “run” the six world major marathons is a bit of an understatement. Ouweleen has placed first in his age group in Boston and Chicago, and third in his age group in New York City. He’s crossed the finish line in Berlin, London and Tokyo, too. He’ll return to Berlin in September to run the marathon and has hopes for a first-place finish. 

“I enjoy running first and foremost because of the competitive spirit the sport embraces. That, supported by my personal desire to excel, makes it totally amazing,” he said. “The camaraderie of my peers is another reason. Runners are a super class of their own.”

Ouweleen is doing his part to keep that super class reputation at its peak – and he’ll continue to do so for as far as his feet will take him.