Tulsan Finishes Top Third In Austin Marathon While Carrying 2 Car Tires

Sunday, February 17th 2013, 7:12 pm
By: News On 6

Nearly three dozen Oklahomans hit the pavement in Sunday's Livestrong Austin Marathon -- including ten Tulsans.

For Mikeal Ball, it was more than just a race. The 23-year-old ran for the chance at a world record.

Ball crossed the finish line in 4:24:13, carrying two tires on his shoulders the whole way. That's an extra 40 pounds -- a quarter of his entire body weight.

According to the Austin American-Statesman, he is thought to be the first runner in history to complete a marathon with two tires slung over his shoulders.

Representatives from the Guinness World Records will visit with race officials and review footage of the race before deciding whether Ball takes the official top spot.

"I knew I would finish; it was just a matter of when," Ball said.

This was the third marathon for Ball. But as an athlete who also competes on elite obstacle courses, just running 26.2 miles wasn't enough.

Six weeks ago, after a 10-mile training run with tires in tow, he decided on a whim to run a complete marathon with them strapped to his back.

"I had to do something that would make it more challenging for me," he said. "I just want to push my body and my mind to the limits and see what I can do."

Over the years, law enforcement and military folks have run with full ruck sacks and safety gear. And, according to the American-Statesman, someone even took five days to walk the London Marathon in a 120-pound diving suit.

"Carrying two tires while running a marathon is a new one," Austin Marathon Race Director Jim Conley told the newspaper. "I've never seen such a thing and while I wouldn't recommend it, it does add to the color and fun of the event. We all run for a reason. Some of those reasons are crazier than others, and many would have to admit that the mere act of attempting 26.2 miles at all is in itself, wacky."

Ball finished the Austin race 1,715 out of 5,000 runners -– which is in the top third -– all while toting along old tires off his Chevrolet Cobalt. He was 99th in his age division of males 20-24 years old.

"It was harder than the other marathons, because I was carrying more weight than I'm normally used to carrying, but the tires rub your shoulders raw," he said. "Not only are you dealing with your legs being shot like in any long-distance race, you're dealing with all these other things that make it pretty tough."

Ball said he had foam protectors on his shoulders and hips, but he lost both of them along the course.

"A foam padding on my hips fell off at mile 10, so the tires rubbed the skin off hips and they're pretty sore," Ball said. "My shoulders are really red, but the skin isn't taken off because I luckily had towels stuffed in the tires to use as a backup."

Afterward, he grabbed his favorite post-race meal – pizza. But for a guy who eats between 5,000 to 8,000 calories in the midst of training, it wasn't just any old pizza pie.

"I got the family Dinner Box at Pizza Hut," he said. "Two medium pizzas, eight chicken wings, five breadsticks."

Cameras from CBS-affiliate KEYE in Austin captured the look on Ball's face as he crossed the finish line.

"I just had tremendous sense of accomplishment. It was like sheer triumph," Ball said. "It was exhausting, but it's all worth it. Totally loved every second of it."

But he's also quick to say he's not the hero.

"There was a guy who was running with one leg. There's your real story right there. That's just inspiring to me," Ball said. "This is nothing compared to what he did."

Ball, a Cleveland, Okla., native who is the Assistant Director of Admissions of Brown Mackie College in Tulsa, has 10 more races scheduled in 2013. Races will take him all over, including Colorado, Kentucky, the Route 66 Marathon in Tulsa and his second attempt to be crowned the "World's Toughest Mudder," a military-style obstacle course race which is held on the East Coast. WTM is an invite-only race for elite athletes across the country. The Ironman Triathlon is considered by many to be the only event more difficult.