By Laura McAlister
When Dr. Scott Weisberg turned 36, he decided to take up running with the goal of one day being in the New York City Marathon.
Two years later, he checked that one off his list. Now, the 26-mile jaunt through the Big Apple seems like a walk in the park compared to some of his more recent runs.
The 42-year-old Mountain Brook resident participates in ultra marathons – those longer than the traditional 26 miles – and his running time and his health have never been better. For him, running is therapeutic, and it also helps get his patients motivated.
Scott is a family physician at Homewood Family Medicine. He’s always promoted healthy living and exercise to his patients, and he likes to set a good example.
“I have to practice what I preach,” he said. “It doesn’t really motivate you to get in shape or lose weight if your doctor is 400 pounds. I try to help them by telling my story.”
While working out and staying fit and healthy has always been part of Scott’s lifestyle, he said running was something he took up five years ago.
He was hoping to run in the New York marathon the same year he started but didn’t make the cut. A year later, after rigorous training and running six days a week, he made the race and finished in less than five hours. His time was 4:57, good enough to get his name printed in the New York Times.
Though he had completed his goal, he was far from finished with running. He also found he had a lot to learn about training.
“The key is not to do the extreme,” he said. “Now I cross train. I run three days a week, and I do spinning and some weights.
“I’ve found over the years that that’s what has really kept me healthy and injury free. I was running six days a week, and I was getting hurt.”
Scott exercises seven days a week, and he’s still running marathons. So far he’s completed seven full ones, and he’s also completed a couple of ultra marathons.
The first one he completed was just after he turned 40. It was the Northface Endurance Challenge in Atlanta, which started in the woods at 5 p.m. The only light was from candles and his headlamp. It was a 32-miler, which Scott completed in seven hours and 25 minutes.
He also finished the Goofy Run in Disney World. The two-day run starts with a half marathon on the first day. Runners return the next day for a full marathon.
His most recent ultra marathon was in Nashville. There, he ran 50 miles in about 11 hours.
Now, he’s got his eye on a 100K, about 62 miles, in Palm Beach, Fla. — that is, as long has his wife and three children agree to the destination for a spring break trip, he said.
“That’s another good thing about this is that my kids know I’m doing this, and I’m active,” he said. “They are all athletes and participate in sports. My oldest ran in the Mercedes Marathon, and my middle plans to this year. My daughter does a kids’ marathon each year.”
Although Scott doesn’t have another marathon planned until the spring, he said he’s got plenty of running to do close to home. One of the best parts about running is that all you need are shoes, he said.
“You’ve got those, and you’re set, no other equipment needed,” he said. “There are so many great trails to run around here, too. We’ve got Oak Mountain and Ruffner Mountain. There’s Lakeshore.
“With the weather here, you can also pretty much run year round.”