Running Cures More Than Physical Health

It was back in the early ‘80s when Michael Bowen was working all of the overtime possible at the old Fisher-1 plant on South Saginaw St. in Flint.

He noticed a few co-workers jogging every day during breaks and thought they were weird. On his lunch break, he would take a quick motorcycle ride to one of the many local pubs for a pitcher of beer and a greasy burger or coney dog. Between the unhealthy lunch breaks along with a pack-a-day smoking habit and some serious “survivors guilt” from serving in the Army during the Vietnam War, he was “quickly on this way to a heart attack or stroke at an early age.” 

When his plant closed and he had to transfer to a new factory, he took this new challenge as a great time to “clean-up (his) act”. He quit smoking and drinking and starting walking at lunchtime on the track by the new job’s factory. This wasn’t an easy feat — it caused him great pain as he had no idea what he was doing. It was then he bought a book on jogging and some running shoes. He got “hooked” as they call it. 

At first thinking it was a joke, an everyday runner he would see on the track talked him into running the Crim in 1984. “WOW! I did a ten-mile run with a bunch of like-minded people…FUN!”, Mike shared.  He has raced the10-mile for 35 years. “To say that ‘running saved my life’ might be an overstatement, but it surely improved it.” 

Mike went on and perfected the marathon distance and ran a 2:50:39 in 1992 in Boston which is still his marathon PR. At present, he prefers dirt roads or trails and every day runs with a POW/MIA flag ‘in-memory’ of the many brothers he lost in the Vietnam War. Mike learned that, along with physical health, running cures mental health problems, too.