PUMA Employee Todd Falker Celebrates a Remarkable Milestone

May 29, 2024

PUMA Employee Todd Falker Celebrates a Remarkable Milestone

May 29, 2024

Todd Falker, Teamhead PLM Running Footwear at PUMA, shares the story of his 362 kilometer journey across northern Michigan. This was more than just a run, this treck marked Todd’s 100th marathon. Not only did he succeed, he made sure to give back to those in need while doing so.

What made you choose this specific route across northern Michigan for your 100th marathon? 

Todd: Michigan is my home, it’s where I’m from. I’ve always wanted to explore my state a little bit more. When you’re doing 50 miles or even further, you get to see a little bit more and often. Instead of just road routes around cities, they’ll put those trails and ultramarathons in really cool scenic places. For me personally, growing up in Northern Michigan, I knew that there were beautiful trails and so I kind of planned my own adventure to go explore it all.

Can you tell us about setting the fastest known time (FTK)? Did you achieve that? 

Todd: When you do these, these long trails and if you don’t do it as part of a race, but you want to compete, you call it an FTK. I set the record for the fastest known time running across Michigan. I wanted to try to run because I love running. The first thing we did was that my dad printed out and plot plotted out the course. I then hand wrote every single mile mark in and then tried to divide it into 3 or 5 mile segments. One of the funny things is as I was writing the mile markers and I got to about mile 150 and realized I need to take a break. I can’t even number map charts up to 225 without getting tired. Thats when I realized that this is going to be a big adventure.

How were you able to balance preparing for the race and then also keeping up with your day to day responsibilities?

Todd: I did have a coach that helped me with a few key pointers and my PLM team has so many great runners. We bounced a lot of ideas off of each other. Everything that we have in life is stress, and stress is also not a bad thing. Stress is just things that happen to you, right? It can also be a great way to adapt to things as well. I just learned to be really efficient with my time and with my work schedule. There were many days where I ran three times a day. I would run into the office, go for a lunch run with a coworker, and run home at the end of the day.

How did you manage to organize all of your gear, food, etc.?

Todd: I think the shoe count was literally at 14, and the calories were definitely close to 25,000. There’s one previous PUMA employee named Ermanno that had actually done a 200 mile loop before. So I said, “Romano, what advice do you said he do you have?” He said, “Todd, take everything.” So, I got the biggest suitcase I could and the entire suitcase was just shoes. I ordered several hundred dollars of gels and goos and things, and I ended up shipping those just directly to Michigan in order to have everything there when I arrived.

His Favourite Moment

Todd: I was doing 40 minute miles because a tornado had just completely flattened an entire section on day four. I don’t want to say I was tired because you don’t let yourself get tired, but I was tired. I was actually going along a river at that point. If I were someone that would get worried, I would have been worried in this moment, right? It was so hot. Anybody can go run 10 or 20 miles without a lot of food or drinks. When you’re doing something this long, every mile or every two miles, you have to eat or drink. You have to stay on top of that or you’ll fall over, as I call it. I got one hour in at my pace, and realized I had another three hours to go, essentially with no food, no water and in the hottest part of the day. My favorite moment was when I looked around and I thought to myself, “man, why are all these trees down?”

I looked over and there was a there was a river, but there was a really, really steep bank. The first thing I thought to myself was, “I don’t want to go up and down this hill.” That is when I realized that this is my adventure. I went down the hill and I ended up just laying in the stream to get my core temperature down so that I didn’t need to drink as much. That actually worked really well. I got my core temperature cooled. I had some fun bathing for a little bit. When I got up I actually felt really cool. I felt great and just kind of went into my, what some people would call pain cave. When I was about halfway of the seven miles, Christina, my girlfriend randomly came out of the woods and all I could say was, “what are you doing here?” She told me that she had going over trees for two hours in this woods to come back and find me. She just handed me bottle after bottle and that whole experience just reiterated for me that you can’t do this alone.

Looking back at your 100 marathons, what have you learned about yourself during this time?

Todd:  The event that I did for my 100th was everything I wanted it to be. I’ve learned so much self control which is different than self discipline, but really self control of averaging out emotions. And what I meant by that is not letting things frustrate you. I’m not going to get frustrated because it’s not going to be productive. Outside factors sometimes steered me away from the goals I set, but I tried to not let that get to me.

If you challenge yourself and just keep going for it a little bit more, you'll surprise yourself. Whatever inspires you, if you want to do it, just go for it.

Todd Falker, Teamhead PLM Running Footwear


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