The 2022 Boston Marathon isn’t Paul Sullivan’s first rodeo. Or second, or third, for that matter. Since 1996, the 55 year-old endurance runner has completed 65 marathons — and is aiming for a 66th finish on April 18, 2022.
But, how he recovers from high-intensity training and race days has dramatically changed since he began all those years ago. Prior to working with TB12, Paul would see up to five specialists — including acupuncturists and personal trainers — to help him recover in peak condition. At a certain point, however, driving from specialist to specialist and appointment to appointment wasn’t going to cut it.
“What I wanted to do was to make sure that I can run not only pain-free, but really [stop] that injury from happening in the first place,” he said. So, he began collaborating with TB12 Body Coaches at the TB12 Performance & Recovery Center in Boston — located right next to the Boston Marathon finish line he wanted to cross without pain.
With the help of his Body Coaches, Paul focused on small adjustments to his existing routine, along with tissue work to preemptively prevent long-term injuries like ones he had had in the past. “If I did have injuries, like I’ve had injuries in the past prior to coming to TB12, I’d be down for three to six weeks,” he said.
According to TB12 Body Coach Jon Kahane. “I think a big part of it, too, is that everything is individualized.” Paul’s Body Coaches worked with him to hone in on what his body needed to perform its best. And Paul, who lives with chronic illness, has found that this approach helped him reach his physical — and mental — goals.
“I have ulcerative colitis, and when I can run a marathon…I’m beating that disease.”
Since joining TB12, Paul has crossed finish lines and shattered PRs across the country. Over the past year, Paul finished a 3:08 in Dallas, 3:20 in Boston, 3:15 in the full New York City Marathon, and a 1:28 in the New York Half Marathon, where he set a new PR by 93 seconds and placed in the top 4% of 22,000 runners. And according to Paul, “I wouldn’t have gotten those results, and achieved those results, without the work that I’m doing here at TB12.”
Paul credits his Body Coaches as part of the tight-knit team that helps him complete each race. “I always say that it takes a village to run a marathon. The TB12 Body Coaches are part of that village.”
So what’s next for Paul and his village after Boston ‘22? Running, running, and more running. At 55 years old, he’s showing no signs of stopping and his times just keep getting better with age. If anything, he’s just getting started.
“Running is like breathing to me,” he said. “Someone will always ask me, ‘How long do you want to run?’ I want to run forever, and I don’t have a number that I’m gonna stop at. Boston will be my 66th marathon. I just want to keep running.”
To see more of Paul’s incredible journey to 66 marathon finishes, watch TB12’s mini-documentary, Running Forever: Beyond 26.2 with Paul Sullivan.