Collage Mike

Meet another member of the American Heart Association’s Minnesota Run with Heart team: Mike Thorson!



Hometown/Current City

Fergus Falls, Minnesota

Number of Marathons

Three — Twin Cities Marathon (2), Fargo Marathon

Favorite Race Completed

Running Wild Trail Run

Favorite Location To Train

Anywhere new.

Favorite Running Pump-Up Song

“Nice Guys Finish Last” – Green Day

My Running Secret

Put on shoes, step out on porch.

Biggest Motivation for Long Runs

Reminding myself that no matter how hard it is, nothing compares to what I will go through if I don’t keep running.

How has heart disease touched you?

Heart disease has been a part of my family for generations and will likely continue to affect my kids and grandkids and on and on. I had my first heart attack just over a year ago. I say my “first” because it will very likely happen again in my life.

It is a disease that has put limitations on what I can and cannot do. But also has helped put things into focus in many areas of my life. Someday heart disease will kill me, but not today. Not yet. The disease itself strangely has helped me to resolve to focus and what you can do and the rest is up to God.

Why is running important to you?

Running saved my life. Running will continue to save my life.

I became a runner five years before my first heart attack, at which point I could not have jogged a mile if I was being chased by a bear. But I started anyway because I was out of shape and overweight and had recently started a family. I knew I wanted to be around for my kids so I started to run regularly and eat better to stay alive longer. I could never had imagined that what I was really doing was training for my first heart attack. Because of all my running and training for races, including marathons, when I did have my heart attack I was 35 pounds lighter with a souped-up cardiovascular system that helped keep me alive and recover in a way that would not have been possible otherwise.

That is why running is important to me. It’s one of the few things I actually CAN do to better the odds against me on probably the single most effective thing I can do to ensure I am around for my family for as long as possible.

Motivated? Inspired? Please support Mike’s goal with a donation to the AHA!

P.S. from Jen

Yes, Mike is my brother – the same Mike of Not Today and Just Like Me. Read those posts if you want to know more about Mike’s story.