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Marathon Challenge

Team NOVA

Steve

Steve DeOssie 43
Sports Commentator

Summer 2006 Profile

Steve was a linebacker for the Dallas Cowboys, the New York Giants (including their 1990 Super Bowl champion team), and the New England Patriots. Steve is divorced, has three grown kids, rides a Harley (on average 20,000 miles per year), and loves a good cigar. He is accustomed to running short distances and then hitting something. The thought of a 6'3" 290-pound former NFL linebacker running a marathon was the most ridiculous thing Steve could think of, so he decided to do it. Find out more about his escapades in Steve's Marathon Diary. (Steve joined Team NOVA in the fall of 2006, after another team member was forced to stop running due to injuries.)

Steve's Race Results & Update

Official Time/Pace
5hrs. 24min./12:22 minutes per mile

Are you still running, four months later?
I am not still running. My Achilles tendonitis is still bothering me somewhat. I did, however, hop on a bicycle to train for and ride in the 192-mile Pan Mass Challenge to raise money for the Jimmy Fund. While I do not anticipate running another marathon, I can foresee making distance running part of my life (just not 26.2 miles!!! ... probably).

What else has stayed with you?
The thing that stayed with me most about the marathon training was the realization that even at 44 years of age some of the traits that I had from being a professional football player were still there. I was an average player at best in the NFL, but through hard work, sheer will, and determination I was able to carve out a career that lasted three times the average. I thought nothing of working four months of the off-season and then grinding out six months of the regular season.

I had no delusions about the marathon but, in retrospect, it was the same traits that allowed me to even undertake such a ridiculous idea. My preconceived notion of the marathon training as boring and tedious was incredibly wrong. I thought nothing else could capture my attention like football, but the marathon training did just that. Apparently the desire to accomplish something that everyone told me was a "pipe dream" (just like I had heard about the NFL) was more than enough incentive.

There is another thought that has stayed with me about the whole experience. I have had the honor to play for some of the legendary coaches in NFL history. Tom Landry, Bill Parcells, and Bill Belichick were great influences on my NFL career. They were able to motivate me and hundreds of other players to do things that were mentally and physically demanding. The stress on the mind and body in the NFL is nightmarish. Don Megerle was just as incredible in our training for the marathon. The coaching job he did with the NOVA team was unbelievable. To take all the various personalities on the team and get the most out of all of us was a monumental task. Don did just that. Without Don I would have struggled much, much more than I did. And it would not have been near as much fun!!

What it all meant
The marathon quest, most importantly, reminded me of some things that I knew for most of my life but had not had to call upon since retiring from football. I remembered that I should never sell myself short. (Yes, I had doubts.) All the great things I have done since retirement have been fun but not terribly challenging. The physical and mental challenge of training for the marathon reminded me that working towards a lofty goal can be as exciting and interesting as the goal itself. The training reminded me that I am, by nature, a grinder. Most of the great or difficult things I have accomplished have gotten done by simply digging in and getting it done. I am not flashy or glamorous in anything I do, but I can do great things through effort and energy. The marathon reminded me of all these things.

I would not say that the marathon training changed my life. I would say that it refocused my life. I thought the joy of mental and physical challenges was behind me. As I enter the second half of my life, the training for the Boston Marathon showed me that all I have to do is find the challenges that are out there. The people were fantastic. The experience was unforgettable.

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