On the morning of Oct. 17, Mark Stockamp will be out on a grass field doing strides, lunges and maybe doing some carioca drills to stay warm. He may be feeling some nerves and he’ll have just eaten a bagel and banana. It will be right around 7 a.m. in Chicago, and a proper warm up will be important for him and the other competitors around him.
Mark won’t toe a race start line, though. He’ll instead tee-off in the 2016 Speedgolf World Championships, an event that combines a traditional 18 holes of golf with running, requiring participants to combine their golf score with their overall finish time to place among their competitors. And Mark, a sales associate at the Brooks Trailhead store, is determined to nab a top-10 finish after encouraging results in the recent past.
Last year, Mark placed 12th in the professional division, just two spots behind New Zealand Olympian Nick Willis and only 28 points outside of the win. Before that in 2014, he placed 5th in the amateur division and he won that same division as a senior in high school two years before that.
Nick Willis isn’t Mark’s only high profile competition though. In 2013, Olympian Bernard Lagat competed at the Speedgolf World Championships. Mark was there, and now teases playfully, “[Lagat’s] golf game was atrocious, but watching him run around was awesome. He looked like a gazelle.” This year, Willis is expected to return along with other Speedgolf names that Mark is eager to take on in the professional division.
Training has gone well this year for Mark. He rediscovered his love of golf over the summer has been honing his golf game in the past few months. As a University of Washington student, Mark will often run ¾ of a mile from his house to the school driving range with his clubs to practice running with the added weight and also hitting balls accurately when his heart is pounding, something he says is difficult to simulate. While at the range, he’ll also set up his ball, take a few steps back and then practice running up to the ball and hitting it; it’s a type of swing that’s also difficult to simulate.
While he’s been sharpening his golf skills, Mark says his running has taken care of itself. In addition to working at the Trailhead and being a UW student, Mark is also a runner for the Seattle dog-running company Jogs for Dogs. Naturally, his training partners are the dogs he runs: Sam, Shawn, Ben Ben, Lola and Marley.
“Marley and Shawn are my speed workout partners; they make sure I run fast. Ben Ben is my long run guy, just slow and long,” Mark says. “They’re my training partners. I can’t remember the last time I’ve run solo. It’s typically with a dog, a leash and poop bags.”
He even has their names embroidered on his special Speedgolf bag which is a lightweight alternative to a traditional golf bag and that holds the five clubs he’ll run with. For the rest of his gear, he’ll rock a polo and khaki shorts along with the PureFlow 5’s, which he likes because of their light weight and minimalist style.
Next week, Mark will run close to 5 miles with his clubs across thegolf course of Chicago’s Glen Club. Although he’ll compete alone (Speedgolf is more or less an individual sport), there’s the chance he’ll catch up to the speedgolfer in front of him, in which case they’ll need to stop and wait until he passes. Mark’s just hoping he’s not the one getting passed in Chicago.
How Mark does is yet to be determined, but one thing is for sure, he says. He’ll eat a ton Chicago deep dish pizza after he competes. We think that’s the perfect way to celebrate a Run Happy game of Speedgolf. Help us wish him luck!