Why I Run: Londagins Run for the Long Haul

Life goals keep Londagins running throughout life’s seasons

By Sarah Gooding, photos by Savanah Mandeville




Mark and Julie Londagin have each been running since the 1980s, and together have run throughout their marriage, parenting and on into their empty-nesting years, with a goal of remaining healthy and active well into their senior years.


“I started running in 1983,” Julie said. “I was a sophomore in college at the University of Arkansas and had gained the freshman 25. Some girlfriends and I started running, and I’ve kept it up ever since.”


Mark said weight maintenance also prompted him to start running.


“I was getting overweight in 1988,” he said. “I was about 28 years old and I thought, ‘Man, I’ve got to do something.’ I got up early in the morning before work and started running half a mile. I did that for a week and upped it to a mile, and ended up losing about 25 pounds.”


Each pursued running with dedication, and while both ran the nine-mile Tulsa Run with some regularity, they didn’t know each other until several years later.


“Julie and I got married in 1992, and we just kept running,” Mark said.


This took a lot of dedication.


“We’ve always made exercising a priority,” Mark said. “I’ve always been an early, early bird. When I come home I want to pay attention to my wife and be with my kid, so that’s why I got up early to get the exercise in.”


Mark said he generally gets up at 4 am to train in the morning, and will log four to eight miles by flashlight, listening to the audio version of the Bible or inspirational podcasts.


“It’s time I get to spend with my creator and Lord of a morning,” he said. “It is so nice in the morning when it’s quiet and no one’s out.”


Julie relied on jogging strollers to keep her active through her son’s early years and had a few years where life got busy and she didn’t run. But she said it left her not feeling well, so she resumed the training that remains part of her daily routine.


Both Mark and Julie said at this point health is a significant driver that keeps them running.


“I’m a big sports fan, and I look at my life as playing in a ball game in quarters,” Mark said. “You go through the first quarter up to 30 years old. The second quarter is through 45, and then the third quarter. In the fourth quarter, that’s the quarter people are most interested in, especially if the game is close. My goal for the fourth quarter is to be able to continue to put out 110 percent effort in life. I want to be able to move and have fun in that fourth quarter.”


Additionally, running allows them to enjoy socializing with people of all ages.


“I like the social aspect of it and going to all the runs,” Julie said. “I like going to dinner before and everyone talking about running, even though we all run in a different corral or at a different pace.”


Running now provides vacation-style getaways and unique ways to experience towns such as Las Vegas, San Antonio, Nashville and Oklahoma City, and at this point, they look to long-term runners as role models.


“The 70- and 80-year-old runners are some of the best runners,” Julie said “I always try to find one of those people to run beside.”