I'm a Runner: Paul Sparks

The Boardwalk Empire actor, 41, on respect, a rocky road and running with Minnie Mouse.





When I run, people say, ‘You’re that guy on Boardwalk Empire who killed his wife.’ I say, ‘No, no, I’m Mickey Doyle, the guy they threw off the balcony.’ They’re like, ‘Oh.’

Back in 1999, I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. When I exercise, I can inject less insulin. I don’t like gyms, so that’s why I started running.

Two years ago, in a midlife crisis sort of way, I told my wife [actress Annie Parisse], ‘I’m going to run a marathon.’

By mile 16 of the New York City Marathon last year, I hadn’t eaten much. At mile 19, I was like, ‘Am I still running?’ I was a shell. I ran 3:52:46.

During that race, I ran near Minnie Mouse. For an hour and a half people yelled, ‘Way to go, Minnie Mouse!’ I thought, ‘I’m going to go crazy.’

This year, I’ll do the Honey Stinger stuff. I guess they’re gels. Rubbery, gelatinous stuff you suck out.

I am not generally superstitious, but I will try anything. Maybe it’s because I have this really weird haircut, but I always wear a hat. I feel strange running without a hat – I have these two hats that have just been completely tortured.

Once, while running, I kicked a rock, shattered a toe and fell on my face. A homeless guy asked, ‘Are you OK?’ If you’re lucky, you get injured at the beginning or end of a run. This was in the middle.

Steve Buscemi [Nucky Thompson on Boardwalk Empire] keeps hinting he’s interested in running a marathon. I think I can trick him into actually doing it.

I'm running New York again this year for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. They aren’t just saying, ‘We are here for a cure.’ Everybody wants a cure. They focus on living with it.

There’s this inherent respect among marathoners. I will do anything to get respect – I don’t get a lot of it in my life.

I don’t know how people run and push buggies. I’m afraid I would kill my two-year-old son. How do they do it?

A guy once told me to ‘run happy.’ Worrying takes energy, and endurance training is all about energy.

Previous article
I'm a Runner: Charlie Bewley
Next article
Interview: Blind Faith

 
TwitterStumbleUponFacebookDiggRedditGoogle


Discuss this article

We'd love you to add a comment! Please login or take half a minute to register as a free member

Smart Coach
Free, fully-personalized training plans, designed to suit your racing goals and your lifestyle.