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Dr. Mark

Mark is a Professor of Family Medicine at West Virginia University School of Medicine. As a Lieutenant Colonel in the Air Force Reserves, he is designing programs to reduce running injuries in military personnel. Mark has been a competitive runner for 30 years, completing over 80 marathons and ultras, and continues to compete as a National level Masters runner. His marathon best is 2:24 and has run under 2:40 for a marathon 24 of the last 25 years (no race his medical intern year); 22 of the years under 2:35 and achieving this time in 4 decades. He won the 2011 Air Force Marathon in 2:38 a week shy of his 45 birthday. He attributes much of this longevity to good running form and minimalist principles. He is the race director of Freedom’s Run. The event series in our National Parks fulfills Mark’s vision of integrating natural and community assets to promote health and preserve the land for future generations. He is executive director of the Natural Running Center, an education portal and network of stores designed to teach healthier running and promoting more natural footwear. He hosts educational conferences in collaboration with the Running Clinic Canada and speaks nationally on topics related to running, health, and injury prevention. Mark also owns Two Rivers Treads- A Center for Natural Running and Walking in his hometown of Shepherdstown WV (pop 3000). The citizens of this small community are learning the benefits of good running form, minimal footwear, and being barefoot. If you run any of the roads or trails in this town, it is tough to spot a traditional running shoe. Mark’s innovative work and story has been featured in the New York Times, NPR, Outside Magazine, Running Times, Runners World, Air Force Times, the Washington Post, JAMA, and other medical and media outlets. Why I Run: I run to get outside, relax, and be in peace. It also allows me to eat lots of pizza. Mark Cucuzzella MD – Founder (photo credit Joshua Roberts) Favorite place to run: All the rural roads and trails around Shepherdstown and Harpers Ferry, West Virginia.