New Generation of Modzelewski Brothers carry on their athletic family’s name.
Phoenix resident, Scott Modzelewski, and his brother Michael recently (Oct. 14th) placed high in “The Angeles Crest 100 Mile Endurance Run” across the San Gabriel Mountains of Southern California.
The 100 mile foot race started in Wrightwood and finished at the entrance to The Rose Bowl in Pasadena – a familiar football arena to the runner’s father, Ed “Big Mo” Modzelewski and his brother Dick “Little Mo” Modzelewski. Both were All-Americans at Maryland, and Ed played fullback for the Cleveland Browns from 1952 – 59. Dick’s NFL career spanned 14 years. He was a defensive tackle with the New York Giants and finished his career with the Browns. Dick is now the defensive line coach with the Detroit Lions. Ed is now retired in Sedona, Arizona.
Scott and Michael, the runners Modzelewski, completed the 100 mile race in 23 hours and 47 minutes, running continuously — climbing 19,000 feet and descending 24,000 feet over the mountainous course. Ed and other members of the Modzelewski clan from Arizona participated as support crew, giving Scott and Michael replenishment and encouragement at checkpoints along the trail. In the darkest hours of the race, Scott and Michael’s flashlights quit – nearly paralyzing the runners on mountain ridges – where one false step would send them plummeting into space … To make-up for lost time, the Modzelewski brothers, after running 93 miles, had to “sprint” the final 7 miles to finish under 24 hours — earning the silver belt buckle, the most coveted award in ultra-running.
After observing Scott and Michael cross the finish-line together at the Rose Bowl – 17th out of 160 starters — and the first brothers to ever finish the race together, Ed Modzelewski said: “Seeing such super-human effort from my two sons was one of the proudest days of my life!”
Scott ran the Leadville 100 Mile Endurance Run earlier this year, placing 33rd our of 275 runners. The run is held in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains, never going below 9,200 feet in elevation and climbing to 12,600 feet. Scott, 27, is a successful model and actor, represented by the Robert Black Agency in Phoenix. He also works as a Massage Therapist at the Arizona Back Pain Relief Clinic. His ultra-running is sponsored by the back clinic and Playwright’s Workshop Theatre, where he studies acting.
Michael, 36, is a San Francisco based writer who is now penning a story about the dramatic race, entitled “The 100 Mile Touchdown” for Sports Illustrated.
“…… I came away from the run convinced that dormant within us are immeasurable powers that we block with disbelieving minds. As the psychologist, William James, wrote, “We lead lives inferior to ourselves.” We settle for less when we should always be striving for more.
When I told people I was entered in a 100-mile run, their reaction was, “You gotta be crazy!” followed by disclaimers of, “I couldn’t even run around the block or up the stairs if I had to.” Then, when they saw from my training that I was serious about “going the distance,” they asked, “Why?”
There have always been a few people out on the cutting edge, testing the limits. The old explorers mapped and measured the earth, and now the new-age explorers – mountain climbers, ultra-runners, triathletes – chart the “unknown territory” that lies within. They are discovering that when the human body, mind, and spirit unite in harmony, there are no limits.
I’m now training for this year’s Western States. In the morning, while lacing up my running shoes, I look up at a card pinned on my wall, printed with the words of Anais Nin:
“We’ve been to the moon, but we have so much farther to go within ourselves.” I try to expand myself, explore that distance every day.” — Michael Modzelewski