International 100+ UltraRunning Foundation

Connecting Ultrarunners Across The Globe

Surviving vs. Living Life - Interview with Tim O'Malie

By Claire Nana

September 2014


To Tim O’Malie, life is “to be lived and not just survived.” And according to this former powerlifter, adversity -- in whatever form it takes -- is just another thing to overcome.


O’Malie should know. This ultrarunner and finisher of the Palm 100, Keys 100, and Kingston 48Hrs runs with asthma and is epileptic, and hadn’t run for 26 years before taking up running. But these things propel him on, and this is much of the reason that shorter distances have never appealed to O’Malie.


O’Malie started running later in life as a challenge when discussing with several personal trainers at a gym the "fast twitch vs. slow twitch" aptitudes in sport. He was a powerlifter and according to the “common wisdom” that shouldn't translates into successful running capabilities.


O’Malie’s determination to live his life, instead of just surviving it, comes from daily observation of others. “I look around and see so many people my age with no joy in life, taking so many medications” and O’Malie should know about that having to manage his Epilepsy on a daily basis; - he continues “they are surviving [life] but not really living it.”


“To me, ultrarunning is a means of showing that no matter what adversity, it can be overcome if you want it,” shares O’Malie. What O’Malie wants at the Icarus Florida UltraFest is to test himself -- yet again -- to find out how far he can push the envelope, and hopes realistically for a top goal of at least 300 miles in the 6 Day race. Furthermore, he hopes to inspire others to live their lives and push their own limits instead of just surviving from one day to the other.


And pushing oneself, testing the limits, and even abandoning them is just what Icarus Florida UltraFest is all about.