Date of Birth: 6/16/1986
Lives: Langhorne, PA
Short Distance (1-6 miles)
OCR Team Affiliation: iCoreFitness
Mike St. George was born in Brooklyn and raised in New Jersey. As a young kid he was under sized and often counted out in terms of athletic performance. He grew up playing a variety of sports but focused mainly on soccer. His speed on the field caught the attention of many coaches. It wasn’t until he tried out for the 8th grade track team that he realized his true running ability. Previously in community track events he struggled, but with guidance from his father, a little training allowed him to become a top miler in his district, running a 5:20 consistently. Mike’s father being an exercise physiologist and fitness enthusiast back in the day, helped to motivate him to continue to train. Eventually he caught the attention of the high school track coach. This began his high school running career.
Mike is convinced he gets his running genetics from his mother’s father, which he never met because he passed away from a heart disease when his mother was 18. For the early 1900’s, Mikes grandfather was an excellent cross-country runner, bringing back many medals and wins. Genetics is definitely a strong part of an athlete and the combination of Mike’s father and grandfather seems to have contributed to his lean build and running ability. In high school, Mike managed to place varsity his freshman year in cross-country. He did the same during Winter track and Spring track with times in the 5k from low 17 minutes on technical terrain to mid to low 16 minutes on flat terrain. He was a 4:40 miler as a freshman and a 4:30 miler the rest of his career. He also extended into the 800 meter and was on the 4x800 team running a 2:01 as his best. He hated the 2-mile and only ran it because his coach made him do it sometimes, managing to complete a best of a 10:09 with fair effort. Mike was on pace for potential scholarship opportunities to college during his senior year. He was drawing much attention at state sectional and invitational races in NJ. The local newspapers were writing about him weekly.
The transformation from a scrawny peanut to high school track star walking the halls with a highly decorated varsity jacket seemed to have happened quickly. Managing to maintain bigger biceps than most of his distance runner competitors, its only ironic he gravitates towards Hunter McIntyre as an OCR athlete liking. Despite the amount of success in high school, Mike has always stayed humble and firmly believes in being even keel. Arrogance has never been one of his traits, regardless of his joking personality.
The fun ride came to a crashing halt one night after a cross-country practice in the Fall of 2003. He came home feeling sick with signs and symptoms of a horrible autoimmune disease. After an ER visit and specialist visits, the diagnosis was set and medicinal management was the course of action. This kept things in remission all throughout college and the occasional flare-ups were treated with steroids, which responded well. The decision to give up on a running career and totally pursue academics was made easier on Mike’s part considering the circumstances at the time. Being sick took a huge toll on his senior year performance. Losing the opportunity for scholarships, Mike solely focused his college career on his studies, pursuing a Doctorate in Physical Therapy.
Everything was good throughout college, allowing for a great experience but 6 months after graduation, things took a horrible turn for the worse. The medicine wasn’t working anymore, other treatments were failing and the only response was high, eventually lethal doses of steroids. Multiple hospitalizations, thousands of dollars in medical bills and tons of emotional and physical turmoil later, corrective surgery was the only option.
At this time, Mike had been working for about 3 years as a full time physical therapist, managing the best he could. He was trying to find something competitive to become involved in with the hopes of being healthy one day. When OCR and Spartan Race first started to erupt and become popular, Mike was spending most of his time lying in hospital beds. He still managed to maintain interest in the sport and finally after successful surgery, 2014 was the first healthy year of a normal lifestyle. The rehabilitation process to finally achieve feeling “alive” again was long and hard fought. It wasn’t until in the Fall of 2014, that he ran his first Spartan Race. In 2015 there was a relapse requiring surgery again and then another mild one, fortunately not requiring surgery in 2016.
Currently, Mike is doing very well. Racing more in 2016 exposed him to the race scene and allowed him to obtain experience in the growing sport. 2017-2018 time frames were a transition period towards becoming the strongest, fastest and happiest Mike has ever been. 2018 was not a heavy race year though, but a very successful one. His schedule was limited due to getting married in August to his beautiful, supportive and energetic wife Oriana and then going to Greece for his honeymoon. 2018 so far has showed him what can be possible with proper training and focus. The training at his OCR gym, iCorefitness combined with YancyCamp, has allowed him to reach personal goals he never thought possible.
Mike is a firm believer of enjoying each day for what it is. Don’t rush the time, as life will pass you by. He also believes that when you’re given a second chance at life, you have a different outlook on everyday things. Mike enjoys training hard and engaging in fun challenges with his team at iCorefitness. He also enjoys joking around, acting ridiculous sometimes and having fun. His actions have molded him into a role model not only for his team mates but also his friends and patients. Mike enjoys making people smile because it is a feeling that people never forget. Mike also knows that there is a lot of negativity in the world so countering it with positivity is a goal of his. If you hear “Let’s get sexy!” and “Let’s get ready to party!” it’s most likely because Mike is in the area. He has been nicknamed the “Honeybadger” because he doesn’t back down from anything, enjoys the moment and doesn’t care about the petty stuff.
What was your first obstacle race and why did you do it? My first obstacle race was the stadium sprint in Philadelphia in 2014. I ran it with my close buddy Mark who owns iCorefitness where I had started training. I ran the open wave because I didn’t know what to expect and he ran it again with me after he ran elite. It was fun in that some things I did great at and some things completely destroyed me. I had no idea how to train for these races. It was an eye opener. I decided to do the race because I wanted to get involved in some type of competition following graduating college. I wanted to do something other than just running that was still challenging. I thought the concept of engaging in obstacles was fun so I thought Spartan Race would be perfect.
What drives you to compete? Having to overcome serious medical issues in the past has made me very fortunate to be healthy and alive with the ability to even do this. Many people do not have such fortune. When you don’t have your health and everyday is in question, you tend to view the world differently once given a second chance. The terms “hump day” and “TGIF” do not exist in my vocabulary. I enjoy everyday as a new opportunity. My coach Yancy said, “You spend 98% of your life training and 2% of your life competing. Enjoy the 98% ride, for it comprises the majority of your time”.
If you could run an obstacle race anywhere in the world, where would it be? In Frigento, Italy where my wife’s family is from. The views and landscape are beautiful and extremely peaceful. It would be a very hard mountain race, but worth it. If not there, then it would be in one of the Greek islands!
What interesting fact do most fans of OCR not know about you? I am a full time Physical Therapist that works with outpatient orthopedics and sports medicine. I have had an ankle injury and a serious hand injury in the past. They were part of what inspired me to become a Physical Therapist. I am lucky to have my right hand, which makes it ironic that I chose a sport so grip and running intensive.
Who is one of the OCR athletes you admire most and why? Hunter McIntyre because he understands the balance between having fun and putting in serious work. He gives people a hard time, which may rub some the wrong way but it’s only to get the best out of them. I grew up with guys and fellow athletes like him so I get it. He also puts his best into every challenge and doesn’t back down.
If you hadn't found OCR, in what sport(s) would you be competing? I would have continued my training in ChenTaiJiQuan combat art and Gracie Jujitsu. I still look to resume it once I am done with my racing career.
What are your goals with OCR? I would really like to continue to pursue top 10 in the elite/pro waves. I also would like to try to get on the podium a few times. With that being said I am looking forward to taking home team wins with my team iCorefitness.