Cedars-Sinai

Medical Staff Pulse Newsletter

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Reversing Heart Disease
March 12

Ethics Noon Conference
March 20

Virtual Medicine Symposium
March 27

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Mosenifar, MD, to Run His 100th Marathon

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Zab Mosenifar, MD, will run in his 100th marathon this weekend.

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Mosenifar holds some of his marathon medals.

Zab Mosenifar, MD, professor and executive vice chair in the Department of Medicine, is a man of routines. He has spent his entire career at Cedars-Sinai, lived in the same house for 39 years and runs every day—rain or shine, without fail.

"I don’t remember a day I haven’t run in the last 50 years," said Mosenifar, who just turned 70. "I also don’t remember ever being sick in my adult life."

On Saturday, March 9, Mosenifar will run his 100th marathon—the Catalina Island Marathon, rated the sixth toughest in the world. It's a rugged course he has already conquered 37 times. By the time he completes this latest marathon, Mosenifar will have run roughly 5.6 times around the earth, a total of about 135,200 miles.

"Only my last car had more miles on it than my own knees," said Mosenifar, although he admittedly shares he has only owned three cars in his entire life—all black Porsches—that he drives until they can be driven no more. "I’m frugal."

The same cost-saving approach comes into play when buying his running shoes—the biggest expense in his life. Mosenifar, who puts about 450 miles on each pair of shoes, shops various online retailers to see if his favorite brand, Hoka, is on sale.

Mosenifar laces up his Hokas by 5 a.m. each morning, then he’s out the door running in the Santa Monica Mountains. Monday through Thursday he runs six miles. On Fridays, he’s alongside a group of men he’s trained with for years and runs eight miles. On the weekends, he goes 11 to 12 miles—a total of 50 miles per week.

After each run, Mosenifar enjoys a cup of black coffee and half a bagel. He's in his office at Cedars-Sinai by 7 a.m., and by noon he's sipping on vegetable soup from the Plaza Café for lunch. At 3 p.m., he takes an espresso break, using the same yellow mug his oldest daughter—now 30—made for him as a young child. And for dinner every night, Mosenifar enjoys pasta with pesto and a salad with his wife of 35 years, though she eats a different meal.

Mosenifar’s love of running was born out of the stress of higher education and medical school. Running continues to be his best form of relieving stress.

"I use running not just for my own solitude, but as a tremendous release of stress from work, because there can be some really tough, sad days," said Mosenifar. "I am disciplined. I am not someone who will have a few drinks. I go home and go for a 10-mile run, even if I already ran in the morning. That’s my bar. That’s how I try to get over some of these stresses of my life."

He completed his first marathon 45 years ago in Philadelphia. Since then, Mosenifar has run competitively in all the big city marathons—at a record 3 hours flat—as well as international races in European countries. He's even competed in marathons in Death Valley during the dead heat of summer. Today, Mosenifar finishes his races in about 4 hours and 35 minutes, typically finishing in first or second place for his age group.

"Catalina remains my favorite marathon, by far," said Mosenifar. "It mimics my daily runs in the mountains."

And though his eyes are set on Catalina this weekend, Mosenifar said he isn’t focused on the milestone number of 100 completed marathons.

"I’m more impressed that I’ve been able to run all of these years," said Mosenifar. "To me, it’s less about 100 marathons and more about the fact that I’m still healthy enough to run 50 miles per week and put so many miles on my body. That’s human nature—and to me, that’s much more impressive than running 5.6 times around the globe."