Going the Extra Mile, in Real Estate and Running

Michael Fanelli running
Mike Fanelli on a run with his dog, Baci, in the hills above San Anselmo.

At Pacific Union International, we always go the extra mile for our clients — but one of our real estate professionals has gone even farther.

Mike Fanelli, who specializes in San Francisco and Marin homes, is on track to run his 100,000th lifetime mile at the Philadelphia Marathon on Nov. 18. That’s a lot of miles – roughly the equivalent of running five miles every day for 55 years.

“Most people would say, ‘Gee, 100,000 — I don’t know how long that takes,’” said Michael Holland, president of the Marin-based Tamalpa Runners group, with which Fanelli trains. “Let’s say you run 50 miles a week, which is a lot. That’s 40 years. That is really difficult to do because you have injuries, you start a family.

“(Michael) is about the most dedicated, knowledgeable runner I’ve ever met,” Holland said.

Fanelli, 56, said he fell in love with the sport during the 1968 Mexico City Olympic Games and started running in junior high. He began keeping a detailed log to track his athletic performance, which is how he knows his lifetime mileage.

Fanelli has always trained hard to compete. His “personal bests” include a 4:16 mile, a 2:25 marathon, and completing 100 miles in 16 hours and 40 minutes. Fanelli has twice won the San Francisco Pacific Rim Marathon, in 1988 and 1989 — and at age 50, he could still run a mile in 4:56.

He also has extensive coaching experience, including coaching the USA National Team three times and training a dozen U.S. Olympic Trials qualifiers, and still holds the standing San Francisco State University record for 10,000 meters from his time on the track team.

“Here I am at 56, and I haven’t missed a single day of running since 2010,” Fanelli said. “My off day is a five-mile run.”

Up at 5:30 a.m. each day, Fanelli fits in training – and client service – first thing.

“What it takes to accomplish success in athletics is obviously a lot of focus, concentration, discipline, goal-setting, having an end result that you’re trying to accomplish and working backwards from that,” Fanelli said. “That’s not dissimilar to what I do in our business.”

In fact, endurance training often complements Fanelli’s real estate work. “The harder you train, the fitter you are, the greater your endurance and perspective is, you’re more able to grind it out when you need to (at work),” he said.

Fanelli’s wife, Renay Weissberger Fanelli, described her husband’s discipline as both “inspiring and intimidating.”

“You always feel like a slacker,” she said with a laugh, adding, “He always finds new goals or new opportunities or ways to make it interesting. He’s very goal-oriented. (The 100,000 miles) is another milestone for him.”

In late November, the couple will travel to Fanelli’s hometown of Philadelphia, where he ran his first marathon 40 years ago. Fanelli said he isn’t sure yet at what point in the Philadelphia Marathon he’ll hit the 100,000-mile mark.

But there will be a celebratory lunch with friends and family afterwards – and not long after, some more training.

“This particular accomplishment is one that very few people have managed to tackle because it takes doing something that’s not easy to do and doing it every day for a minimum of 40-something years,” Fanelli said. “I’m comfortable being uncomfortable.”

We’ll be rooting for Fanelli on Nov. 18 – and cheering on all of our real estate professionals who give it their all every day.




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