A distance runner for most of his life, native St. Louisan Mark Spewak always enjoyed being part of a team, part of something bigger than himself. He ran for Ladue High School and Rider University in New Jersey while a student there. “Once I stopped competing for a team, I felt like I was losing motivation. I was on a run in Forest Park one day in the fall of 2012, and as I hit the hill on Skinker, I started asking myself, ‘Why do I continue to put myself through these miles?’ Then I remembered that I run because it makes me happy. The more I run, the more I smile.” From there, More Miles More Smiles was born.

What exactly is More Miles More Smiles, and how did you come up with the name?

More Miles More Smiles is a company designed to share the passion and love for the sport with as many runners and walkers as possible. Our goal is to unite runners of every ability and inspire them to fulfill their fitness goals. The name popped into my head a year before I started the company [in 2013]. Whenever I started feeling tired on a run, I would yell out loud, “More miles, more smiles!”

How precisely are you trying to unite runners and walkers in St. Louis?

A year ago we teamed up with the Children’s Heart Foundation to put on the More Miles More Smiles 4 Hearts 5K/1 Mile Walk at Tilles Park. We’ve had two successful events so far, and our proceeds have benefited the foundation 100 percent. We’re currently working with another charity in an effort to put on another race. I’ve also been quietly coaching different area runners, and this fall we will be launching a personal coaching business.

And you have More Miles More Smiles merch. We’ve seen your smiley-face shirts around town.

Yes, we sell shirts, hats, headbands and stickers on our website. I really believe that what you wear can inspire you and others, so our apparel is fun and intended to remind us why we run. But our primary focus is putting on charity races and coaching.

What is it about running that motivates you to champion the sport?

Running is relative from person to person. Whether you run 100 miles a week or walk half a mile a day doesn’t matter. The fulfillment and satisfaction you gain from the sport is all yours. No one can take that feeling away from you. We can all gain something valuable from this sport.

Where can people most often find you running?

I’m not a hard guy to find! I’m usually running through the streets of Ladue or Brentwood. My favorite place to run in St. Louis is Forest Park. It has such a rich history and always seems to be packed with lots of runners and walkers. I also like to participate in and support any St. Louis Track Club event. [Club race directors] Mike Orrico and Mike Huelsmann do an unbelievable job of promoting fitness in the St. Louis area.

More Miles More Smiles