Many times, promises made in the practice pen over a few beers are regretted the next day. However, when Sean Lehane, an avid marathon runner, told his roping partner Todd Overstreet that he was thinking about running the 2023 London Marathon, Todd enthusiastically agreed to run with him.
“If you’re in, I’m in,” Todd told Sean, and sure enough, Todd held to that promise.
Todd’s one condition was to be able to run the marathon in his straw cowboy hat.
“I don’t think he believed me, until we started to train together, and I was wearing my old Resistol hat. After that, Sean had cowboy hat envy and decided to run in one too,” Todd said.
Dustin Noblitt, the CEO of the Pro Equine Group, and a friend of Todd’s, was thrilled they would run wearing Resistols and offered the logo to add on their running shirts.
“I didn’t know there was such thing as a running shirt,” Todd said, “but Sean thought it was a great idea and reached out to [the association for] the WSTR logo and, what do you know, we had our official cowboy running shirts to wear in the marathon.”
Sean and Todd became somewhat of a spectacle in London in their shirts and cowboy hats, as not many British people had been around or seen cowboys.
“We had like a whole different fan base all the way through the race, and we especially enjoyed the kids,” Todd said. “There would be a group of school kids watching and saying in their British accents, ‘Look mum, look at the cowboys!’ Honestly, that made it. We would have been just another couple of knuckleheads running the marathon if not for that distinction.
“To finish,” he continued, “we had to run by Buckingham Palace as it was preparing for the coronation of the King, so there were tons of people around, and you could hear on the loudspeaker, ‘Here come the cowboys!’ It was like we were two unicorns in the crowd, when in our world, it’s so normal.”
The Track Star
Todd, a defense attorney based out of Houston, is no stranger to running, despite this being his first marathon. Todd was a Division 1 college track star, and ran all four years at the University of Southern California.
“Coming from Amarillo, Texas, it was quite an interesting immersion into a culture I knew nothing about,” Todd explained. “It was such a disaster my first year there. When I got to downtown Los Angeles and pulled up in my pickup truck with my gun rack, even the football coach said, ‘What is this guy doing here? Who brought this guy into this place?’”
Todd was humble about his athletic prowess, but Sean knows the story a little different.
“That guy set all sorts of records at USC; he was a big deal,” Sean revealed.
To mess with Todd’s serious competitive side, Sean had a prank lined up for the marathon that was sure to get under the track star’s skin.
“We get to the start line, and the race is set to begin and, all of a sudden, Sean acts like he’s tying his shoe,” Todd said. “Well, I had already crossed the line, which is when your time starts, and he wanted to run together so I waited on him. When we got to the finish line at the same time, he was exactly one second faster than I was. He’s been telling everyone he beat me.”
Sean describes it as part of the initiation process.
“My brother did that to me for my first marathon,” Sean explained. “It will be in the history books for the rest of our lives that I beat the track star by 1 second. Our great-grandkids will see this.
“This was supposed to be his only marathon, but he’s so competitive, he’ll probably run another just to beat me” Sean added.
Sean, although not a track star, is an athlete in his own right. He has been a marathon runner for 11 years. After realizing that work and kids had taken over his life, he said that running became a necessity.
“I was very out of shape and was starting to have back problems. I lost all the feeling in my right leg. As the sole provider of my family, I knew I needed to get my act together.”
Sean sells spine implants for a living and did not want to be a patient of his own products.
“I just couldn’t seem to find the time to work out,” Sean said. “My hours are different at work; sometimes I’m off early afternoon and sometimes I’m working all night, so my problem was I couldn’t commit to every day.
“I met a guy that I hired as a fitness trainer, and he asked what I was doing at 4:30. I said, ‘4:30 a.m.? I’m asleep!’ And he told me, ‘Not anymore you’re not!’ So, I worked out six days a week from 4:30 a.m. to 5:30 a.m. for about a year-and-a-half.”
Believing he was in the best shape of his life, Sean wanted to test it, so he signed up for the Iron Man Distance Triathlon, which consists of a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike route and concludes with a marathon. However, six weeks before the event, disaster struck.
“I got hit by a schoolteacher texting in a minivan,” Sean said. “It put me in the ICU, and one of the most remarkable things about that kind of training is you heal very quickly. I had shattered my pelvis, broke nine ribs and punctured a lung, but I was still able to enter and finish the race. I couldn’t run so I limped the 26.2 miles.”
“Running helps my roping.”
Because of the experience he had in the Iron Man, marathons are a walk in the park for Sean.
“When I look at marathons now, they are nothing compared to the Iron Man. After the accident, I didn’t quite train as hard, but I still ran. Sinch I grew up roping in high school, I replaced some of my prior training time by picking up a rope. I love to rope.
“I always tell people I could go play 18 holes of golf and go back to work and never think about the golf game,” Sean continued. “But, when I go to a World Series qualifier, I come home and lay in bed and think about selling everything because this is all I want to do. I am just addicted to it.”
Even while focusing more on team roping, Sean still runs to keep in shape.
“I enjoy both, and I know running helps my roping,” he said. “A friend of mine suggested I take on the Big 6. They are marathons in New York, London, Chicago, Tokyo, Berlin and Boston. I’ve done New York and, obviously, the 2023 London Marathon with Todd. I’m going to try to hit them all, but it’s a big commitment.”
Friends, Runners, Ropers
Sean met Todd through a trail riding organization called the Tejas Vaqueros. They both had moved their horses to a roping club in Houston and, because their horses are together, a group of them rope at least three times a week. Todd and Sean became fast friends.
“I took Todd to his first World Series team roping in San Antonio and it blew his mind,” Sean said. “He’s an elite athlete and, even though he wasn’t a very accomplished competitive team roper, he grew up ranching and working cattle, a working cowboy. Todd couldn’t believe there would be that many amazing horses. And when I started to describe the handicap system, he was hooked.
“I have been to the Finale, but Todd has never been,” Sean explained. “It’s literally the most fun I’ve ever had, I can’t wait. I’ve never had a steady, reliable partner to practice with in the past, but I finally have one with Todd. We are entered in the #9.5 and #8.5 divisions at the Finale this year.”
Todd is ready to compete, but said, “I definitely don’t want to be a one-trick pony. I told Sean, ‘You better get your act together because I don’t want to be the cowboys that they only know for running. I want to be the cowboys they know for roping and winning the Finale.” TRJ