Runner Interview – Bill Hoffman

When and why did you start running?

In the fall of 2010 after reading Born to Run. I ran my first marathon at the Mohawk Hudson in 2011, with a 4:42. The next year I came back and ran a 3:24:55, qualifying for Boston. I ran Boston in 2013 in 3:35.

What’s your favorite race to date, and why?

I think my favorite race is Wakely Dam Ultra. I first ran it in 2013 and have not missed a year that it has happened since. The unsupported style and family feel to the race keeps me coming back. It is not so hard and long that it wipes you out, and it has just the right amount of adventure. There is something great about packing up all the food, water and supplies you need for the next 6-8 hours and heading off into the woods.

What has been your biggest running adventure to date?

That is a tough one. There are so many… The trail run from Bear Mt. to NYC, Leadville 100 or Cascade Crest 100. However, I would have to say the biggest adventure was the unassisted Lake George 12str. It was an adventure that was years in the making. It involved 56 miles and 15000 feet of vertical gain and a 1.5 mile swim across a cold lake. All of this was done without any aid during the adventure. We packed our own food, and filtered water when needed. To date no one else has ever attempted this. Likely without the pandemic we still would have attempted it.

What is your approach to training? Do you follow a particular training plan, or do you work with a coach and if so, who?

For most of my running I have been self-coached. I really like the training plans in Pete Pfitzinger’s book Advanced Marathoning. I did work with Tom O’Grady for about a year, which was fun as well. Mostly I try to keep going and have fun. The pandemic certainly changed the course of my running. I am less interested in races now, but still enjoy them when they happen. For 100 milers I like to get in lots of vertical gain rather than miles during training. Also, the trails are way more fun than the roads.

What is your weekly mileage in peak racing/marathon training season? What is your approach to the off season.

In peak season, I run 65 to 70 miles with 10-15k of elevation gain. I run all year, and generally run 50 to 60 miles a week when just running with no plans.

 During our cold winter days, do you brave poor weather conditions or stick indoors on the treadmill? If you do run outside, what safety measures do you take?

I really hate treadmills. I think out of 23,000 or so miles I have run since I started running, only 5 or 6 of them have been on a treadmill. I run outside every day no matter what. It is mostly about having the right clothes. As a barefoot sandal runner, boiled wool socks were the best discovery ever for me. I have gone on 20 mile adventures in wool socks and sandals in the high peaks of the Adirondacks when it was -10 at the start of the day.

List your PRs: Race, time, year

2013 Boston Marathon: 3:15:26

2014 Wakely Dam Ultra: 6:26:19

2019 Manitou’s Revenge 54 mile ultra: 15:16:57

2018 Leadville Trail 100: 26:22:28

What was your worst injury and how did you get over it?

I broke my arm on top of Mt. Marcy while doing the great range traverse. I managed to keep my run streak going but was running very slowly in a sling for a few weeks and was not running trails again without the sling for 6 weeks.

Your favorite shoe for training and racing

Luna Sandals Mono for trails, and Vernado for roads.

Ever run in a costume?


Do you work with a dietitian to enhance your performance? If so, who?

No, but I am vegan. I lost over 40 pounds in the first year of my running.

What are your favorite pre-race and post-race meals?

Pre-race I like pasta and vegetables. Post-race a beer and Thai food are great, and junk food like chips. I also like a smoothie with tart cherry juice, turmeric, ginger and frozen berries. My Vitamix is awesome. At the end of Wakely I shared some of my post-race smoothie with one of the runners who almost collapsed at the finish. He now expects my smoothies after every Wakely.

What activities do you enjoy when not running?

I do some snowboarding, cross country skiing, kayaking, and road biking.

What challenges / races / adventures are you planning for the coming year?

I’m still figuring that out. I am in the 7 Sisters Trail Race and the Boston Marathon so far. I am looking for a 100 miler to do, as I did not make receive race entries through any of the three lotteries I entered.

What is the greatest piece of advice you've ever received in the sport?

I got some good tips on nutrition for longer events like 100 mile races, and use Tailwind, Huma gels, and pb&j burritos.

                                       Bill with son in New Zealand

Ed. Note: Bill, through his running event company Mountain Dog Running, is sponsoring a new race Grafton 15K on April 23 at 8 a.m. Registration opens on February 20. Click here to find out more.

Mountain dog Tausch running through Grafton Lakes State Park

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