What is your age, occupation, background, hobbies, and other sports?
I’m 68 and retired from a career in the agricultural seed industry. I grew up on a dairy farm, farmed in addition to work and am still farming. I enjoy the outdoors and the physical work. Hiking, kayaking, some cycling, and skiing are the other activities when I can fit them in.
When and why did you start running?
As a youth I played soccer and didn’t start “running” until college, where Phys. Ed. was required for Freshmen. This worked out well for me since I took Rock Climbing, then Skiing, until I got stuck with Running indoors in Barton Hall. A friend talked the instructor into letting us run the roads outside. And this same “friend” (ROTC Marine), turned out to be training for a marathon which in 1976 was my first official “race.” We kept running and after graduation I continued to run off and on, but it took my son to really get me back into it. Now I run, RD and time a few races with our running club.
What’s your favorite race to date, and why?
The Timothy Murphy 10K in Middleburgh NY is my favorite race year in and year out. It is a yearly local race on a great rural course during peak foliage season that finishes in Middleburgh during the Village’s Octoberfest. My kids will come back to run it if they can and my son is still the 15-19 record holder, so I have lots of good memories of that race.
What is your approach to training?
Do you follow a particular training plan, or do you work with a coach and if so, who? I try to run 80 easy/20 hard, and the 20 hard is always the last mile with 600 elevation gain just to get home. I sometimes throw in some speedwork in the form of a fartlek. I seldom get on a track. Honestly, nothing is structured, I’ll run how I feel. I’m always undertrained for my long events, only running 3 or 4 days a week, but recovery days are as important with age. I’m more interested in longevity and not losing muscle mass. I enjoy the long runs and trail races. I’ve only followed a training program and paid a coach for a short time once in my life, just to see how much of an improvement actually training for an event might make at my age. It makes a difference, I came within 10 minutes of my marathon PR set 10 years earlier and was 1st in my AG, but running now days is for enjoyment, not for PR’s.
What is your weekly mileage in peak racing/marathon training season? What is your approach to the off season?
30 miles a week is about my average, I’ll only exceed that a few weeks per year. I get the equivalent of strength training just doing farm work which has no “off season,” so I need to hit the road at least a few times a week year-round just to keep the muscles from really tightening up.
During our cold winter days, do you brave poor weather conditions or stick indoors on the treadmill?
I’ll run outside as often as I can, safely. I never even got on the treadmill last year. Cold and windy isn’t an issue, you can dress for it, I’ll even wear ski goggles if I need to, but footing and visibility can be an issue. I’m in a rural area and run the roads, so when it’s dark and icy, it’s just better not to be out there and I’ll skip a day or use the dreadmill if I really need to run.
List your PRs: Race, time, year:
PRs are nice for a sense of accomplishment and goal setting but I never bothered to keep track until I got a smartwatch and Garmin did it for me.
Altamont 5K 18:34 2010
Running of the Green 4 mi : 24:28 2014
Delmar Dash 5 mi 31:18 2011
Timothy Murphy 10K 38:18 2009
Stockade-athon 15K 1:02:20 2013
HMRRC WS5 GP 10 mi 1:07:42 2014
Skunk Cabbage Classic ½ Maratho 1:31:18 2010
Wineglass Marathon 3:14:31 2010
Burton Creek 50K Trail 5:27:45 2014
JFK 50 mi 9:21:13 2021
What is your favorite distance?
For everyday runs, I have some scenic 6-9 mi routes that I really enjoy. That’s what gets me out the door. For racing, 10k, you can push hard and still recover quickly. For a sufferfest and a challenge, 50K or longer, but it must be a trail run.
Your favorite shoe for training and racing?
Comfort and fit are my priorities and the traditional Saucony shoe last just fits my feet better than anything else I’ve tried so far. I’ll train in Triumphs, road race in Kinvaras and trail run in Peregrines. I do swap out my shoes around 400 mi. I can’t justify spending a boatload on the newest and greatest shoe, so I stay with my tried and true, and when I find a GREAT deal, I’ll buy multiple pairs.
Ever run in a costume?
Not on purpose, but if a tutu counts then, yes. I was asked to fill out a relay team that was all women. Someplace along the way it was decided that everyone would wear tutus. I’ve gotta say, they know how to have fun and I think they train for the party!
What are your favorite pre-race and post-race meals?
The night before almost any Italian pasta dish, the morning of is always oatmeal with peanut butter added, and some fruit. Afterward could be anything with a balance of carbs and quality protein, but I can always go for a good hamburger.
What challenges / races / adventures are you planning for the coming year?
I have had my eye on the Highland Fling 53 mile Ultra Trail Marathon through Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park, Scotland, UK for some time. I planned on running it in 2023, but it wasn’t held. There are a lot of excellent YouTube videos on it. The date is supposed to be announced shortly but acceptance maybe by ballot. I’m hoping…I have some Scottish ancestry, so it will be a runcation.
What is the greatest piece of advice you've ever received in the sport?
I’ve been given a lot of great advice, but I don’t even have to think about this question because I asked it when I was fairly new to Trail Ultras…”Bring TP”.
Ed. Note: Special thanks to Dave Roy for being the Race Director of the Landis Perennial 5K Forest Run Race