Resides in: Bethlehem
Years running: 36
Bio: I started running as a sophomore in high school when the cross country coach asked me to try out for the team. Growing up on a farm, I knew that my dad could have used my help with chores, but he agreed to let me try out with the understanding that I’d give it my best effort. Little did he know that it would be the start of a life long passion/obsession. I’ve run more than 600 races from cross country, track, and road races, to trail races and duathlons. I’ve completed 35 marathons. I’m proud to say my wife and two sons also share the running addiction. It’s become part of our family identity.
What is the strangest/funniest thing that has happened to you on a run?
Once in a 12K race in South Jersey, a race volunteer had an arrow taped to his shirt. As the pack approached, he turned, changing the direction of the arrow. The runners all made a left turn into a cemetery which dead-ended! It was pretty funny as the runners zig-zagged through the tombstones to an open gate to get back on course!
What is your biggest running accomplishment and why?
I’ve been fortunate to have had a pretty successful running career and until recently have remained injury-free. The 1980 Mardi Gras Marathon in New Orleans is the one race that will be forever ingrained in my mind. It was one of those perfect days where I was fit, the weather was cooperating, the course was rated as fast, and I just decided to go all out and see what would happen. The adrenaline that was pumping through me when I saw the finishing clock at 2:33:43 was just unbelievable! It was one of the top 1000 times in America that year. Grete Waitz was the only female marathoner in the world who had run a faster time than me. It may sound like I’m boasting a little, but I’m really proud of that effort. I was 20 years old and thought that I could run even faster. Now I wonder how I ever accomplished that time!
Favorite race distance?
I enjoy racing distances from 5 miles through the marathon. I dislike the 5K distance and find it really frustrating that today’s race calendars consist of about 90% 5Ks. I feel my current race choices are somewhat limited.
Best piece of running advice you’ve ever received?
It sounds simple, but when I first started running my dad told me not to be afraid to push myself to reach my full potential. I’ve used that advice as a motivator throughout my whole running career, and have passed it on to other beginning runners.
I started running in the mid 70′s, so most of my heroes are from that era. I’m a big fan of Steve Prefontaine, Bill Rodgers, Frank Shorter, Alberto Salazar, Rod Dixon, Joan Benoit, and Grete Waitz. They were all risk-takers. I was fortunate to compete in some races with them in their prime, when they sometimes set American or world records. Being part of the original “running boom” was pretty exciting.
Current running goals?
My current goals have changed a lot since suffering my first major injury this year. I’m probably going to be a lot less competitive and focus more on easier running and cross-training. I’m going with the “fitness for life” mentality. Two life-long goals are to run a race in all 50 states and to ride my bike across the country. I may try an ultra trail run someday since the emphasis is more on the experience and completing the distance than on the time.
What gets you excited about running?
When I was younger, running was all about the competition and how fast I could get from point A to point B. Now I’m more excited about helping others. I worked with the LVRR Kids Running Series for several years and have also helped coach some of my friends and family members through their first marathons. One of my biggest thrills was training my wife to a Boston qualifier last year.
Do you have a favorite race?
I have several favorite races. Locally, I enjoy the Lehigh Valley and VIA half marathons. Regionally, the Berwick “Run for the Diamonds” on Thanksgiving is always a favorite. Nationally, I like the St. George Marathon, Avenue of the Giants Marathon, Grandma’s Marathon, Boston Marathon, and Twin Cities Marathon. Some others that no longer exist were the Peace Race 25K in Youngstown, Ohio and the Fort to Fort 30K in upstate New York.