Over the last few months we have met many new friends or learned more about some of our BRF's during the Open Mics. As I was thinking about this week's post, I realize I had not reached out to an amazing runner and friend whom I see everyday - Tom. He indulged me in answering a few questions about his running life.
What got you started in running?
I loved playing basketball, but in high school I couldn’t make the team, so I went out for track and cross country, which gave me a chance to be rewarded for my own efforts. We had an inspiring coach who helped us learn about getting the most out of training and how to race competitively. My high school’s cross country team had a successful tradition and that’s where the fun and success was. Example, our school of only 250 students filled five buses of fans to attend the district and state cross country meets.
Tell us about a unique running accomplishment.
In 2005 and 2006, I ran the Chicago Marathon in the exact same time down to the second, in 3:24:38. When you think of all the factors that affect a performance—the course, the crowd, the tangents, the weather, stopping at all the water stations, and my fitness level—what are the chances of that? I guess I’m consistent.
What is your most memorable running moment?
Finishing the Boston Marathon. It took five tries to qualify. I kept my mind focused, paced myself and actually enjoyed the Newton Hills. I bawled in the final mile thinking of my family and friends who had encouraged me throughout my running life.
What is the one piece of advice or running wisdom you live by and would offer to others?
The body can do amazing things. I continue to be amazed by how many people can achieve their running goals by just trying and being persistent. And the accomplishment of daily ordinary running can give us strength to get through our lives and struggles.
Who is your running hero/favorite runner?
From my younger years it was Frank Shorter. He began the boom in running after winning the Olympic gold in the marathon. My current heroes are Catherine Ndereba and Paula Radcliffe. Catherine has won four Boston Marathons, is a gracious athlete, and is dedicated to helping underprivileged girls with running in Kenya. Paula has dominated the running world and she has astonished others with her comeback of multiple marathon wins after dropping out of the 2004 Olympic marathon.
What do you look forward to with running?
I have a wonderful wife, Mary, who is not a runner. However, each of my kids—Laura, Daniel, and Elizabeth—have said they’d like to run a marathon some day, so I would be thrilled to watch them train for and complete a marathon or maybe run along with them. Actually running any distance with them would be very special to me.
Tom and one of his Trophy Daughters, Elizabeth
...And if you are wondering, yes he IS as gracious and kind in person as the person you read in his posts. And yes, even though he won't say it - he is one hell of a great runner and coach - just very humble.
If you are interested in writing a post or would be willing to answer a few questions for virtual interview for Open Mic Fridays, please drop me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.