This profile first appeared in our Nov/Dec 2015 magazine issue.
No, it wasn’t the vibrant new racing kit of Rhode Runner that caught our eye when we decided to profile Eric Lonergan. It was his lightning fast times. But, yes, the kit helped.
- What was your introduction to running?
To keep me out of typical middle school trouble, my mom signed me up for a few sports. I played basketball and baseball and waited patiently for my growth spurt to arrive (I’m still waiting). When that didn’t happen I took up cross country and track. I ran at North Kingstown High School and had great coaches who helped prepare me to become a lifelong runner. My college coach, Kevin Jackson at Rhode Island College, was the same way and focused more on quality than quantity, keeping me relatively injury free throughout.
- Describe your training philosophy and how has it evolved over your career.
My philosophy has always been quality over quantity. Though throughout this year I’ve found a good combination of the two that works quite well. I’m also a fan of listening to your body vs. “running through it.” I’d much rather avoid serious injury and enjoy running than go all in and blow up.
- You seem to have a good training group at Rhode Runner. How have the likes of Patrick Moulton, Jason Ashley, Ray “The Razor” Sikorowicz, Phil Kiesling, and others contributed to your running successes?
It’s always super helpful to have folks to run with. Working at Rhode Runner gives me a solid crew of people to run with on a regular basis. There’s always someone looking to run a few miles. Phil is a monster and crushes 100+ miles a week on the regular, so for long runs we’ll get together on Saturdays or Sundays. He and Patrick have been a huge help in training for my first marathon as they are both so experienced at that distance. I know if I have a question about training I can always go to them.
- What does your training look like on a daily basis?
Currently I’m in the midst of training for the Philly Marathon, which means these days I’m doing about 10-15 miles a day with a 20 miler or so on the weekend. Most of my runs are progression runs with more of an emphasis on the fast finish during the long runs.
- Rhode Island is rich with elite talent, both past and present. Has anyone in particular been a source of motivation or inspiration for you?
Past: Bobby Doyle. He was the ultimate lunch pail-get-to-work type of runner. Getting to work with his son Brian at the shop, I can see that same type of mentality in him and it’s inspiring. Jim Doyle has shared some stories that are downright impressive and Bobby’s dedication to the sport shows that when you put in the work, results will follow. Also, Keith Kelly: that guy was/still is a monster.
Present: Molly Huddle. She is super impressive and the nicest gal you’ll ever meet. Through the store I’ve had the chance to meet her a few times and it’s awesome to meet an elite athlete who is so down to earth and friendly (though I’m sure she’s ferocious when competing). She is another athlete that is so focused and dedicated to the task at hand that you can’t help but be inspired.
- Describe your best performance and proudest accomplishment.
Best performance: Blessing of the Fleet, this year. While I wasn’t able to catch my boy Matty P (Pelletier), I felt comfortable moving through the pack and if the reported times were off as some have mentioned (I didn’t have a watch), then I ran a PR for 5 miles over 10.
Proudest Accomplishment: Running 3:53 in college for the 1500. In high school I always thought I was going to be running the 5k/10k in college but my coach (Kevin Jackson) thought otherwise. He developed some quickness that I didn’t think I had and so when I first broke 4:00 in the 1500 I was pumped and to bring it down to 3:53 was probably my proudest accomplishment. (Though Jesus Barrio still has the Rhode Island College school record by a few tenths, gosh darn it!)
- What do you think is the hardest thing about the sport of running?
Consistency is the hardest part for me. I find that either work gets in the way or sometimes it’s easy to have an excuse to not get out there. I’ve done well these past few months and have found that having a goal race in mind is super helpful to hold yourself accountable.
- What do you do when you have a cold, ache, or pain?
I’m a fan of listening to my body, so if I have an ache or pain I’ll try to take care of it immediately. If it’s a cold I’ll take a few days off from running to get better, then get back to it. I’m lucky in that through the shop we have great relationships with great local physical therapists, so I can always ask them for advice.
- If you weren’t a runner, what would you do with all of your free time?
Golf. I think I’d be big into golf. Let’s just say Rory’s lucky I took up running.
- What’s next?
Philly Marathon! And growing Rhode Runner into the best darn shop in New England and the world! Oh, and kids someday. I’d like to have kids. Ω
Training Partner’s Perspective
by Phil Kiesling
Having the opportunity to train with Eric has been a blessing. We typically run together on Saturdays for our long run. When we do a long run workout, we run side-by-side for the first part of the session and then when the workout begins, we separate. He takes off ahead of me and we rendezvous afterwards.
During the easy miles of our runs, I usually barrage Eric with a list of questions about my training. I consider his feedback invaluable and it definitely has helped me grow as a runner. Eric is the type of guy that believes in your ability and keeps you going when you question yourself.
Eric and I are in two different classes when it comes to running. A challenging effort for me is a daily run for him, and I sometimes wonder why he runs with me. I think that tells you a lot about him.
One thing that I really like and respect about Eric is his humility. He does not like any attention put on his own running ability. He likes to show up to a race, run hard, and stick around to cheer on others as they finish. He loves the camaraderie of our sport. When we talk about why we love running he lists three things: to see just how hard he can physically push himself, to see how fast he can become, and to see if he can achieve the next level. That’s what’s great about running: there’s always a next level.
Eric is a class act, a humble and fierce competitor who embraces everything there is about running.
To read more from our Nov/Dec 2015 issue, click here.
To read from our current issue, click here.
Feature image by Scott Mason.