You are a bit of an underground legend. First for your racing. Second for your videos. Who or what is your muse?
Wow, that’s flattering. I think we need to emphasize ‘bit’ and de-emphasize ‘legend’ in that statement, but I’ll take it as a compliment either way.
In terms of racing, if someone finds my story interesting it may be because I wasn’t a runner until I was nearly 30. Some people know that I weighed 235 pounds when I started running at 28 years old. From a starting point like that, breaking 20 minutes for 5K is probably a lofty goal. Working my way into a fairly competitive runner hopefully serves as an inspiration to someone who is just getting started and is wondering what is possible. As the Level Legion knows…running fast takes a ton of hard work, patience and persistence. Once I got a taste of improvement I was pretty driven to keep at it and see if I could start to catch up to some of the guys and gals I look up to. I remember the first time I was able to finish ahead of Heidi Westover in a race. That was a big deal for me.
With regards to the body of work that has been produced by Wilesthing Studios, I think that I’m just foolish enough to act on the silly ideas that I have. As we all know, there are some lonely and boring miles in the training of a distance runner. While I do have some productive thoughts on the roads, more often than not I’m just letting my mind wander and I naturally migrate towards the absurd. Most people would be smart enough to leave their silly thoughts and ideas out on the road behind them but I sometimes find myself bringing then to life. The married men among us all know that look from the wife…slowly shaking her head with the eyes closed and pursed lips. I get that a lot when I explain my ideas. If my wife doesn’t think it is stupid, I probably won’t bother making it.
A little known fact is that you were featured in the very first issue of Level Renner. What’s new (besides your retirement from competitive racing)?
Yes, its true that I haven’t run a serious race since Stowe in 2011. I actually knew that I was ready for a break after Market Square Day in Portsmouth a few weeks prior to that but had made a commitment to CMS that I intended to keep. With two small boys at home there are other things that I need to focus more of my time on. Being a good runner is fun, but being a good dad is mandatory.
My oldest son is in school now and this fall I was elected to the School Committee in Kittery, which is an exciting new adventure. I’m involved in helping to shape the educational system in the community where my boys will grow up and that is really important to me.
We also moved to a new home on the other side of Kittery this past spring and we have a growing little farm at the new house. There are a few goats, some sheep, chickens, and a couple of rabbits at the moment. We’re thinking about adding a miniature donkey at some point.
Sports Illustrated is known for their cover jinx. Do you believe you are victim of The Level Renner jinx (even though you were never on the cover)?