Get to know Jeff W.
How long have you been involved with running?
I ran my first road race in 2001—the Tim White 5K. I had been running around the neighborhood before that but hadn’t considered doing a race until Tracy Jones asked me to run in her place at that 5K.
What got you involved with running?
I got sick of being out of shape.
How many days a week do you usually run?
It depends. When I’m training for a longer race, I’ll do 5 days a week. When I’m training for a triathlon, it’s more like 3 days a week (with bike and swim the other days).
What is the greatest distance you have raced?
What is one of your most memorable race/ event and what made it so special?
It’s so hard to pick just one! So I’m not going to.
Bay State Marathon 2009 – This was the first race where I worked with a trainer. I trained with Lowell Ladd, who lives in PA, so we communicated via phone and email. He increased my mileage quite a bit and prescribed better speed workouts than I had been doing. My previous best marathon was 3:44 and I hired Lowell to help me get a BQ (which was 3:30 at the time). I got to mile 20 in the race and was feeling strong, which was a first for me. When I got to mile 26, I knew I was going to qualify and was so elated that I just put the hammer down and crushed the last mile at 7:16 pace. I crossed the finish line and just broke down. I had trained so hard and I wasn’t sure if I could actually quality for Boston. I got 3:24 that day.
Chicago Marathon 2007 – This was the hot one. A bunch of GNRC-ers flew out for the race. I remember us eating pasta at some restaurant the night before and discussing strategy for the predicted heat. Temps were mid 80’s with high humidity at the start and just got worse. I was walking by mile 16. At mile 23, the race organizers were on the bullhorns saying, “The race is cancelled. Everybody must walk to the finish.” All the clocks were turned off. It was surreal—racers just sitting at the side of the road, everyone suffering. I finished in something over 5 hours. We went to Mike Ditka’s restaurant afterwards and compared horror stories over large slabs of meat.
Boston Marathon 2014 – The year after the bombing. I’ll never forget standing at the start line with the other runners and cheering. It gives me goosebumps now just thinking of it.
Do you always enjoy going out for a run?
At this point, I’d have to there are very few days when I don’t enjoy being out for a run. When I’m healthy enough to run, I love being out there on the roads with my friends. What I don’t like: treadmills.
What are some of the things that gets you out the door when you really don’t feel like going out on a run?
Running with GNRC-ers! Nothing like having company on the roads or track.
What are you working towards currently in your workouts?
I’m getting ready for the Derry 16 miler.
What are some of your long term running goals?
This year my goal is to re-qualify for Boston. I have to get a 3:35, which will be tough. I’ve always had a tough time avoiding injury, so I’m going to have to train smart as well as hard.
Can you share something about an obstacle you had to overcome and how you managed to get over it?
I struggled with a tough back injury as I was training for the Boston Marathon in 2016. I couldn’t run, so I put in a lot of long bike rides indoors. About a month before the marathon I started working with a great chiropractor (Dr. Carroll in Norwood) and got healthy enough to run. I went into the race unsure what to expect, but kept the pace slow and managed to do 4:04.
How long have you been a member of GNRC?
Since the beginning in 2006.
What are some of the things you enjoy about being a member of GNRC?
My favorite memories of GNRC are from races. Our destination races, in particular, have been a blast--Philly, Loco, Mohawk Hudson, Chicago. I’m also a fan of the Ragnar Relays—Cape Cod and Reach the Beach. Oh, and I love the Thanksgiving Day run, too. People in this club like to train hard, enjoy a race, and have a great time afterward!
Can you share a story that relates to you and the club?
I have a list of all of the road races that I’ve run, and my memories of pretty much every race relate to people in the club. There are so many great stories. Here’s another one: In 2014 I ran the Bay State Marathon with a bunch of people from the club. I ran with Terry for most of the race but couldn’t keep up with him at the end, where I really struggled. People who saw me at the end of the race told me I looked like hell, and I was feeling pretty salty. I did get a BQ of 3:27 but ended up in the med tent. My GNRC mates really helped me after that race—from getting me out of the med tent to getting me home in one piece. I remember Jen in particular helping me negotiate the med tent and then driving my car home with me in the passenger seat. She got pulled over for speeding on Rte. 128, and I think it helped to have a bunch sorry looking marathoners in the car—she didn’t get a ticket!
In what ways has the club made a difference in your running?
GNRC has been a blessing to me not only as a runner but as a person. I’ve met so many wonderful people and had so many wonderful experiences because of this club. It’s hard to explain to people who don’t run what it means to train and race with friends. I am a better runner and a better person because of all of you. Thanks.
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Members answer questions about their running.