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October 2018-Roger Heacock

Q: Tell me a little bit about yourself. (Where you’re from, what you’re doing now…etc)

A: I grew up on a farm outside of the small town of Colome.  I attended all eight years of grade school in a one-room country school, the same school my mother had attended.  From there, I attended Colome High School and then South Dakota State University. I moved to Rapid City in 1978 to work at Black Hills Federal Credit Union and have worked there ever since.

I’ve been married to my wife Chris for 36 years and have a son and two daughters.

Q: How long have you been running and how did you get started?

A: I ran track for four years in high school and then didn’t start running again until about 20 years later.  I started running again because my wife told me I was getting too out of shape and needed to be more physically active.  She was right and I’ve been running ever since.

Q: Would you rather run with a group or alone?

A: Most times I would much rather run with a group.  This is especially true for long runs as the miles go by so much quicker when chatting and running in rhythm with others.  However, I also enjoy running alone as it is a great stress reliever and is also a time to think about absolutely nothing (some say it is my way of meditating).

Q:  Tell us a little trivia about your running?

A:  During my senior year of high school, my teammates and I set the school record for the sprint medley race (I ran the 880 leg) and is a record that will never be broken because the race was measured in yards.

Q: Do you prefer roads or trails?  

A: My favorite running surface is a rail trail surface like the Mickelson Trail has.  We are so fortunate to have this trail readily accessible for us. I run most of my miles on the Rapid City bike path or roads because I’m rather clumsy when running trails.  I have a many-years-long sore shoulder as proof of my clumsiness on trails.

Q: What is your favorite distance or race?

A:  I suppose I should say marathons are my favorite race since I’ve run more marathons than any other race distance.  I’ve run 67 marathons, and have completed a marathon in all 50 states. My times have varied quite a bit. I’ve qualified for the Boston Marathon several times but have also run my share of very slow marathons – 7 hours 11 minutes being my worst.  I enjoy the adventure of races as you never know what might happen while running a race. I have been attacked and knocked into a deep ditch by a Great Dane, become lost several times, and have even experienced hallucinations at the end of a couple of races and once ended up in the emergency room after a 10K.

Q: How do you stay motivated when you don’t want to run?

A: I love to run, so motivation is not an issue.  But like my wife stated one time, he loves to run, but often loses that “loving feeling” after mile 20.

Q: If I didn’t run I’d ………..

A: If I didn’t run, I’d be out-of-shape and overweight because I love to eat – especially desserts.  I’d probably be over stressed as nothing lowers my stress level like running.

Q: What do you find to be the most rewarding thing about running?

A: All the people I’ve met.  I have a community of friends that love running as much as I do. I love that running bridges generations as I’ve been on runs where we’ve had every decade represented, from someone in their twenties to someone in their sixties (that was me).

Q: What is your favorite running memory?

A:  My favorite memories have been when I’ve run marathons stride for stride with one or more of my running buddies.  I have special memories of running most of the Marine Corps Marathon with Dennis Meier, running the Bataan Memorial Death March Marathon as a team with four others, and last year running all of the Sundance to Spearfish Marathon with Dan Bjerke and finishing in a tie.

Q: Do you have a pre-race ritual?

A:  I am too serious and focused prior to a race and no fun to be around!

Q: What’s the most valuable lesson you have learned from running?

A: Proper pacing for any distance is the key to running success.  I have learned that I get really hyped for marathons and have so much adrenaline flowing through my body that it is easy to run too fast the first few miles of a race, but those fast miles come back to haunt me.  Those fast miles in the beginning really tax your legs and you’ll pay the price with some really slow, agonizing miles at the end.

Q: What are your running goals for the future?

A:  I would like to run some marathons in other countries and run Boston when I’m 70.

Q: What advice do you have for new runners?

A:  Run your own race, not the pace of others or what others expect of you.  Find what makes running fun for you so that you have a love of running the rest of your life.