Phil Uecker

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

A: My wife and I split our time between the Black Hills of South Dakota and north Texas.  You can probably guess which months we spend in which area. People say we are lucky to be in this position.  While that is true, I think luck has very little to do with it.  It was 50+ years of dreaming, saving, planning, building, hard work and execution that brought us to this point.  I’m going to enjoy it while I can and try not to screw it up.

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

A: I’ve always been active since working at a ski shop right out of high school in Wyoming.  But didn’t really focus on running until I was in my 40’s.  A job change that was more sedentary and a few extra pounds (40?) got me off my butt and out the door.

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

A: Honestly, alone.  That is why 90% of my runs are that way.  But there is definitely a time and place for social runs and I always enjoy those.

Q: Do you prefer roads or trails?

A: Trails.  Trails.  Trails.  Or no trails at all.  Sometimes, just a desire and a direction.

Q: What is your favorite distance or race?

A: I always say the Mystic Mountain run in July is my favorite.  Great tradition, venue and picnic afterward.  This is what trail running is all about. It is also about discovering new areas.  I make a point to go running wherever I am.  Every new city or area has it’s own jewels to uncover.  Don’t be afraid to look for them.

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

A: I have a saying.  “Make time or make excuses”.  I don’t make excuses.  I run because I can.  Others are not so fortunate.  So, I don’t take the opportunity for granted and take advantage of it whenever I can.

Q: If I didn’t run I’d ………..

A: Walk.  If I didn’t walk, I’d crawl.  You’ve got to keep moving.  How else can you see the world?

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

A: Finding what is around the next bend, view wise or people wise is what it is all about.  Exploring the landscape around us and experiencing the view from each ridgeline or mountaintop are all the reward I need.

Q: What is your favorite running memory?

A: Getting to run a Skyrunning race in Zermatt, Switzerland tops the list.  The culture and pomp and circumstance that surrounds mountain running in Europe is second to none.  It was great to be part of that.

Q: Do you have a pre-race ritual?

A: I don’t know how to put this delicately.  Let’s just say it involves a little alone time and a good book.

Q: What are your running goals for the future?

A:  I’d like to continue to be healthy enough to run 3-4 marathons/ultras a year until it is no longer fun.  Hopefully that will be another 20 years. My immediate goal for 2018 is to be the first to win the “Man in Black” award at the Black Hills 100.  It’s a buffalo skull awarded to anyone who finishes all 4 different distances (30k, 50k, 50m and 100m) at their events.  I’ve technically already done 4 but one of them was the obsolete 100k so I just got the 30k to complete now.  Piece of cake, right?  Let’s worry about that keeping healthy pledge, first.

Q: Who inspires you most?

A: My uncle.  He started running marathons after he turned 60.  It made all the difference in his quality of life.  I want the same out of mine.

Q: What advice do you have for new runners?

A: Just go.  Get out there for 1 mile or whatever you can do.  The next day, do a little more.  Or a little faster.  Each improvement or new milestone will push you to the next one.  You will be amazed at what you are capable of.  It is never too late to start.