|Frontrunners Rhode Island|
A big congratulations went to Tim Riker who won the very first Forerunners Race Series. From about 20 participants, he completed the most races in our 2018 series (Blackstone Boulevard Free 5K x 2 , Blessing of the Fleet 10 Miler, CVS Downtown 5K, Options Gay 5K, Narragansett Half Marathon and Cape Cod Half Marathon).
We asked Tim to tell us about his experience with running!
1. How long have you been a runner and how did you get started?
Although I was a part of the track team for two years during high school, which I ran the 400 meters and did field events such as shot put and discus throwing, I do not think I would have called myself a runner because my track coach did not teach me the skills I needed to be a lifelong runner. It wasn't until I was 23 years old when I lived in Washington, D.C., that I learned about the AIDS Marathon training and gave that a try. After realizing I could build my endurance and run longer distances, it opened up the door to the running world. I find running to be a meditative experience that gives me the mental toughness I need to thrive as a Deaf Gay man in a complex world.
2. What is your favorite race distance and why?
Although I enjoy shorter distances such as 5K and 10K races, my favorite race is the half marathon. It's just the right distance to build mental and physical resilience yet not too much as to make it difficult to condition adequately for races. Training for half marathons seems to be more realistic given my demanding schedule teaching at Brown University during the academic year. Also, I read an article advising runners that running 15-20 miles a week provides optimal health benefits while running more than 20 miles a week is excessive. I feel perfectly content with running half marathons and setting personal records whenever I can.
3. Do you have any future running goals?
Running the Boston Marathon is one of my goals on my bucket list but I need to continue improving my pace. Also, I think running 100 half marathons is something I am really aspiring to do after completing about 10 of them so far. In addition to several New England races every year, I would like to do more destination runs around the U.S. and the world. In January, I ran the Hollywood Beach Half Marathon in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida and plan to run the Wild Horse Trail Half Marathon in San Diego, California this summer. Locally, I plan to run the Mystic Half Marathon in Mystic, Connecticut this May and perhaps a few others later during the summer and fall.
4. Do you do any other sports to keep fit?
After the Pelham Half Marathon in New York during Thanksgiving weekend, my ankle and knee was injured and required me to take a break from running for a while. I have been doing mostly cross training since end of January and for the past month have been attending high intensity interval training classes at OrangeTheory Fitness which include running, rowing and exercising core muscles. Through strength training, I hope to reduce injuries once warmer weather comes around and I start training for my next half marathon. I also enjoy walking/hiking, bicycling, and kayaking when I'm not running and the weather's nice.
5. What advice would you have for any new runner?
The great thing about running is you are competing mostly with yourself and you're not just building physical stamina but strengthening your mind. Even if your first race is at a slow pace, don't worry about how fast everyone else is going and focus on that sense of accomplishment you get when you cross the finish line. Every race you do, your goal is to set a personal record and find a strategy that works for you. Also, be sure you get good advice from people on running shoes, clothing, hydration and ways to protect your nipple from being chafed during longer runs. A comfortable run makes it worthwhile!