Ordinary Marathoner Q&A

I’m super excited to post my first Q&A on DFLrunner. Scott and I connected on Twitter. He cracked me up when he DM’ed me “(I almost DFL’d once – pushed over an 8 year old to avoid it)”. I needed to hear the full story, and he was kind enough to oblige.


screen-shot-2017-02-14-at-6-49-40-amName: Scott
Hometown: E Longmeadow, MA
Almost DFL’d at: Snowstorm Classic 5k, Forest Park, MA
Official Time: 34:11
Race director/organizer: Greater Springfield Harriers

What made you want to run this particular race?
I had never run a race before. I started training two months before the race, and at the time could barely run a quarter-mile. After a while I wanted to test myself, but it was the middle of winter. I just started Googling and found this race, which is part of a local “Winter Series.” I wasn’t looking for anything specific – just 3.1 miles of road. There aren’t many bells and whistles at this race other than some donuts and coffee. But that was all I needed.

How many races had you run before this one?
I had never run a race before. This was my very first.

How did you train for it? 
I got up early in the morning and got on the exercise bike before work. Running on the treadmill was pretty useless since I couldn’t run very far. After a month, I had lost some weight and was able to run a full mile. I would do the bike during the week – usually 2x a day for 45mins-1 hour each time.

Then on the weekends I’d test myself by running on the treadmill to see how far I could go, trying to push a little further each time. When I was closing in three miles I decided it was time to try my hand at a 5k.

Did everything go as planned on race day?
Actually, the race went pretty much as planned. I had no expectation of speed or time. Most of the people there were seasoned runners – who else would get up early on a frigid Saturday in February for a 5k?

The only one I was competing with was myself. My goal was to finish without walking. I didn’t care what place I came in.

Did you ever consider quitting?
Never once considered quitting. It had to be done. I had a good handle on my limitations in terms of distance. If it was a 10k or a half-marathon, things would have been different. But a 5k… no problem.

Rumor has it that you pushed an 8 year old over to avoid the DFL… What really happened that day?
Well… I was in the back of the pack, of course. I was supposed to go to the race with my neighbor Alex (who is in great shape) and his nephew Dimitry. Alex was sick on race day, so it was me and Dimitry, who I believe was 16 at the time and in great shape as well. Shirking selfishness, Dimitry ran with me most of the way – except for the 2-3 minutes where he saw friends of his playing basketball in the park, and decided he’d go shoot hoops (this really happened).

There was also a father/son running the race, and they would run a bit and then walk a bit. Run a bit, then walk a bit. Runners know “that guy” in the race who passes you, then you pass him, then he passes you. This was these two. Towards the end of the race there was a steep downhill. I picked up some pretty good speed on the descent and figured I had seen the last of that little kid. But the last 100 yards or so was a bit of a gradual upslope, and I had to fight to get up it.

With the finish line in sight, what happened next? A little 8 year-old flew by me at top speed, finishing ahead of me. I considered pushing him, tripping him, or throwing him in the nearby lake, but I think his dad would have gotten mad.

You didn’t officially DFL. How many people finished behind you?
I think three people finished behind me. Two of them walked the whole race. The third was Dimitry, who politely let me finish ahead of him even after spending a few minutes playing basketball during the race.

What would you say to someone who feels like quitting mid-race (not because they’re injured, but because they’re discouraged or hurting)?
Quitting sucks. Race-day mindset is something that needs to be practiced and considered before race day.

  • What are the motivations you’re going to draw upon when the pain gets bad?
  • What is your plan to handle adversity?
  • Are you going to slow down?
  • Are you going to push on?

I think if you have a plan, it’s easier to face the pain. For me, sometimes I just need to slow down or even walk a bit if it’s really bad. But keep pushing forward. Usually the pain will subside enough for you to continue on. Eventually, you’ll finish.

Would you run this race again? 
I would. These races occur every week in the park during winter – they alternate 5k’s and 10k’s and they only charge five bucks. I have never gone back to run one – I’m not a big fan of cold weather, and now I usually do longer runs on weekends. But it is definitely a great option to have.

What do you wish you knew going into the race?
The course was very hilly, and I hadn’t really practiced a lot on hills. They really did a number on me. The race begins going up a really short but super-steep hill, and it took me a while to get my breath back after finally getting up it.

Do you have another race coming up?
I do… I’m running the Ft. Lauderdale A1A Marathon in two weeks. I’ve come a long way since having an 8-year old beat me in a 5k.


So now we have the full story of the time the Ordinary Marathoner was tempted to push over an 8 year old, but didn’t. I’m sure a lot of runners out there have fought similar urges on race day! I think Scott’s time for his first 5K is actually pretty impressive; I know mine was over 45 minutes.

If you want to connect with the Ordinary Marathoner online, check out: 

Website: www.ordinarymarathoner.com

Facebook:  www.facebook.com/OrdinaryMarathoner

Twitter: @Ordmarathoner

Find his podcast at ordinarymarathoner.com or on Stitcher, TuneIn, or iTunes.

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