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ben smiling in front of a creek

Ben J.

Tell us a little about yourself (kids, married, job)?
My name is Ben Jones. I’m 54, married to Kimberly, and father to three children, Abby 21, Jon 19, and Dylan 16. I work as a fundraiser for a think tank, The Christensen Institute.

When and why did you start running?
I ran cross country in high school, and during, and for decades after, had a love hate relationship with running, due to a constant cycle of progress, followed by overtraining and injury. For years, running remained my primary form of meditation, and I had a Siberian/Malamute mix who forced me to keep training, even during the winter. In 2004 though, I tore my Achilles, and had difficulty walking, let alone running. In 2012, I read “Born to run” at the urging of a co-worker, and slowly started running again with a forefoot strike, and progressed to doing a few miles a couple times a week. In 2019, I got a Garmin, and entered into a boom and bust cycle of training again – following various training plans based on an algorithm that didn’t factor in my exuberance to pretend I was 30 years younger and 50 pounds lighter. I started working with Coach Chandra in 2021, and have refocused on just being able to enjoy running for running’s sake, rather than chasing some impossible dream.

What keeps you motivated to train?
I love being out in the woods. And with a busy family and busy work and busy busy busy in general, it’s my me time.

What are your hobbies outside of running?
I garden, hike, backpack and volunteer with the Sierra Club..

What is your favorite race?
For nostalgia’s sake, Steamboat Classic 15k in Peoria Illinois. But I plan to do Bear Brook half-marathon, and maybe the marathon, every year after completing the half this recent September.

What is your bucket list event?
My bucket list event is to be able to hike Mount Washington with my grandchildren. But I do want to get out and do Steamboat at least one more time.

What is the funniest thing to happen to you during a race?
When I ran the Philadelphia marathon in 2001, my running partner and I were doing Galloway’s run/walk method, and some true macho patriot, brandishing a U.S. flag during the race, kept yelling at us to keep running. I know he meant to be encouraging, but it was just so over the top.

What is your proudest race moment?
Probably talking my legs out of cramping during the Bear Brook Half in September 2023 when I hit mile 13.1 with no finish line in sight (part of their giddyup is that the distance is never exactly what it’s billed – the race shirt says “What does your GPS say?”).

What is the one thing you wish you knew when you first started running?
Heel strikes are just terrible, at least for my running body.

What is your best piece of advice for new runners?
Don’t worry about your performance. Focus on the journey, and let that determine where you end up going.

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