Tim Doran

Describe your experience with the Equinox.  Have you participated in the full marathon, the relay, and/or the ultra?  How many times?

I’ve never done the ultra.  I’ve done the Equinox 13 times.  I did the relay once, the last leg.

The idea of running distance is relatively new in the last 12 years.  I walked the Equinox first because it was a great community thing, and I thought, how cool that people do this.  How do people run 26 miles?  The first Equinox, I only walked; the second one, I ran.  I went to Beaver Sports the night before, bought a pair of New Balance shoes, and ran in them at the race.  I finished it in 5:59.  Then I looked at my walking time, which was 6 hours 12 minutes, and I thought, only 13 minutes faster?  Was it worth it?  I thought it was cool, but it took me 20 years to run it again!  Except for the year my dad died, I’ve run it every year since.

When do you start training for this race?  How much of the course itself do you incorporate into your training?  How often do you incorporate the Dome into your training?

Training is not my thing.  I just go out and enjoy running, so I don’t train for it. Training and Tim Doran don’t connect!

What are your key workouts in preparation for this race?

Going out and having fun!

What’s your favorite thing about this race?

I love the start – watching the crowd of people cross that field and go up that hill.  The colors going across that field, the energy there, the sun rising… That is so neat.  And when you come in at the finish, people are there and they’re cheering you on, no matter how long it takes you.

Also, the people along the course.

What’s your favorite part of the course? Your least favorite part?

The least favorite, because it’s so challenging is where you start up Ester Dome.

I love the first third of the course, and what I call the Golden Mile, where you come down off the chute and wind your way through the woods.

Describe the best moment you’ve experienced during this race. Describe the worst.

I actually don’t have a least favorite moment.  I’ve enjoyed each one, or I’ve adjusted to make sure I’ve enjoyed each one.  If I walk, that’s okay.  If I’m running, I don’t worry about the time.  It doesn’t have to be a PR.

Probably one of my favorite moments is in retrospect.  A couple of races ago, I was coming in to the chute at the finish, and people were cheering and yelling.  I was thinking, wow, this is so cool!  I was just about to cross the finish line, and this young teenager got ahead of me.  And I thought they were all cheering  just for me!  I didn’t know anybody was behind me.  It wasn’t until I saw the picture in the paper later on that this teenager was working so hard to catch me.  It was beautiful!  When I look at that picture, I see he had to work hard. He was a lot younger than me, but he had to work hard.  I was able to pat him on the back in good sportsmanship! 

Do you consider yourself a competitive runner? What are your running goals/fitness goals?

Ha ha ha!  Competitive runner probably does not describe me!  I enjoy running, and there’s a little competition within myself to push myself as far as I can.

Glenn Hackney is such a wonderful role model.  I’ve looked at him for years, and I want to keep running just like him, and I’m determined to do that. The camaraderie of the running community here is phenomenal. Plus, running gives me an opportunity to see cities while I’m traveling, and enjoy them without all the noise when I go out for a run at 5:00 in the morning.  I can watch San Francisco wake up!  That has given me a whole new entrée to getting to know and enjoy different places.

What’s the best advice or training tips you can share with others who are new to this race?

Really enjoy it, and enjoy it for what it is on that given day.  Things might not go exactly as you hoped, but things may go better than you hoped.  I’ve had that happen to me.  My PR was the same year I had open heart surgery in January.  I was just out to see how I’d do, and if felt good.

Have you made any big training errors, or race day flubs that adversely affected your enjoyment or time in this race?

I probably have!  But I think what has made the Equinox so enjoyable for me is I shift gears when I need to.  I might have pushed it a little too hard in one race, so my legs were tired when I hit mile 21/22, and I needed to shift gears.  At first, I was really bummed about it.  I started walking and thought maybe I could still run, but if I finished, I would finish injured. So I decided it was a beautiful day for a walk, and I finished it by walking, and I enjoyed it.

Any plans on participating in the Equinox this year? This race has been described as one of the most grueling marathons in the country!  What keeps you motivated to participate in this event?

I plan to do it, but I will not run the whole thing this year.   I will probably run the first third, and walk/run/hike the rest of the race to the finish.  

The camaraderie and the community spirit.  The thing that always crosses my mind is that people are sharing their backyards with us, and that is a motivator for me.  I love going through and thanking them.  And it’s a beautiful course!

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