I’ve been asked a thousand times why I run, or how I started running. I’ve probably answered this question a thousand different ways but it always comes back around to me waiting on the porch for my Dad to get back from his morning run, so I could join him for a few laps around the block. My Dad never really pushed me to run, if anything it was quite the opposite.  Seeing as my Dad is 70 and still running strong I thought folks might be interested in his perspective on running.

  1. When did you start running?  Middle school, age 13 or 14
  2. What event did you run?  The mile
  3. How did you do? – Finished last
  4. So you kept running after middle school? Yes, the South Eugene High Ski Team ran hills to train for ski racing.  We ran hills and around Laurelwood Golf Course. 
  5. Did you run in college? I didn’t go out for college sports at U of O, but continued running regularly. I took a running class from Bill Bowerman, the track coach at the U. of O. and co-founder of Nike.
  6. Did you do any road running during those years? No, I didn’t start doing races until I finished my education.
  7. What was your first road run?  In grad school a friend invited me to run a road race. I think it was a five miler. It was a fun event. 
  8. When did you do your first marathon? We had some friends over for breakfast one morning. They were both runners. They learned that I was a runner and encouraged me to train for a marathon. I ran my first marathon–the Trail’s End Marathon in Seaside, Oregon–in 1988.
  9. How did it go? Well, I finished! And it was a PR!  My time was 4.30 and I was taken straight to the first aid tent for hypothermia after I crossed the finish line. The weather was cold during the race and I got pretty chilled.
  10. What made you decide to run another marathon?  Racing that distance was a great challenge for me. And I just thought I could do better than 4.30.
  11. Did you improve in your next marathon? Yes! I think I took about 20 minutes off my time.
  12. What is your PR for the marathon?  3:30
  13. What has been your favorite race? It is hard to say, but I really enjoyed running the Hood to Coast relay with my two sons. It was a very special time with my boys. Another race was the Columbia Classic 15k which we ran in 2001. We were going to run the race together, but I couldn’t keep up. So I told you to go on and run your own race. You finished about 15 minutes ahead of me. That seems to be the beginning of your racing career. That race has very special memories.
  14. It does for me as well! So, what keeps you going out every morning? I run because it is a lifestyle that I have adopted to keep healthy. I am a professor and spend a lot of time in the office and the classroom. Running keeps me active and helps me relax.
  15. When do you run? I am a morning runner. I go out at 5:30 AM. That way I get my run in before breakfast.
  16. What is your training schedule like now? It has changed over the years. But now I run about 15-20 miles a week–3-4 miles, 5 days a week and a six miler on Saturday.
  17. What races have you been in this year? I ran a half marathon in February and The Shamrock run 15k in March.
  18. What are you most proud of in your running career?  I am proud that all of my four children are runners. I never told them to run, but they all competed in high school and continue to run.
  19. So, you have been running for about 55-60 years with remarkable consistency. Based on your running experience, what is the advice you would offer other runners? First, I suggest that all runners take one day a week to rest and recover. No matter how important your training is, your muscles need a day each week to recover. Second, give injuries time to heal. I ran through a knee injury on a long run and suffered pain for six months. Give your injuries time to heal before continuing your training. Third, don’t let rainy weather stop you from running. Serious runners are willing to get wet. That is especially true in Oregon where we get lots of rain. It is fun to run on a rainy morning knowing that only the hearty runners are out there in the cold and wet rain.
  20. What is the best advice you have received from another runner? My friend and running mentor, Gary Classen, told me that “muscles have memory.” If you have trained for a marathon, you can run a marathon. If you have pushed through a certain distance, you can do it again.
  21. You are 70, How long do you plan to continue running?  I plan to keep running the rest of my life.
  22. What do you think about when you run? Running is both a physical exercise and a spiritual experience. I enjoy the quietness of a morning run and often use the time to pray for my family. Running is a metaphor for life. Someday I will “cross the finish line” and my race will be over. Until then, I’ll be running.
  23. Carl Laney after the Vancouver Lake 1/2 Marathon. Carl is an author, professor, backpacker, skier and runner in Portland, Oregon.

Posted May 22nd, 2018 by David Laney