Runners of the Month: May 2017

Jen and Jana Jackson (daughter and mother) are some of our favorite ladies in town. The family owns KornUtopia, the specialty popcorn boutique in Missoula, and they are always so kind in donating popcorn to our RE events. Read below to find out more.

Name: Jen / Jana

Age: 36 / 59

Hometown: Frenchtown, MT / Born in Tucson, AZ and have lived in Missoula for 20 years.

Age You Started Running/Walking/Exercising: I started running cross country my sophomore year of high school. / I started walk/running in 2011 when our daughter Jen who has been a runner since high school, talked her dad and I into listening to Jeff Galloway introduce the Galloway walk/run method and start training for the Missoula half marathon.  Since then I have been hooked.  I met some women in the group in 2012  that inspire me daily, as two of them are cancer survivors.  Since then, we meet two mornings durning the week and every Sunday rain or shine and walk/run.

What Motivates You to Get Out the Door? I run because it makes me feel better physically, but it also does wonders for me mentally. / My motivation is knowing that there are others waiting to do the same thing.  I think we all keep each other going.  I also feel great when we are done.

Do You Prefer Walking With Friends or Solo? Both. During the week I enjoy running by myself.  I don’t have to worry about how fast or slow I’m going and I can let my mind wander.  On Sundays I love going out with my mom and her friends.  They’re a good bunch to go with because they show up no matter what and they always have fun.  Rain, snow, sleet or shine, you can bet they’ll be there at 6:45am. / I prefer to go out with by buddies.

Favorite Food: Definitely pizza. / My favorite food would have to be Mexican!

Favorite Activity Outside of Exercising: I love to golf! / Outside of excersising, time spent with family is the best.

Words of Wisdom: I’ve never felt worse after a run than before I went. / It is obvious with me that it is never too late to start something new.

We always have great things to say about the staff and owners of Runner’s Edge as they make every runner & walker, of all shapes and sizes, feel empowered.     (Thanks ladies!)

Runner of the Month: April 2017

Name: Keith FichtnerHalf Marathon Finish 2013

Age: 40

Hometown:  Big Timber and living in Missoula since 2001

Age You Started Running: 35

Why Did You Start Running?  Two reasons.  1.) I was 230 pounds and in desperate need of exercise and a change of lifestyle.  2.) My sister-in-law Leslie Finch joined the Run Wild group to train for the Missoula half marathon and wanted someone to do it with her so I said I would join her. 

Biggest Difference You Noticed When You Started Running:  How quickly you can drop weight.  Also how well it has kept my asthma in check.

What Keeps You Motivated?  So many things. Number one is my wife Lynda and kids Ethan & Olivia. Wanting to be around for them long term and setting an example of being active. Courtney Babcock’s Key Running group also keeps me motivated. Her speed work classes have done wonders for me.  Other people in my life are inspiring like my brother and sister-in-law Lisa and Andy Edelstein; they started running in their late forties and early fifties. Both are now doing marathons around the world including Paris and NYC.

Best Part/Worst Part of Running:  Sometimes just the thought of going is the worst part. The best part is our location in Missoula and the running community. I enjoy running in the Rattlesnake area, on the Kim Williams trail, around the University, and down Mullan Road. I really enjoy the people including my brother-in-law, Dan Finch. It’s our time to catch up on what’s happening with our kids, work, and our wives (who are twins!). I also like the group I’ve met through Courtney Babcock’s training class – too many names to mention, but all are wonderful people and inspiring runners.

What Is Your Favorite Hobby? Probably a tie right now between running and golf.

Words of Wisdom: You’re never too old or too heavy to start running.  Take it one day and one step at a time – the hardest part is day one.

Runner/Walker of the Month: March 2017

Jane & Frank are part of the new walking group that meets at the Runners Edge under leader John Pitcairn. They’re a pleasure to be around and have committed to make health a central part of their lifestyle. Thank you, Frank & Jane, for being a part of our community! For more info on the walking group, please click HEREFrankandJanehalf.201307.

Name: Jane Kisselbach / Frank Kisselbach

Age: 75 / 75

Hometown: Missoula, Montana. We moved from Cherry Hill, NJ 13 years ago.

Age You Started Running/Walking/Exercising: Always exercised to some degree, but never trained or entered races until age 62. / I was 16 when I earned my Hiking merit badge in Boy Scouts. Very little walking/exercising until we moved to Missoula in 2013 (age 62).

What Motivates You to Get Out the Door? We have 4 grandchildren (ages 5-9) and I don’t ever want to tell them I can’t do something they want me to do. The other motivator is being part of the Youth Homes Run for Kids Team each year and helping the kids have a better life. / Our Missoula peers and Jane.

Do You Prefer Walking With Friends or Solo? With friends / With friends

Favorite Food: Tortilla chips or any other salty snack. / Scrapple and eggs or corned beef hash and eggs

Favorite Activity Outside of Exercising: Attending rock concerts. I’m a rock concert junkie. Def Leppard rules!! / Active in Boy Scouts of America (50 year involvement). I am also an amateur radio operator (Ham).

Words of Wisdom: Getting older is mandatory; growing up is optional and I choose to never grow up. / Be prepared (Boy Scout Motto). I wasn’t prepared for a temperature in the low 40’s, rain, and strong wind when walking the Portland Marathon in October 2016. I got pulled around mile 17 with hypothermia.

Anything Else You’d Like to Add: “Participating in RWM walking training classes over the years has been wonderful. We’ve learned a lot and made many friends in these groups. I would never have been able to complete a full marathon (Portland Marathon in October 2016) if not for the support and encouragement from these groups. Doing a full marathon would have remained a bucket list item for me forever”. -Jane

Runner of the Month: February 2017

Name: Amelia Hagen-Dillon

Age: 30

Hometown: Middlesex, VT. I came to Montana for a summer job in 2007 and lived in Missoula since 2009.

Why Did You Start Running? (and Why Do You Continue?): I started running my senior year in high school. I was having a rough year and one of my teachers was a marathon runner and suggested I train for a half marathon with her. Completing that race I felt so strong and empowered. Since then running has been my most valuable coping skill for dealing with the ups and downs in life. I ran one season of track in college but I didn’t love the structure or competition. Mostly I just like to get out on the trails every day and if I feel good I go faster and if I don’t feel great I walk! When my husband Jamie and I started Cairn Cartographics in 2010 we started spending our summers GPS-ing trails. At first we were mostly hiking but I missed running in the summer so I started throwing more runs into the mix. Since we transitioned to me doing the majority of the fieldwork by myself in 2015 I mostly run* with some backpacking thrown in. unnamed-1

*I’ve really fallen in love with moving as quickly and efficiently as possible through the landscape – I call it running but there is a lot of hiking involved!

Group Runs or Solo Runs? I do most of my running with my dog Piper. It doesn’t matter if we are going on a three mile jog around the neighborhood and it’s sleeting or a twenty mile day in the mountains, Piper is always ready and excited. I try to embody her example of enthusiasm every day. I also love running with human friends. It took me a really long time to feel like I had a community and good friends in Missoula. When I look back, one of the main turning points was joining the RWM marathon training class in 2013. This led to other group runs (on trails!) and now I have a solid group of friends I can count on to be up for a running adventure.

Favorite Race or Run: How to pick a favorite! I loved running the trails in the Pintlers when I was working on that map; there are so many beautiful ridge lines to explore! For races I love the Bridger Ridge Run and Runner’s Edge’s Eleven Miles to Paradise. The trails in Missoula are like good friends – I feel like I have to go check in with the ones I haven’t seen in a while.

Favorite Food Pre-Run & Post-Run: Pre run: coffee and a ProBar before a big run. I’m pretty slow in the morning so something I don’t have to prepare is good! Post run: Burger and a beer. If I have a long drive home after a run I leave a bag of Barbaras Jalapeño Cheese puffs and ginger ale in the car for the drive home from the trailhead.

What’s Your Favorite Hobby? I love to read – news, essays, novels, everything. I also love cooking and messing around in my garden.

Miles Run Per Week: This time of year with this weather 20-25. I’ve been spending a lot more time on skis than in running shoes lately! In the summer during field work season it gets up to 50-60.

Currently Training For: Summer! Not sure where I’ll be working yet this summer but it will definitely include a lot of time of the trails. I also like to sign up for at least one 20-30 mile race every summer. I’m not very competitive with but I do like having a goal to work towards. I haven’t decided on a race for 2017 yet so I’m open to suggestions!

Words of Wisdom: It is a privilege to choose the way you suffer. I remind myself this all the time when days get long and things start to hurt.

Anything Else You’d Like To Add: I feel so lucky to live in a place with such a wonderful community of inspiring and adventurous runners. Thank you Missoula!

Runner of the Month: January 2017

Babak is one of those runners in Missoula that sometimes flies under the radar. But what an amazing guy. He’s not only passionate about this sport, but is positive, friendly, and makes everyone feel welcome. Read on to find out more about Babak and his recent win at the infamously famous “Big’s Backyard Ultra” where he won after running 29 laps that were 4+ miles loops.  babak1

Name: Babak Rastgoufard

Age: 43

Hometown: Cleveland, Ohio

Age You Started Running: I was probably around 27 when I started running on a semi-regular basis, but at that time running wasn’t something I did very consistently. It took several years and was a slow evolution before running became a normal part of my life.

Miles Run Per Week: It varies quite a bit. In the summer, I might top out around 60 miles.

Favorite Hobby: Running and baking.

Do You Prefer to Train Solo or With a Group? Both. It’s good to mix things up.

Race Distance Of Choice: 50 miles or 100k

Why Did You Start Running: In 2001, I decided I wanted to try running a marathon. Before that, I would run off and on, but probably never more than 4 miles at a time. I came up with a plan and had fun at that marathon, which was on an old towpath between Cleveland and Akron. It didn’t take long to realize that I preferred running on trails, and so when I moved to Missoula in 2009, running became a good way to explore new areas, or even see the same trail change from week to week, season to season.

Favorite Run: Up the front of Mount Sentinel and down Smoker-Jumper. I especially like Smoker-Jumper since the trees and plants change so much from season to season and even from the top, where it’s slightly cooler, to the bottom.

Favorite Food Pre-Race & Post-Race: (1) Pre-race: dates and almonds the morning of a race. (2) Post-race: a beer and some cookies or cake are always a nice way to finish a day.

Words of Wisdom: From Ed Anacker, “To finish is to win”.

Tell us about “Big’s Backyard Ultra”: For those who aren’t familiar with the race, it’s a pretty simple format. Starting at 7am, you have one hour to finish a 4.166667 mile loop. Those who finish in under hour then run another loop at 8am, and then at 9am, and so on, until there’s only one runner left. If you don’t finish within an hour, or aren’t at the starting line at the top of the hour, you’re out. I told a few people about it and most said it sounded like torture or very boring. However, I was really drawn to the idea because it presents a huge mental challenge. For starters, you don’t even know how long, or many loops, you need to run. Also, at other races, the challenge likely is going to be the course itself and/or the other runners in your age group, or at your pace. With Big’s though, the loop is fairly moderate — it has a few ups and downs, but is very runnable. Also, it makes zero difference if you finish the loop in 29 minutes or 59 minutes — at the end of each loop, everyone who finishes in under an hour is tied for first place. So, the challenge really is internal, more so than any other race. My goal was to find an easy pace and, more than anything else, stick with that pace and be consistent with each loop. That’s what I did and, somehow, after 29 laps I was the last man standing. Everyone who finished at least one loop got a small medal that said, “I tried.” I got the same medal, except mine said, “I survived.”

Runner of the Month: December 2016

Name: Marlys Gillenmarlys-gillen

Age: 59

Hometown: Olivia, Minnesota

Age You Started Running: 54

What Motivates You: Trying to beat my previous best!

Favorite Movie: Eddy the Eagle

Favorite Thing to Eat Pre-Run: Coffee and Toast

Favorite Thing to Eat Post-Run: Fruit and Yogurt

Currently Training for: Bloomsday (May); Missoula Half-Marathon (July)

Favorite Race or Run: In state – Bitterroot Trail Run 5 Miler (2016); Out of state – World’s Fastest 5k (Carlsbad, CA 2014)

Favorite Hobby: Reading Autobiographies

Why did you start running? I started running for health reasons. I was hit by a snowmobile 40 years ago when I was 14 and at the time never realized how that would impact the rest of my life with chronic foot pain. About eight years ago I was told by an orthopedic doctor that I would need full foot reconstructive surgery and not to do anything high impact as it could rupture my Achilles. However, I refused to have surgery and after trying other treatments was encouraged by my brother to start running (which I wasn’t supposed to do). First a block, then around the block, a mile and then two, three and four. Up and down the M and hills around Missoula and three half-marathons later my foot pain was subsiding. Running was stretching my Achilles, increasing my vertical flexibility, building muscles and giving me the mobility in my foot I hadn’t had for years and at the same time lowering my blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Although I still have arthritis in those joints and bone spurs my doctor encourages me to keep moving. I will eventually need to have the bone spurs removed and the joints fused in my foot but for now I’m enjoying every running day I have!

Anything else you’d like to add: Never stop believing in yourself and once you finally realize you’re a runner pass on your story, inspiration and encouragement to other new runners. And I would like to give a shout out to my brother Roger Schultes for encouraging me to start running, Mary Pat Malerk who encouraged me as a beginner and Jenny Newton who makes me faster!

Words of Wisdom: As you get older eat less, move more!