Name: John Duffield
Hometown: I grew up at Mystic Lake and Thompson Falls
Currently Living: I’ve been living in Missoula since 1974
Miles Run Per Week: Around 55 during max weeks of usual marathon training cycle
What Age Did You Start Running? I remember feeling energetic and seeing how fast I could run up the foothills in the Beartooths as a little kid, must have been grade school. My family eventually moved to Thompson Falls so my siblings and I could all go to high school. We had some casual track practices starting in junior high, then I focused on the mile in high school – back then there was no cross country, no 3200 meters.
Why Did You Start Running? As a freshman in high school, and after my first track meet ever – which was in Plains! – I got the impression that I could break the school record in the next meet or two, and that kind of got me interested.
Favorite Race or Run: The marathon is really the race for me, and I like Boston best of all. Lot of energy, lot of interesting people running, and it’s a cool town just full of history. My favorite run is to just go out the door from our home in Upper Pattee Canyon and head back in the Sapphires. I also love running way up the Rattlesnake; Missoula is so special that we can run right from town up into wild country with a good chance (pick your season and your time of day) of seeing mountain goats, moose, and bear. So far my best day was two for three, but I’m still working on it!
Currently Training For: I’m looking forward to Boston 2016, and since I first ran Boston in 1966, this would be a 50th anniversary. Got my fingers crossed I stay healthy! Also looking forward to Missoula Marathon this summer, and likely Portland in October.
Do You Prefer Running Solo or With a Group? I like it all! Since I am blessed to have a couple of boys that also love to run, getting to head out on a long run with them is the best. But I really also enjoy just going out on my own, which is a good thing, because back in the day there weren’t really any other people running long distances in the places I lived. I had a lot of fun exploring running in high school, training really in a ridiculous way (given the only race I was running was the mile!), running longer and longer just to see how far I could go. When I was a junior in high school, John F. Kennedy was still president, and he was telling people to get in shape by walking 50 miles. That gave me the idea to go out and run 50, which I did on snowy backroads around Thompson Falls in around 1963.
Words of Wisdom: Ever since living in Norway for a year in the early 80s, I have really enjoyed cross country skiing. I like to do the OSCR 50k ski marathon every winter, and this year also did the Yellowstone rendezvous in early March, even though I was about to start my taper for Boston 2015. If you haven’t tried cross country, it is a lot of fun and a great complement to running: you’re really using your upper body so it strengthens your core, it’s a natural interval as you tend to work hard uphill and then get to recover (tuck, even) on the other side, and maybe the best is you need to really develop your balance as the key to speed is being able to glide on one ski while also poling really hard. Might even help you dodge an injury by going for a ski instead of risking a January run in crampons up the ‘snake!
Anything Else You’d Like to Add: I’m still having a lot of fun thinking about the Boston I just ran, and all the improbably funny things that happened. At about mile 16 a runner caught up and, seeing my Runner’s Edge (!) t-shirt with the Montana logo, said “Oh, you’re the one from Montana”. I happened to be wearing a Bernice’s Bakery hat, and I glanced over at him, he had on a Le Petite Outre old cyclist-style hat. We were both pretty amused by the long odds of running into each other in this moving crowd of 30,000 runners! I also later met a guy who had run most of the race with me from Stavanger, Norway, got to speak a little Norwegian and hear about his next race: somewhere in S. Africa. Lots of neat enounters like that, and just being part of such a big celebration of our sport.