Friday, October 24, 2008

5 Q&As with team member Pete Stringer

I think of myself as a decent student when it comes to preparation for a race. Whether the outcome is successful or not I would hate to have had simple things go wrong (but it still does at times helas) that you can control. When I signed up with an online ultra forum earlier this year I met so many fantastic people with one common interest and love - running. As the months went by, I had the opportunity to become closely acquainted with a few members of the forum and one person really stood out - Pete Stringer. Pete, 67, an ultra veteran and a very popular figure in his own neck of the woods, Cape Cod. He is humble, low key, polite and exudes a passion for running that few have and some ever will. I have always put high stock in experience, we all are humans and the next generations are not "Superman" meaning they will not deviate much in terms of what they will endure compared to what their predessessors went through. It is true though that we do evolve a bit and we adopt new strategies that can help us. But Pete possesses invaluable experiences and I see him as important mentor for my ultra running endeavors which by the way also has a lot in common with life in general, such as pacing for example. When I finished my Pittsfield Peaks 50 miler race up in Vermont in June earlier this year, I met many truly nice ultra runners. I spoke to one of them Steve Pero, who also knew Pete. Steve said to me: "wait until you meet Pete, he's not your average 67 year old". Pete is built with arms and legs that would make most people envious. Steve also mentioned how he battled with Pete in the Vermont 100 in the late 90s where they were neck and neck pushing each others limits. When I mentioned earlier this year to Pete that I was doing a 200 mile ultra in Vermont to raise awareness for Lyme Disease Pete did not hesitate and said "I'm in". Pete who has several dear friends battling this fickle disease knows that we need to deal with this now and not later. In August I was fortunate to meet with Pete and his wonderful wife Jane in person. Pete got to meet my family and we felt like we were old friends already. Pete has a lot of friends due to his great humility. Among Pete's many ultras Leadville 100 miler is one of his absolute favorite races. A race with an average altitude of 9,000 feet in the Rockies. He has run Vermont 100 in 19 hours and change in his late 50s which is incredible. He conducts a running clinic in his own town where he grew up. Running is a way of life for him no question about it. I managed to ask Pete a few questions that might interest you all.

C: Pete, what would you tell people is the biggest misconception about ultra marathoners?
P: That we are naturally, specially endowed or gifted.

C: What is your favorite distance and surface? 50K, 50 miles, 100K or 100 miles or other?
P: Favorite distance is 50 miles and favorite surface is hard packed dirt.

C: What is your proudest ultra moment?
P: Proudest ultra moment is running 19 hours at Vermont 100 in 1998 at the age of 57 or breaking the age group (60-69) 50 mile record at the Nifty 50 in 7 hours and 50 minutes.

C: What's your strategy to tackle this 200 mile ultra marathon in Pittsfield Vermont on October 30th?
P: To go one loop with patience and then figure it out from that.

C: Why do you think raising awareness for Lyme disease is so important?
P: I have seen Lyme disease disable a good friend and feel that better awareness would have vastly increased her chances and others.

C: Thank you Pete and I will see you up in Pittsfield!

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1 comment:

ultrastevep said...

...and Carl, I will also mention that I finished ahead of Pete at the 1998 Vermont because I outwitted him and his pacer by shutting off my light on the top of the last hill after passing a horse that had a light hanging off of him. ;-)
Pete didn't care too much for that and when we were up receiving our buckles, Pete looked at me and then put me in a headlock and gave me a noogie on the top of my head ;-) Pete's great, we've been friends ever since!

Good luck to the both of you next weekend!