Monday, January 22, 2018

Meet Kentucky & Masters Runner - Will Rivera

To further let you know about what a great running community we have here in Kentucky, and surrounding states, this weeks interview is with local running store owner, the Running Soles in Elizabethtown, and ultra runner  - well he runs all distances - Will Rivera.  I met Will a few years ago when I was starting to get back into running more seriously and it has been a pleasure to know him in those years.

The following are some questions I asked Will that I hope will help to let you get to know him better

Tell us a little about yourself not necessarily related to running: age, where born, education, area you live in, etc…..

I am 47 and was born in New York city after my parents temporarily moved to the states but then moved back to Puerto Rico at the age of five where I grew up. Right after High School, I decided to join the Army.  I completed a Bachelors Degree in Leadership Management and Human Resources from the University of Louisville and now live in Rineyville, Kentucky. 

What is your profession? 

I served honorably for over 24 years and retired as a First Sergeant in the US Army. Currently, I own and operate a specialty running and walking shop in Elizabethtown, KY.

How did you start running and what prompted you to do so? 

Growing up in Puerto Rico I spent most of my time outside playing and I looked at running as something fun to do “Playing”. We didn’t have X-Country programs in HS but some of my best friends ran track and I always admired how much time they dedicated to training for track season. I joined in on some of their long training runs and immediately they noticed I had a natural ability to keep up with them. So they motivated me to keep running since there was a shortage of distance runners on the track team. I immediately fell in love with running more, especially middle distance events. My favorite events were the 800 and 1,500 meters, these were distances that required both speed and endurance and I absolutely loved it. 

How long have you been running? 

Pretty much my entire life but it was on and off, I’ll say competitively for 20 years. After completing HS and joining the Army, I didn’t run competitively for a long time. I was simply taking care of my military career but always found success and a natural ability to run well during local races where I was stationed (Typically 5K’s) and on semi-annual Physical Fitness test. It wasn’t until later in my military career that I started to get interested in longer distances and being selected for each local base Army ten miler teams. 

Did you participate in any other sports over the years? 

Growing up in Puerto Rico I pretty much participated in all kinds of team sports (Baseball, Basketball, Volleyball, etc.)  but nothing compared to running knowing I could prove myself individually and see how I could improve every time I raced a distance.

So we get an idea of where you have been at with running can you share your PR’s for: 5K, 10K marathon and any other distance you may have run in the past.  
  • 5K  - 16:20
  • 10K -  34:17
  • Half Marathon -  1:17:47
  • Marathon -  2:53:11
  • 50 Miler -  7:03
  • 100 Miler  - 16:56.

What is your most memorable race or races and share a little about at least one of them? 

Wow! So many to choose from, In a short time, I have been blessed to have completed so many amazing races; Badwater 135, Leadville, JFK 50 miler just to name a few but to the question of most memorable then hands down it goes to  Spartathlon! So much history in this race, it is an incredible journey retracing Pheidippides footsteps, and meeting so many amazing runners from all over the world!

What is your favorite distance to run and race? 

At my stage in my life it is not the speed or how fast that motivates me to keep running but more how far can my body go. I’m fascinated with the 100 Mile distance. A distance that will truly test your endurance limits and depending on which race or location the experience is always a different one. 

Do you have any long range plans? 

As long as I’m able to run I will continue to do so.

What do you like best about living and running in KY? 

Kentucky is such a beautiful place to live and run in. With so many places to visit it has a great combination of challenging places to run giving you the change in weather all year round and just enough elevation changes to keep you ready for any race around the country.

What do you struggle with most with regards to running? 

As much as I love to run and compete these days the thing I struggle the most is simply balancing the time need it to do both train and take care of my current busy schedule. Being a husband, father as well as managing and operating a business are enough to keep anyone busy. Adding a training regiment to compete at distances of 100 miles and longer is so hard to accomplish successfully and for me a balance to both train and take care of everything else is always a struggle. 

What do you see as a trend in running? 

Ultras! A lot more people are wanting to run longer than a marathon and that’s exciting. Also with the recent success of American distance runners (both men and women) achieving amazing results and winning more races I believe this is the beginning of getting more popular in the future. 

If you had one, well maybe two or three, things to say those that are running to encourage them what would it be?

 Be patient with running, it takes time to develop your body to adjust to running every day. Invest in proper footwear to stay healthy. Get properly fitted at a specialty running shop, Specialty shops have the personnel and expertise to help you find the shoe you need. Also invest time in learning about running form and the benefits on becoming and improving your running economy.

Do you have a website or other social media site you would like to share?

Any closing comments? 

Thanks for letting me share my story and for taking time to do this kind of information sharing.

No comments:

Post a Comment