Posted on 28 February 2013.
RIF #12 Kevin Leathers
This week’s RIF Club profile is Kevin Leathers #12. Kevin is not only a runner but also a coach and has a wealth of information to share. He doesn’t just practice what he preaches though. He has run over 20 marathons including Boston, NYC, Chicago, Disney, and St. Jude and he has also been doing triathlons for over 28 years!
Check out Kevin’s profile:
Name: Kevin Leathers
RIF #: 12
Years Running: 34 years
Favorite Race Distance: This is an evolving favorite. In high school it was the mile. Now? The longer the better. All time fave? Marathon.
Favorite PR: St Jude Marathon 3:15:31
Favorite Race: Boston Marathon
Favorite Bling: A tie: Boston Marathon/ Ironman Finishers medal
Next Races: 3/2 Mississippi Trail 50 Miler, 3/17 Germantown Half Marathon, 3/31 Darwin Ultra, August: Leadville 100
What Makes You FEEL Fast?: Getting in the groove and flying though a track workout on target with that effortless flow.
FUN RUNNING QUESTIONS
Why did you start running?
I started running in high school cross country and was immediately hooked. It became a big part of my identity. We don’t run as a hobby or activity… we become runners. I’m still amused when people ask “do you still run?” Of course I do! It seems like the silliest question.
Who inspires your running and why?
The athletes I coach inspire me to be a better runner. In an effort to “walk the walk”, I have to race and train smart. Seeing runners of all shapes, sizes and talent push themselves and achieve their goals is amazing. I crave the magical feeling of reaching that finish line and hitting my goals. To be able to help others achieve that feeling… is very gratifying.
What’s the most beautiful place that you’ve run?
The Rocky Mountains. The high altitude trails around Leadville CO, the Colorado Trail, the Continental Divide Trail, Hope Pass… all simply breathtaking.
Which of your running routes makes you the happiest and why?
We are lucky in Memphis to have the Wolf River Trails and Shelby Farms with miles of singletrack, jeep road and paved greenways. I have been running some of those trails for 33 years. My best high school cross country races were in that park. I feel very at home and comforted on those trails.
What is your favorite go-to pre-race meal?
Plain pasta, red sauce, grilled chicken. Plain, simple. I don’t like to feel stuffed the night before.
What is the thing you splurge on after a race?
A cheeseburger and fries or a giant pizza!
How many pairs of running shoes do you have and which pair are your favorites?
I have a real “shoe problem” like many runners. I get great support from my local store sponsor, Breakaway Running, in addition to receiving shoes from various shoe companies to test and review. So maybe 30+? But I am currently rotating through the Hoka Stinson Evo & Hoka Bondi B for long runs and Brooks Pure Cadence for speedwork.
Why do you race?
The “test of self”. I love putting myself to the test and seeing if I have what it takes mentally and physically on race day. Whether its a 5K or a 100 miler, I get the opportunity too find out exactly what I am made of. The competitive side of racing is fun and exciting, but it really boils down to beating the voices in my head telling me to slow down or quit, and achieving my personal goals.
What was your biggest “don’t” of a race?
The biggest mistake runners make, including me, is going out too fast. This applies to every distance. There is a painful, directly proportionate price to be paid for starting out to fast.
What’s your pre-race routine?
Everything laid out/ packed the night before to reduce stress. Light breakfast, rice cake with peanut butter, banana and coffee. Always coffee.
What running moment are you most proud of?
Another tie: My marathon PR because there is such discipline, consistency and a bit of luck required to complete a marathon build injury-free. And then on race day you have to execute the plan physically and mentally. Finishing Leadville 100, but missing the belt buckle by 5 minutes. I learned a lot about myself during that 30 hours. The biggest lesson: never give up. And yes, I am going back for my buckle this year.
If you can’t run, you’re ________?
By the way, Kevin is a Road Runners Club of America – Certified Running Coach and he coaches runners from beginners going for their first 5K to advanced runners. He also does coaching for charity teams as well:
Team McGraw – National Coach – training runners for events across the country who are raising funds for the Tug McGraw Foundation (TMF).
St. Jude Heroes – National Coach – coaches runners who combine their pursuit of a personal challenge with fundraising for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
You can check out more info about Kevin at his website or Facebook page listed at the top of his profile. I always enjoy reading his blog posts about his races because he goes into detail about what went right and what didn’t. It’s interesting to see his side of it since he’s a coach as well as a runner. But I had no idea he was harboring such a big “shoe problem” or that he is grumpy when he doesn’t run! I guess we can forgive him for these quirks considering all the great work he does with his coaching, especially the charity coaching, right?
Thanks for sharing Kevin and good luck at the Mississippi Trail 50! Run It Fast!
If you’d like to join Run It Fast – The Club or would like more information about it, please click this link:
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[All photos submitted by Kevin Leathers, Naresh Kumar, and Joshua Holmes]