Run It Fast – The Club Profile Mark Watson #173

RIF #173 Mark Watson

This week’s Run It Fast – The Club profile is Mark Watson #173. Mark has been running only a year and has already completed 4 marathons and 4 ultras and has one heck of a February planned! Check it out!

Meet Mark:


Name: Mark Watson
RIF #: 173
Twitter: @counselor_89    


Years Running: 1 year  (this time).  I have run in past but have a passion long distance running this time. I have always been active whether it be biking and/or gym.  
Favorite Race Distance: marathon/ 50k
Favorite PR: Trail of Fears 43 miles (10 loops)
Favorite Race: Chattanooga 7 Bridges marathon (grew up there so it was great to run in my hometown with old friends)
Favorite Bling: Mtn Mist 50k, hand painted stone plaque
Next Race:  Jackass 50k, Mercedes Marathon, New Orleans Marathon (3 weekends back to back to back).  Going to be a true test of my endurance but looking forward to it !


Why did you start running?
I joined a gym in Jackson TN in May of 2011.  In Feb 2012 some guys at the gym invited me to run in a 5k (Shamrock Shuffle at JCS).  I did it in 28:40.  A few weeks later I was asked if I wanted to run a half marathon (AJM) and ran it in 2:12.  Been hooked on distance running ever since! And I haven’t ran a ½ marathon since either.  My first marathon was 8/5/12 (Blister in the Sun in Cookeville TN). That is when I first met Josh (RIF #1) and some other RIF members. I really didn’t “plan” on getting into running like I did.  But I am definitely “all in” now.

Who inspires your running and why?
Arthur Priddy (RIF #179) and Billy Cannon (RIF #169) are who I typically run with and the camaraderie is inspiring.  Also my daughters inspire me.  They are 16 and 17 years old.  I have had them since their mother and I split up in 2001 and for the most part been a single father the whole time.  They are my biggest fans.

What is the strangest/funniest thing you’ve ever seen while running? 
I was running at night and the only light was my head lamp.  I heard hoof sounds and then suddenly saw about 8 deer right in front of me !  I scared them and they ran in all different directions (at least it sounded like they ran in all different directions). Then one brushed against me as it ran by and scared me to death !  It is funny now but at the time it was scary. Hence, the nickname “Hirsch” (German for deer).

What’s the most beautiful place that you’ve run?
Trails near Seattle, WA. Also Colorado National Monument Park (near Grand Junction).  The trails in WA were beautiful!  Ferns everywhere, huge trees all around, beautiful greenery.  Colorado was simply majestic.  The high desert mountains (although very cold) were an awesome site.

Which of your running routes makes you the happiest and why?
My favorite route in Jackson, TN are the trails at Union University.  I enjoy trail running much more than road running.  I love being out in nature away from the traffic and loudness.  I wish we had more options in this area as far as trails to run on. It definitely would have helped  get in better shape for Mtn Mist 50k !  It is pretty flat here and the long hill climbs at Mtn Mist were something I was not prepared for ! I grew up in Chattanooga, TN and was very active in the outdoors and athletically growing up.  Wish we had trails like that in West TN (of course that is impossible).

Why do you race?
I race to push myself and get faster/ stronger.  I race because there is no better feeling than knowing you left it all out there on the course.  I race for the rush it gives me and the exhilaration is like a drug to me.

Big races or small races? And why?
Large races are my least favorite because of all the people at the starting line and it is hard to get in position and get on pace initially. But I like larger races because there are so many people hanging around afterwards.  Small races are awesome especially if in my local area because I typically know so many of the entrants and the social aspect is fun.

What was your biggest “don’t” of a race?
Don’t start out too fast ! I have been guilty of this on numerous occasions.  St Jude marathon was where this cost me the most.  I went out thinking I could improve my PR by 25 min. Instead I was over my PR by 25 min by the time I finished.

What running moment are you most proud of? 
Finishing Mtn Mist 50k on 1/26/13  (by far the hardest course I have ever ran!).  There were miles of uphill climbs, even a cliff climb.  There were big rock, little rocks, lots of mud and the trail was pretty treacherous most of the way. As much as I was cussing the course, I WILL do it again next year !

Finally, Mark had this to share:
Finding this group has been inspiring to me and it has definitely helped me push myself further than I imagined I could.  Reading posts on Facebook and on twitter from RIF members is beneficial.  Also the support I receive on my posts on Facebook and twitter are awesome! There are RIF members that I have actually never met in person that offer support as if we were face to face.  No better feeling than knowing your efforts are being cheered on by others.

I went from running a 5k to a marathon in 5 months.  I have done 4 marathons, 4 ultras, and numerous 5k and 10k’s. I am registered for 2 marathons and 1 ultra in February.  I plan on doing Savage Gulf trail marathon in March.  I would do at least 2 marathons or ultras a month if I had the money! One of my goals this year is to finish a 50 mile race. I simply love running and can’t wait to see what the rest of this year holds. Yes, I am hooked and I am loving every minute of it !


Congrats to Mark for coming such a long way in such a short time! For sure what he said about having a group of supportive runners around helps make it easier to go farther and faster. Finding a group to encourage you and push you can make all the difference, not to mention it’s fun hanging out with other runners who speak your language. 🙂 Not everyone needs to have a group to push themselves but running can be such a solitary sport that it’s sometimes nice to share a run or two with other people. For those of us who can’t make group runs because of time/scheduling conflicts, the great news is that you can get that same kind of support from on-line running friends thru Twitter, Facebook and clubs like Run It Fast. Like Mark said, you may not have met in person…yet…but the support and cheers are awesome!

Thank you for sharing Mark! Good luck with the Jackson Jackass 50K this weekend and your marathons too!

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[All photos submitted by Mark Watson and Joshua Holmes]



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This post was written by:

- who has written 717 posts on Run It Fast®.

Lisa (RIF Club Member #5) has completed 27 half marathons, 13 marathons, 5 50Ks, 2 12 Hour races, and 1 100K. Her favorite races to date are the Disneyland Half Marathon, the Leading Ladies Marathon, the Bataan Memorial Death March, and the Jackson Jackass 50K. You can follow her on Twitter @runlikeacoyote

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