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Get Goals: Jeff Guthrie
“When it comes to balancing family, training and work, you find time for what’s important. I also train first thing in the morning. No one wants my time at 5:30 a.m.!”
What happens when you get to your breaking point? Jeff Guthrie decided to find out for himself after his training partner of nearly a decade passed away from prostate cancer. He’s become a fan of the “tape it up and suck it up method” of racing, and is a strong believer in the power of perseverance. Three grueling stage-race ultras later, Guthrie, 59, still runs to honor his friend, but he also runs for the satisfaction of reaching his goals.
“I focus just on the end goal,” says Guthrie, who is chief sales officer at Moneris Solutions, a debit and credit payment processing company. “I visualize, thousands of times, putting the finisher’s medal around my neck and what it’s going to feel like. The visualization and the story I’m going to tell is what keeps me going. You take that sense of accomplishment through the rest of your life, and other things don’t seem as daunting.”
In addition to his ultras, Guthrie has run 40 marathons. However, he’s found the training required for road marathons to be too jarring as he gets older, and instead gravitates toward trails, hills and uneven terrain. He’s also a fan of training in less than perfect conditions.
“I look for opportunities when I’m not at my best to train my body to keep going,” says Guthrie, who is married and has two grown sons. “The reality of the world is the conditions won’t always be perfect. Sometimes you don’t eat well, sometimes you don’t sleep well and sometimes you don’t hydrate well. You have to cope.”
A 4:45 marathoner, Guthrie says he’s more of a plodder, preferring to go long instead of fast.
“I’ve never gone to a marathon to win, so I’ve never been disappointed!” Guthrie says.
He realizes that his wife and sons think he’s crazy, but they’re supportive and proud as well. For his part Guthrie admits training for ultras is a big-time commitment and is taking 2017 as a recovery year. His next big goal is running a 250K in Nairobi in 2018 to celebrate his 60th birthday.