Runner Spotlight: Dean Gartland

Left: Dean’s first marathon at age 50. (Kentucky Derby Festival Marathon, 2008)  Right: Dean’s most recent marathon at the age of 60. (Boston Marathon, 2018)

Left: Dean’s first marathon at age 50. (Kentucky Derby Festival Marathon, 2008)

Right: Dean’s most recent marathon at the age of 60. (Boston Marathon, 2018)

A bit about Dean:

I started back to running in 2007 after a 15 year layoff. I had just gotten bored and started to party instead. I got up to somewhere around 190 lbs and with the encouragement of my daughter I started back to running so we could run the mini in 2007. What a shock it was to me to see how out of shape I had become in just 15 years lol. 

After finishing the mini I made the remark that the following year I would be 50 years old and I (for some reason) thought it would be a good idea to run my first marathon.  

Knowing that I was not smart enough to know how to train for a marathon I decided to go to the local Fleet Feet store and join a running group. It was there that I met Camille, the famous Camille that I remembered from my earlier running days who would win the triple crown races.  She pointed me to a group of guys in the corner suggesting that I run with them. 

They were going to do hill repeats that night and said I could join them. Me not knowing what a hill repeat was, thought that with all of the hills I've run and 2 of the 3 guys were older than I was this would be fun, so off we went. After 4 repeats we ran a few more miles then back to the store where I made arrangements to meet them for their next run on Saturday. They all would also be picking up age group awards from a race they had ran earlier that week. This was very intimidating to me since I had never won an age group award in the 7 years I had run before my layoff.

The next morning after those hill repeats I was so sore I could hardly walk. I then knew I was with a group that would challenge me.

My first race after training with these guys I won a third place age group award. That is what stoked my fire of competition again.

Now here it is 11 years and 36 marathons later. I just completed my 10th consecutive Boston marathon and my newest goal is to place in the top three in my age group in Boston. This could have never happened without Camille pointing me to the right group for me and those guys never letting up on me. Things were never easy.  Regardless of weather, we met and got in our run.

Favorite distance:

My favorite running distance is of course the marathon.  I have probably run more of the 26.2 distances than any other distance.  

Do you have any running advice you'd like to offer?:

Start off slow. After running for a while I felt invincible. I felt that regardless what I ran I could never get injured. Rest is as important as any long run or speed work. My favorite thing that I've learned is "stress the body through training then rest it for recovery ". You can't skip one and achieve your goal.

Run with a group of at all possible. It makes running a lot more enjoyable and holds you accountable for getting out and getting your run in.

Why do you like running River City Races events?:

 I love running into running friends and meeting other local runners.  Besides it was one of these races that I got my first age group award.

Anything else you'd like to share?:

If you run you are a runner. Regardless of how fast or how slow you are still a runner. Some of the people that inspire me the most are walkers and those people that are out there running for the pure joy of it.  I've met the nicest people I know through running.  Through a blog site that Runners World used to have up I've met friends from California, West Virginia, Minnesota,  Michigan, and even as far away as Italy. These people have opened up their houses for me when I've been there to race. Two different people let me stay with them in California when I ran the Surf City marathon in 2012 and 2014.