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Jon Sinclair — May, 2019
Jon Sinclair is known as the Runner's World ‘King of the Rankings’ for his numerous road racing victories and top finishes during the 1980s and early 1990s. His major victories include the Virginia Ten-Mile (1982, 87, 88, 91, 93), Peachtree 10k (1982), Spokane Bloomsday 12k (1983, 86), Cherry Blossom Ten-Mile (1987), Utica Boilermaker 15k (1989), Deseret News 10k (1989, 90, 91), Portland Spring Classic (1986, 87), Parkersburg Half Marathon (1987, 91), Elby’s 20k (1985) and Tulsa Run 15k (1988). He won the 1981 Columbus (Ohio) Marathon in his personal best time of 2:13:29. Jon was a member of the 1980 and 1982 U.S. World Cross Country teams, the former winning the team Silver Medal. Sinclair was 1980 U.S. Cross Country champion, 1984 U.S. 10,000-meter champ and a 1984 Olympic Trials 5,000-meter finalist. He is a 1979 graduate of Colorado State University and a two-time NCAA All-American with a 1978 NCAA Cross Country Championships ninth place and a 1979 NCAA Indoor Championships mile fifth place. Jon also finished seventh in the 1979 NCAA Outdoor Championships 5,000 meters. He graduated from Arvada West (Colorado) High School in 1975, was undefeated on the track his junior and senior years and won Colorado State Championships in the mile (1974) and two-mile (1975). Jon was second at the 1974 State Cross Country Championships and a State Team Champion in XC (1974) and track (1975). His personal best times include: 1,500 meters – 3:45.6; 5k - 13:35; 8k -22:40; 10k - 28:16; 12k - 34:19; 15k - 43:14; 10-Mile – 46:35; 20k – 58:59; Half Marathon - 1:01:47 and Marathon - 2:13:29. Jon is a member of the Colorado State Athletics Hall of Fame (1989), the Road Runners Clubs of America HOF (1997), Arvada West High School HOF (2014) and Colorado Running HOF (2014). Sinclair has coached individual runners online for over twenty-five years and currently does so with his wife, marathon great Kim Jones, and with Kent Oglesby, at Jon and Kent wrote ‘Training for Peak Performance,’ which was published in 2003. He resides in Lafayette, Colorado with his wife, Kim. Jon was extremely generous to spend nearly two and a half hours on the telephone for this interview in the spring of 2019.
GCR: Jon, when you started running back in the 1970s during the running boom like I did, could you have imagined being a part of the running community for over four decades as student-athlete, professional runner, coach, author and husband of a top professional athlete for all these years? When you look back, how amazing is this and how rewarding has it been to have running as such a big part of your life?
JS It's exactly right - we’re the same age and we grew up in the same type of running culture at the time. There was no professional running. Nobody thought of running as being a profession and we sort of invented that. A large group of us in the early 1980s inverted professional road racing. The idea when I started when I was fifteen years old that I could go somewhere with that just didn’t exist.
GCR: Some athletes are remembered for a specific victory or medal performance while others come to mind for longevity, consistency and sustained excellence. What are the main reasons behind your ability to be in that latter group for at least fifteen years and to win major races and place high while so many other top runners had a shorter life span at or near the top?
JS I don’t really know what components there were in my running that allowed that. There are probably numerous factors. One, I had excellent coaching from the very beginning. I had a great high school coach. I had good college coaching that allowed me to develop. Then, as a professional, I had two really, good solid coaches and an agent, Creigh Kelley, who was sort of my buddy, my pal and my co-pilot for all those years. I think that was a key component. Another thing was I lived in an area in northern Colorado in Fort Collins that allowed for great training nine months out of the year. The other three months I went to New Zealand and I trained down there. I was always training in good conditions and I wasn’t fighting bad weather for the most part. That helped a lot. I had good shoe company support, so I had good shoes and equipment all the time. When I’ve been asked that question before, the first thing that comes to mind is that I love to run. I can go put the door every day and, though not every day was great, I enjoyed the training. For me it was never a chore. It was something I did every day, I loved to do it and I had people to run with that were great training partners. There was a daily joy in it and that may be the most important time. For whatever reasons, my professional career lasted fifteen years which, as you pointed out was extraordinarily long.
GCR: Since you mentioned the importance of your coaches, what were some of the main points you learned from you high school coach Lee Courkamp?
JS My high school coach, Lee Courkamp, was a great runner himself. He had a good high school career, a good college career, and then started coaching in high school. He incorporated a lot of things at the time in the early 1970s that were strange. He had us do yoga stretches. This was before Runners World and you couldn’t find an article on stretching anywhere. Bob Anderson wrote a great book called ‘Stretching’ but that came out in the late 1970s or early 1980s. Prior to that stretching wasn’t a big deal. Lee had us doing yoga stretches. We did a Lydiard influenced period of base building in the off season. He didn’t incorporate a whole lot of speed early. He didn’t over race us. All those things that are associated with bad high school coaching, he didn’t do any of that. He was very professional about what he did. He loved running. There was a great team spirit. There was always a strong ethic of working together. He was a great beginning. I’ve told him ‘thank you’ so many times because it was his influence early on that got me to love running and then I earned a college scholarship to Colorado State University.
GCR: What were main points you picked up from your two college coaches at CSU, Del Hessell and Jerry Quiller, that positively impacted your running career?
JS At CSU Del Hessell coached me for one year and Del taught me how to run hard. I went from a hard-working, approachable program in high school to being a freshman and running ninety to a hundred miles a week with long runs of twenty or twenty-two miles in cross country season. Del had great enthusiasm for the sport. He loved it and that carried on the enthusiasm I had in high school. Then Jerry Quiller came in as coach and he was very different. Jerry was much more of a laissez-faire type of coach. He was a motivator and very likeable person. I enjoyed running for Jerry. He taught me a lot of independence, how to coach myself and how to motivate myself because he wasn’t always there for that kind of activity. He sort of left us on our own to figure things out for ourselves. He was always there to assist. He was a great administrator. He wasn’t necessarily a hands-on coach for me. So, I learned a lot from Jerry in that essence. He put me in a lot of situations where I needed to do quite a bit of self-coaching, which was good. I went through my college years learning a lot from Jerry and his assistants.
GCR: After college how did CSU women's coach Damian Koch and then John Davies help you to continue your growth as a runner in the professional ranks?
JS Right out of college, Damian Koch, a good friend coached me. Damian is a real student of sport, having been a good runner himself. Damian loved the sport, loved coaching and loved being part of it. Colorado State University used to get a technical running journal each month that was published by the Soviets. Damian must have been the one who requested it because he was the only one who checked it out of the CSU library. He would keep up with the latest training people were doing all over the world. Again, he loved the sport and was a great coach who helped me to transition to the next level as a professional. Then I started working with John Davies, a great New Zealand runner who got an Olympic Bronze Medal at 1,500 meters at Tokyo in 1964. I think of John every day to this day. He died of skin cancer quite a while ago. John was a great coach, an athletes’ coach. He was a Lydiard athlete and so I was coached again as a Lydiard athlete. My coaching philosophy comes from John and, like I said, there isn’t a day that I don’t think about the guy. He was a great partner and certainly taught me about how to coach athletes and to deal with people on that level.
GCR: Speaking of partners, your wife, Kim Jones was a top distance runner and a podium finisher multiple times in major marathons. Can you explain the plusses of having a wife who can relate to you since you both were elite runners and then the positive impact that sharing running has had on your many years of marriage?
JS Kim and I got together in our early forties. We were both divorced, so we had finished our elite careers. We both discussed this next point a lot and I’m not sure either one of us would have done well with the other when we were running at our peak. Professional running is absorbing. We enjoy running together now. I don’t do a lot of training with Kim, but we travel to races together. We try to be supportive of each other and we occasionally enjoy doing runs together. We share so much experience together. Those years when she was racing from the late 1980s and through the 1990s, we were both active professionally, so we had many of the same friends. That is a very rewarding part of our marriage that we shared so much of the same history and know so many of the same people. She had many of the same experiences I did when we both were younger.
GCR: Kent Oglesby and you founded Anaerobic Management, an online coaching company, have been coaching since the 1990s and Kim joined you several years later. What is the challenge of coaching and helping others of various talent levels set and achieve goals versus doing it for yourself with your own talent and dedication, which was at a higher level than most athletes you coached?
JS Kent and I put together the first website that we could find for online coaching. There were websites in the mid-1990s that advertised for local coaching. But no one was coaching via the internet. I think we were the first real online coaches. We put together a website and started working with people from all over. Kim started in 2001 or 2002 with us. At the time I remember discussing with Kent how we had thought about bringing other people into what we were doing. We both agreed that the number one skill for what we were doing was the ability to communicate via e-mail. We had to be good writers because if we couldn’t express ourselves, then we couldn’t get ideas across to the runners we were trying to coach. It’s unlike face-to-face coaching because we must be able to communicate that way. And Kim has exceptional writing skills. When you read her book, you get that feeling immediately that she is an excellent storyteller and a very good writer. She is also extremely knowledgeable. Her coach, Benji Durden, had done a great job with helping her learn the sport and she is an excellent coach herself. She has the knowledge, the skill and the ability to communicate. So, the three of us have been coaching together since then. It’s difficult at times to do the long-distance coaching. For example, I was coaching a woman named Brenda Denehy, who was living in Florida who went to the Sydney Olympics in 2000 and made it to the semifinals. We worked together for four years prior to that and almost all of it was via e-mail. So, I’m convinced that people can be coached that way and can be successful even at that level. We coach people from just off the coach to those who are very competitive. We work with many good age group runners. It can be done. It takes lots of communication and skill from the athlete. They must be able to execute workouts. In some ways it is more effective than face-to-face coaching because we work with runners daily. A face-to-face coach may see an athlete once a week. I regularly get e-mails from runners two or three times a day about what they’re doing and how they’re doing. There is a lot of communication and back-and-forth that may be better than face-to-face coaching from somebody locally.
GCR: We will explore some of your coaching philosophies later in this interview but, if people are interested in being coached by your team, what should they do?
JS The first thing is to go to our website, At the time when Kent and I were looking into what name to choose and what we were going to do with the website, the word ‘aerobic’ was popular everywhere. I kind of thought that I liked the idea of anaerobic management because distance running is about aerobic strength and anaerobic management. That became a motto. I went to a registry and found out that ‘.com’ was taken and, at the time there were only ‘.net’ and ‘.org’ available as choices. We didn’t fit with a nonprofit so the only one that fit was ‘.net.’ If someone goes to the website, there is a questionnaire, information about what we do and how long we have been doing it, cost and other information.
GCR: Let’s explore some of your running background. First, you made two World Championship Cross Country teams, in 1980 and in 1982. How thrilling was it to be a teammate of guys like Craig Virgin, who won in 1980, Alberto Salazar, who finished second in 1982, and guys like Dan Dillon, Ken Martin, Don Clary, Herb Lindsay and Steve Plasencia and what did you learn from those two experiences that helped you to grow as a runner and competitor?
JS There’s a lot there to answer (laughing). At the time I didn’t think too deeply about that. It was just a bunch of us going away and having a good time and racing hard. I didn’t really stop to think about it. Looking back, I got to run with some of the greatest athletes in the world at the time. We had some great cross-country runners. Bruce Bickford was another great athlete you didn’t mention that I ran with on several teams. Danny Dillon was a great cross-country runner. I don’t think people know too much about what Dan did, but he was always at the front of many European races. Craig Virgin is probably the single most versatile and maybe the greatest distance runner this country has every produced. Running with people like that is remarkable and I can look back on some fun experiences with them. I got to know them personally and they were like anyone else you would me with variety in their likes and dislikes. They were interesting people. When I think of Craig Virgin, in 1979 we made the World Cross Country team together, went over to Paris, France in early 1980, and raced on the longchamp race track which was huge. There were people everywhere as Europeans had come from all over to watch this race. The inside of the track had this type of fencing that came up out of the ground and then faced in so there was this foot-wide fence facing that would keep the horses out of the bars that came up out of the inside of the track. Anyway, it was a substantial fence. The awards ceremony was in the middle of the infield. After he won, people wanted to get to Craig Virgin so badly that they pushed over that fencing - and this was fencing put up to withstand a horse butting against it. But all these people pushed that fencing over and crowded out onto the infield to get to Craig. They had to get him off the infield with a phalanx of police. It was amazing!
GCR: How different was it to see the reception for cross country athletes in Europe versus in the United States?
JS Craig was a superstar over there. Over here in the U.S. the public didn’t even know what he had done, but in Europe he was this huge celebrity. I had dinner with him that night with a few other people and we were at a restaurant in Paris. For the restauranteur it was fantastic. Here was this celebrity who had come to his restaurant. He was bringing out all this food and it was absolutely amazing. The customers in the restaurant were applauding Craig and it was incredible. It was a unique experience to see how Europeans respond to cross country, while in the United States it wasn’t well known at all – very, very strange. I had never seen anything like that before. It was a singular experience. I have a lot of respect for Craig. I saw him do the amazing things he did on the track, in cross-country and on the roads.
GCR: Prior to that as a collegiate runner in the Western Athletic Conference you faced the strong teams from Brigham Young and Wyoming and the exceptionally tough Kenyan-dominated UTEP distance runners. How did that collegiate competition groom you for the solid opposition you would face on the roads after college which included international athletes?
JS In 1982 I did an interview after the Cascade Runoff 15k and somebody stuck a microphone in my face and asked me, ‘How was it to run with all of these Africans?’ I was kind of the lone American up front with this crowd of African runners. I said, ‘This is no different than running the Western Athletic Conference finals on the track or in cross country.’ I had just spent four years running against those guys who were some of the best athletes in the world. There was Suleiman Nyambui, Michael Musyoki, Kip Surma and others. They were amazing athletes. So, for me it wasn’t any different when I ran against them on the roads. I was probably more competitive on the roads with them because I was a much more competitive road runner than I was a cross-country runner and certainly better than I was on the track. I felt a little bit more at home on the roads, but these were the same guys I was just racing for the prior four years. It was nothing new to me. When I look back, it was a frustrating experience in college because I was kept from a lot of championships because I didn’t qualify in our district when I was running against guys who had Olympic medals. At that young age I couldn’t compete with them, but the experience I gained was invaluable. As frustrating as it was at the time collegiately, it also paid off a lot when I became a professional.
GCR: Let’s talk about several road race venues where you excelled. The first one is one where I ran a couple of times when you were up front and winning and that is the Virginia Ten-Mile. I always have believed that tough runners excel on difficult courses. What did you have to do as far as hill training and mental toughness training that led to five wins at the Virginia Ten-Mile in twelve years?
JS Frank Shorter said that hills are speed work in disguise. I think that quote is around, you see it and people refer to it a lot because it’s so true. For me as a road racer hills were always an important aspect of what I did in training. I lived at altitude at 5,000 feet and we would go into the mountains to train higher up. The facts that I was training at altitude and running on hills all the time made me better over those kind of courses. I made a career out of chasing those courses. I’d run the cascade Runoff, Bloomsday Race, Virginia Ten-Mile, Elby’s 20k and Parkersburg half Marathon. Those races were good for me and where I would go to race. They fit my style. I was a very good down hill runner and became a very good uphill runner. The fact that I was training in the hills and some predilection of some sort made me a very good hill runner. Also, a lot of the base work I did in New Zealand in the middle of the winter, which was their summer was based on miles and strength and hills.
GCR: What do you recall from your first Virginia Ten-Mile victory in 1982 when you raced with Sam Ngatia, Gabriel Kamau and Martti Vaino through the streets of Lynchburg? And don’t forget that I was about five minutes behind you in 33rd place and that was also scaring you. And are their any other standout memories from that race your other wins there that you would like to relate?
JS I love that race. Their motto was ‘Where Hospitality Meets the Road.’ That’s what is was. We would go there, and they would take care of us. We would stay with a local family and they were fantastic. I always had a great race. My mom’s family was from Virginia. Some of my relatives lived there and my sister and brother still live in Virginia. I would go back and visit my relatives that lived in northern Virginia around Washington, D.C. and then I drove down to Lynchburg for the race. It was a great weekend and the weather was always good. I don’t think we had one year where the weather wasn’t excellent. The course fit me too. It had a lot of hills. It had some straight sections, but mostly the strategic parts of the course were hills. So, I loved racing there. The only race I remember well is the one where John Halverson outkicked me in the last ten meters. The others all sort of fall together as far as memories without any distinct recollections. But I do remember running with the Australian, Steve Monighetti. Steve didn’t have real good speed. So, we were going up the long hill to the finish and I set up Steve as best I could. I was kind of jogging behind him. He couldn’t get away from me and I was just going to drill him. There is the top of that hill and then a gradual down hill to the finish. I thought, ‘when we hit the top of the hill, I’m going to hang on him until we’re close to the finish and I’m going to drill him. This is going to be very exciting.’ I’m setting this up in my mind and I’m kind of dancing around behind him because he couldn’t get away from me. And sure enough, when we went over the hill and hit the flat, I just hammered him. I kind of eased back and suddenly on the right side here goes John Halverson flying by me with about ten meters to go. All the time that I had been dancing around behind Steve, getting ready to nail him, Halverson had been creeping up and creeping up and creeping up. The two of us were laughing in the finish corral because he said he could see the whole thing happening in front of him. He waited for just the right moment and pounced on me the same way I tried to get Monighetti. That’s the only memory I have of a specific race at the Virginia Ten-Mile. That one really sticks in my mind.
GCR: Hot weather is another factor that usually decreases athletic performance due to dehydration and discomfort. What did you do at the 1982 Peachtree Road Race 10k that led to you winning and beating a strong field that included Michael Musyoki, Adrian Leek, Gabriel Kamau, Sosthenes Bitok and three-time defending champion, Craig Virgin?
JS I had raced against Michael at the Cascade Runoff 15k a week before in Portland on a Sunday. I kicked with what I thought was about 800 meters to go and it was about 1,000 meters out. With about 200 meters to go I just crumbled. I tied up very badly. I couldn’t see the finish because the press truck was in front of me. I had a big lead on Michael because I just jumped him when I went by him. One of my skills as an athlete is that I could just go from a hard run to a complete sprint in a couple of strides. I was very good at that. I could accelerate very quickly. So, I got a jump on him and I went to soon. He caught me right at the finish. Probably about ten or twelve feet before the finish he went by me. This was covered on ‘Wide World of Sport’ and millions of people saw the finish. It wasn’t humiliating, but it was exciting, fun to be a part of, though I was taken down a peg. The next week we go to Atlanta and I’m tired. I remember I was sore all week and I couldn’t do anything but some easy jogging. I went to the Peachtree race with the idea that I was going to do the best I could do. I aimed to make some money and be in the top four or five, but I didn’t think I had much chance to win since I was feeling the way I did. It was a hot morning, eighty degrees and at least eighty percent humidity. Everyone was cutting holes in their singlets and pouring water over their heads. But I didn’t feel uncomfortable at all. I warmed up in sweats and felt good. The gun went off and we started out. Gradually, like road races usually unfold, it was a race of attrition. People were peeling off and peeling off. I was still there with maybe three quarters of a mile to go. It was Adrian, Michael and me. I was doing my best to hang on because Adrian was trying to break us. He was afraid of being outkicked.
GCR: How did the three of you exchange surges and tactics in the final part of the race that ended up with you in the victory circle?
JS We got into Piedmont Park with about a half mile to go. We ran down through the park and Adrian threw a surge at us. But it was kind of a weak surge and didn’t really do anything. Michael and I were right on his shoulder. Then he kind of gave up and pulled off. It was Michael and me with Adrian right behind us. When I saw the odometer with the clock on the lead truck click over to six miles, I didn’t even have to see a mile marker on the road. I don’t recall seeing one, but it must have been there. I saw the odometer hit six and I hit the button just like I had in Portland. But this time it was only 400 meters from the finish line and I easily accelerated away from Michael and won the race. I learned from the previous week. I tried to learn from every mistake I made and every victory. I tried to take away something from every race. The Cascade Runoff taught me to look at the end of every course and from that time onward for the next thirteen years of my professional career, if I couldn’t see the while course, I wanted to know what the last half mile looked like. I would go through the last half mile and I would get signposts that told me where it was 300 meters, 400 meters and 500 meters to go. So, I never ran another race in my professional career where I didn’t have a good idea of where I was in the last 800 meters. That’s what I Learned from the Cascade Runoff and from Peachtree.
GCR: It's interesting when you speak about the challenge of performing at back-to-back races. In your 2003 book, ‘Training for Peak Performance,’ some of the concepts Kent Oglesby and you discuss include training and recovery, progression, periodization, speed training. How did you have to modify the approach toward one big peak race when you raced so many high-quality races each year over a period of many months? How helpful has your own experience been to those you coach who are following a similar multi-race pathway?
JS That’s a great question that makes me think of a meeting I had with John Davies when I first started working with him as my coach. I was in New Zealand at the time and we sat down over lunch. We were talking about what I wanted to accomplish as a runner and how he thought he could help me. It was a job interview. He was interviewing me – that’s what it was – a ‘Do I want to work with and coach this guy?’ We were talking and had come to a place where he was going to help me. One of his questions in that regard was what races was I trying to shoot for and what was I wanting to accomplish in the next spring? I said, ‘I’d like to be in shape to run well at Bloomsday and Cascade Runoff.’ I mentioned dates and some other races, and this concerned look came over his face. He said, ‘Sinclair, you’ve got to pick one. You must peak toward one event. You can’t try to create these mini peaks all season long or you’re not going to get the same performance level.’ Now I understand that. At the time I kind of understood it but the harsh professional realism was that I was a road racer and I had to make money on more than one weekend. Kim and I have talked about this too. As a marathon runner, it was all on her on one weekend. It was New York or it was Boston, or it was Twin Cities or London or wherever she was racing a marathon. It was all on that day which was a huge amount of pressure. For me it was different. I would run a typical season of maybe a dozen races. Not all of them were big races, but there were some key races as I went through the season where I needed to do well. I would set up my season to hit those races where I could make money and then I sort of forgot the money side during the race and tried to win. That was most important to me. I forgot about the money and tried to win the race. But for me at the time there was more than one race and more than one peak and that was difficult for John to get to. He was a Lydiard coach and he firmly believed in peaking. As a New Zealander racing himself it was always like that. They would get in their best shape and then have the opportunity to use the small races there to get ready to go to Europe or the Commonwealth Games or the Olympics. They would go to their one event. I think that formed much of Arthur Lydiard’s original theories and his methods. That’s the way they designed their season. For me that didn’t work, and John had to come to a different reality. He had to coach me to little mini peaks. There were some compromises for him along the way, but in that process, I did learn myself how to do it. I wouldn’t say they are coaching secrets, but there are aspects of it that I can’t describe except to say they are situational. Many of the people we coach are marathoners. They have that single peak which I am comfortable coaching, but we also have runners doing multiple peaks and I’m also comfortable with that. It is very different, and it requires different methodology.
GCR: Back to your racing, in addition to the Virginia 10-mile, you had victories and many top finishes at other intermediate distance races such as the Cherry Blossom 10-mile, Tulsa 15k and Utica Boilermaker 15k. Though you raced strong at shorter and longer distances, do you feel the 15k to 10-mile distance was your sweet spot and, if so, why?
JS People have asked me what my favorite distance is to run, and I love the 1,500 meters and the mile. To me those are the classic race distances. That is what I did in high school and college and I love that. If I could have been a Seb Coe or Steve Ovett or Steve Scott, somebody like that, and could have made a living running that distance, that would have been the ultimate. I would have loved that. For me though, what I was physically best at, where my training was pointing, where I ultimately became best and was my ‘bread and butter’ were races between ten kilometers and the half marathon. And the half marathon was even pushing the upper edge. I could run that distance, but it wasn’t as good for me as ten miles. The ten-mile races over hills were the sweet spot. Like I said previously, I would look for races that were those kinds of races. The Elby’s 20k had huge hills. It was one of the toughest races in the country. The Virginia Ten-Mile had lot of hills and was very tough. Bloomsday and Cascade had big hills and they were strategically tied to good hill running. As a track athlete, a runner could go to those races and do okay. But if they were not prepared for hills and weren’t prepared to use the hills strategically and to understand how integral they were to running the course, then you could not win there unless you were physically dominant. For me those races were perfect. That is what set me up physically and that is what I was able to do in that type of racing.
GCR: Can you discuss just how competitive the Cherry Blossom 10-mile was and, in particular, compare 1987 when you won in 46:48 by two seconds over J.P. Ndayisenga with Larry Greene, Sosthenes Bitok and Mark Curp all within fifteen seconds of you and then the following year in 1988 when Ndayisnega won with you in third place seven seconds back with the top six all within fifteen seconds of one another?
JS The difference between the winner and the person in second and third place is so small. It is infinitesimal in terms of physical ability. A lot of times it would come down to how well we each anticipated the moves and how well we understood the race course. It was also how prepared we were, how deep we could go physically and how motivated we were. Maybe it could be if we got on the right flight two days beforehand. There were so many little variables that we had to control. As a professional I was good at that, but you just never know what’s going to happen. It makes me think of a race I did in Cleveland, Ohio, the Revco 10 kilometer. One year there were about six of us with around four hundred meters to go and we were spread across the street shoulder to shoulder. Nobody was sitting behind. It was so exciting, and I finished second. I think Nick Rose won that year. I remember thinking to myself as I was kicking, ‘This is great. No matter what happens, this is just superb, great racing.’ It was that kind of racing that is so much fun. Win lose or draw, it was always good. I loved those races. I did my best to understand the finish line and the last mile of every race and I was very good in figuring out strategies against people, against their strengths and that used my strengths in the last mile. I got good at that and there were several races where the result was primarily because I understood the racecourse better than somebody else.
GCR: Do any of your wins at the Bloomsday 12k, Portland 12k, Tulsa 15k, Utica Boilermaker 15k or other big races stand out based on how they developed, for a big surge, a bold move, strong kick or other tactics that led to the win or beating someone who was an extremely difficult opponent?
JS Strategy by itself is not going to overcome someone who is physically dominant. There could be someone in a race who is just going to crush you and, no matter how good your strategy is, it isn’t going to matter because he is physically better. But, given that things are close, then strategy has a lot to do with the outcome of a race. One of the races I remember most in that regard is Bloomsday of 1986. The course then differed from the course they use now. It finished in the last three quarters of a mile with this long, straight stretch and then a right turn. When you made that right turn you went downhill, across a bridge and then up to the finish. When you made that turn there was 600 meters or maybe a little bit less to go. Most people don’t think of kicking as hard as they can go with 800 meters left. You just wouldn’t do that because you would end up fried. But on that course if you kicked as hard as you could, say 200 meters before that turn, you could make that turn and then recover on the downhill. You could stride out and still be running very hard, but you’d get your wind back. You’d recover and then you could run the flat bridge and the uphill to the finish. In 1986 we had a group of five guys. There was Michael Musyoki, Ed Eyestone, Rolando Vera from Ecuador, Peter Koech from Kenyan who later set the World Record in the steeplechase and me. It was a good group of guys and we were cooking along. We went passed seven miles and had about a half mile to go. So about 200 meters before that turn I just accelerated as hard as I could go to that corner. When I turned the corner, I kept thinking to myself, ‘Now you’ve got the lead, you’re out here, you’ve got to stay out into this.’ I strode as fast as I could to get down that hill. I was trying to recover, trying to relax and I dropped my arms. I ran hard across the bridge and up to the finish and I won. I’m not sure that anybody in that group couldn’t have won. I think any of us probably could have won. But I think that strategy surprised everybody. I’ve seen the tape and I had ten meters instantly. Those guys were sort of gathering themselves for the corner and were probably thinking they would get around the corner and start kicking. Since I went 200 meters before the corner, I got ten meters before they even woke up and that probably had a lot to do with the fact that I could win. That strategy always worked well. I won that race basically the same way in 1983. It wasn’t quite as obvious a move, but it was the same thing.
GCR: Are there times where a physically dominant opponent takes the victory, but you use great tactics to finish second?
JS There was a race in Bowling Green that had the same kind of finish line where you took a left corner and ran downhill to the finish. I employed that strategy there to finish second one year. If you understand the finish line and the strategic points in the last mile, you can sometimes make a competitive difference. But that year at Bowling Green, Steve Jones was so dominant and ran away form us. It was two or three weeks before he won the New York City Marathon and he just crushed us. I was in good shape and he just ran away from me in what was just a time trial on his part. Strategy had nothing to do with me being able to beat him, but it did get me second place because I understood that course.
GCR: You mentioned earlier that the half marathon was a bit of a stretch for you, though you did have some nice wins including twice at Parkersburg. With those you are coaching for a peak marathon, is the half marathon both a race and a tempo run for the marathon, and how many half marathons do you advise your athletes training for a marathon to do in the final six months leading up to their marathon race?
JS It depends on the person and is very situational. In general, I like to see runners do one, or maybe two, half marathons leading up to their marathon. If you can do one six or eight weeks before your marathon, then it isn’t when you are finishing your marathon training, but in the middle of that strength period. You are gathering yourself for the big effort and finish of the training. It gives an idea of what someone can do so I like to see someone do a half marathon early in the cycle and then one later when finishing the cycle, four weeks out or even three weeks out from their marathon. That gives a sense of what the athlete has done to finish the training and what kind of shape they are in. It gives an idea of what they can do in the marathon. Plus, it does move the training along. For those reasons, it’s a good idea to run periodic half marathons.
GCR: What was your typical base building mileage after those 90-mile weeks college? Did you increase as a road racer?
JS As a professional I had to do more. I wasn’t a high mileage runner. Neither was Kim, interestingly, even as a marathoner. Kim didn’t do a lot of big miles. She did a lot of very long days, but her weekly miles weren’t critical in that regard. That was true for me also in my own way. When I was in New Zealand, I would do between a hundred and a hundred twenty miles a week down there. That was always good weather, and they were relaxed miles for the most part. Sometimes I would do some racing, but it was just for fun. I did the Auckland 1,500-meter Championships most years, which was good, but tough to do when you’re training one hundred twenty miles a week and have no leg speed. It was fun. Down there it was mostly about doing lots of miles and hills. We’d run in the Wytackeries, which were the old stomping guards for John Walker and all those Lydiard athletes back in the day. They would do this big, long run up in the Waitakere Ranges. I’d go down to Rotorua, which is their Yellowstone, it’s lots of geysers and mud pots and the whole area smells like sulphur. It was a beautiful place to run because there are a lot of soft, wood chip trails, gorgeous parks and open spaces. I would go with my buddy, John Bowden and John and I would train there for a couple of weeks. We would do great mileage. Then I came home, and my spring season would usually start in the beginning of March. I would start racing in mid-March or late March and do Cherry Blossom in the beginning of April. As soon as I got home, I would drop the mileage down to ninety miles or so a week which is generally where it stayed until I got through to the end of the season. I would try to train eighty, ninety or maybe one hundred miles a week when I was home. But the mileage was much tougher. Most of my workouts were in the morning because I raced in the morning. I would do my hard workouts then. I usually did one hill workout a week, some sort of speed or hard effort later in the week and my long runs early in the season were two hours long. We would do those up in the mountains with lots of hills. There was a big strength element. As the season went on I would do more and more at the track. The hills would sort of fade away and I would move to doing faster workouts.
GCR: Were you doing longer track pace work like mile and 1,200-meter repeats and then short cut downs for speed?
JS Because I was an altitude athlete, I tried to focus more on leg speed. One of my favorite workouts was an 800-meter and 300-meter alternating. I would do 800 meters at low altitude, 10,000-meter pace which was sort of floating through the two laps. Then I would jog 100 meters and sprint 300 meters. I would do about eight of those. That was a favorite workout. I would also do 1,000-meter repeats. I rarely did anything longer because of the altitude. I tried to focus more on short rest and quicker, faster efforts as opposed to longer repeats. I would get longer efforts by doing the hills. In Fort Collins there is a reservoir west of town, Horsetooth reservoir, that was a dirt road at the time. It has a big long hill and I could go for half a mile or 1,200 meters. They were very steep hills and I’d run there throughout much of the season. When I was doing base building, depending on what I was trying to get out of the workout, I would do some long and hard sessions. So, those were kind of the long interval workouts. We would do some tempo running – I would always try to finish my longer runs with some type of up tempo running so I could try to be quicker. In New Zealand it was mostly easier running, but back at home it was much more quality running.
GCR: Let’s take a step back and visit somewhat chronologically through early your running career. When you were a youth and teenager were you competitive in many sports and when did you notice you were a good runner or develop an interest in the sport of distance running?
JS Do you remember the Presidential Physical Fitness Test? There was a 600-yard run/walk and I was always the best in the class at that. That’s not a real kind of index except that we were all probably equally untrained. Or maybe it was a good index. I was always very good and didn’t have to do any walking. I could run the whole way and, as I recall, I scored very high. So, I guess I always had that talent. There is also a familial talent because I had an uncle who was a runner and who ran at the Drake Relays back in the 1930s. As much running as he did, he was very talented. And we did a test when I was in high school that was conducted by someone from Denver University. It was on familial talent in distance running. I was a junior or senior in high school and had already shown a lot of running talent. So, they invited my mom, my dad, my sister and me to do this test. My dad scored okay but my sister and mom scored high. In fact, my mom scored higher than I did. We were just sitting in a chair and breathing, and they were testing our blood gas. She scored sitting in a chair as an untrained person higher than I did, so I’m pretty sure that’s where I got my aerobic ability. Although my dad always claimed it was from his side of the family because it was his brother who did so well as a runner. But I think it was my mom. I guess that talent was always there. I had a good genetic background. I didn’t really start running until I was in junior high. I had tried basketball and was terrible. I had no hand-eye coordination at all. I was terrible at baseball for the same reason. I tried wrestling and was the smallest kid in my class. Nothing seemed to work for me athletically. I certainly wasn’t going to play football. This friend of mine who was the manager on the track team came to me and said, ‘You should go out for track. There are only two guys going out for the mile and they take three on the travelling squad. If you go out, you’re on the team.’ I though, ‘Yeah! This is my chance! I’m going to get on the team!’ And it turned out I was the best miler. At the first meet I almost set a school record, so there was obviously some natural talent. That kind of success made my feel, ‘wow,’ this is something I could do. It made me feel special. It was very motivating. And I found a sport I liked. I loved to run. I don’t know if it fits my personality, but something about running and being outside clicked with me. That’s how I started running.
GCR: Could you take us through your progression as a runner in high school and some highlights as you progressed to a two-time prep State Champ?
JS That’s ancient history. Back then we didn’t know much about running and couldn’t find out much. I remember going to the high school library and waiting anxiously for Runners World to show up because that was the only place where I could get information about running. Like I said previously, I had a great high school coach, and without Coach Lee Courkamp I don’t know where my running would have gone or how it would have ended up. In fact, when I got to CSU and had a chance to talk to other guys who just came out of high school, we had a great recruiting class. We had Richie Harris who had come out of Illinois and run 4:10 in high school. We had the high school state champion from Wyoming, Ed Bundy. And we had the best in Colorado. We talked about what we did in training. I was shocked because I was running year around and these guys on my freshmen team only ran during the season. Their coaches would drive along beside them in cars and some of them smoked. There were horrendous stories of one coach who had them give blood a week before their conference finals – what was the coach thinking? But my coach ran with us every day, in fact, one of my proudest moments in high school was beating able to beat Lee. We ran a hard ten miles and I got back to the school before Lee did. That was huge for me and was highly motivating because he was a very good runner. As a sophomore I was at the bottom of the ‘C’ squad at the beginning of the cross-country season. I had excellent coaching and by the end of the season I was the second man on the ‘A’ squad. The first man was another sophomore, so we had a very good team. We won the State Championships in cross country when I was a senior and won track outdoors when I was a senior. I progressed through those three years and Lee brought me along just liked you could hope somebody would. I was undefeated in track as a junior and won the state mile championship. That was kind of a big turning point. People have asked me, ‘What is the most important race you ran in your life?’ I’d say that State Championship when I won that mile was probably the most important race I ran. It taught me that I could win if I was wise, I was smart, and I trained hard. I had the talent to be good.
GCR: Could you discuss your strategy and what you did during the race to win your first individual State Championship?
JS Before that race there was a guy in Colorado who had won about everything. We had not raced, but he had won almost all his races and I had won all of mine. He was from Evergreen High School and he would run the same way in every race. He would run hard for the first quarter, he would run hard the second quarter, then he would sort of float the third quarter and sprint the fourth quarter. He would do that every single weekend and I knew that from having read about him and talking to some people. My strategy, when I got to the finals, was developed after the prelims when I rode home with my dad. I told him, ‘I think I can win this race.’ Nobody in the car said anything. My strategy was to sit behind him and not do anything for the first half. I was planning to float as much as I could and then sprint the third quarter. So, when he slowed, I would sprint the third quarter and hope to hang on during the fourth lap. That’s exactly what I did. His name is Bob Fink, who I still see sometimes, and we laugh about past times. Bob slowed down in the third quarter and I got this lead on him. In the fourth quarter when he started kicking I had probably fifteen or twenty yards and he couldn’t catch me. I hung on until the finish and won. There are lessons to be learned, both in victories and defeats. That victory was as important as any in my career. I learned from that race to be smart, think about what I was doing and to have a plan. I had confidence in my ability. That was one of my strengths. I always had confidence that I could run hard and could get a good race out of myself.
GCR: Are there any other races from high school that you wish to mention?
JS My senior year I was second in the state in cross country and got outkicked by a guy named Norm Carlson. That taught me a lesson. Norm was one of those guys who also went to CSU. My senior year in track I won the two-mile. I wanted to run the mile again, but my coach knew we had a chance with John Hunsaker in the mile and I could run the two-mile.
GCR: What were your best times in the mile and two-mile in high school?
JS I ran a 4:18.6 in the mile which I did as a senior. I ran about 9:30 in the two-mile. It was nothing hugely impressive, but I was undefeated on the track as a junior and senior and ran well in cross-country both years.
GCR: How did you decide to go to Colorado State and is there anything to wish to add to what we discussed earlier about how your collegiate experience developed you as a runner and subsequently as a coach?
JS Del Hessell was the coach at CSU and he is very good in a living room. He is very convincing. He is a great motivator and has a very strong personality. At the time the CSU program was in flux and Del convinced both me and my parents. I remember sitting in our living room with Del, and my parents were very concerned about my education as they should have been. They asked Del questions pointedly about whether I would get a good education and they told Del they would be relying on him to be a motivating figure to make sure I did my classwork. I recall Del saying, ‘Yeah, yeah, it’s real important and at CSU that is the single most important thing.’ While he was saying this, he kind of looked sideways at me and half winked. I still remember that when I was eighteen years old and that is over forty years ago. I remember that sideways look like. ‘Yeah, I’m telling them this, but you know why you’re really going to CSU.’ And I was thinking, ‘Yeah, okay. I want to go run.’ That’s pretty much where I was at. There was no professional running at the time. There was no money over the table, and I didn’t know there was money under the table. I wanted to go to CSU and graduate with some type of future, but what I really wanted to do was to race. I got everything I wanted out of Division I racing at CSU. Those runners were great at UTEP and Joe Nzau and Simon Killily at Wyoming, the entire Columbian national team was at Weber State, there were world class Mexicans at BYU. I was running against these guys every weekend. It was a great undergraduate degree in running.
GCR: You finished as an All-American at the 1979 NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships and, in fifth place in the mile, were the first American finisher. How proud was this accomplishment and did you enjoy the tight competition indoors and how the spectators were up close?
JS That’s very weird to be first American. I loved that race and especially indoors which was good for me with the banked turns. It was about acceleration. It was about strategy. That is where I could excel, not just with outright speed. So, I went to Detroit with Coach Jerry Quiller. We were running at Cobo Hall which was kind of a tight 200-meter track. Jerry said, ‘They are only going to take six guys to the final. Jon, you’ve got to finish in the top three in your heat. That’s the only way you’re going to get there.’ In my head I was thinking, ‘The only way I’m going to finish in the top three is to run like hell. I’m just going to start sprinting and I’m not going to stop.’ Sydney Maree and some other guys who were much faster than me were in my heat and Sydney was just in a league of his own. He was a World Class middle-distance runner. I had no chance of beating any of these guys unless they watched Sydney and didn’t pay attention to me and let me go. Then maybe I would have a shot. That’s exactly what happened. I just went as fast as I could go right from the gun. I should have had starting blocks out there. I took off and they didn’t pay any attention as they were watching Sydney. I guess they thought I would come back to them. I held on long enough. Sydney went by me and I have a picture of us at the finish line. I’m tied up and rigged bad and there is Sydney looking fluid about six inches in front of me. And here are all these other guys behind us with there eyes bulging out. So, I made it into the final but the next night, at that point. I was completely toast. I was good enough to beat one guy and that was it. I think I was the only American in the final. The four guys ahead of me crushed me. It was just the opposite of the heat. When the gun went off, I went right to the back. But I guess that preparation and guile won the day for me to get into the final. If I had run that heat any other way, I would have had no chance like the guys behind us. I would have lost for sure.
GCR: At the 1979 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships you were seventh in the 5,000 meters. Were you starting to feel like you were getting a taste of what it was like to be close to the top?
JS I don’t remember a whole lot about that race, but I do remember being outkicked. I just missed out on All-American which was the top six.
GCR: The previous fall you had a stellar All-American finish at the NCAA Cross Country Championships. What were some highlights of that effort?
JS The race was at Lehigh and I had a great day to finish as an All-American. I started out slow, came from behind and had a huge last mile-and-a-half. I swallowed up people right and left and finished in ninth.
GCR: When you graduated from college was it just a foregone conclusion that you were going to focus on road running or were you going to get a job or try to balance both?
JS I got married right out of college. My in-laws were deeply concerned. I had graduated with a degree in Forestry and did a little in that area right after I graduated from college. I worked with one of my favorite professors. It was in Recreation Administration. It was forestry-related and was basically going to be a land use administrator and designer position. My professor was doing a lot of work in that discipline, so I did some work for him. But that ended quickly, and I went to work in a sporting goods store selling running shoes. I started doing races and I was getting paid under the table. Race organizers were paying me to come to their races and run. I was making more money on a weekend than I could make selling shoes for the whole month. I kept cutting back on my hours at the store and kept cutting back and cutting back until I was going in for only about three hours a week. It was difficult for me to make that leap to the idea that I was going to go completely on performance and being paid to run. I had a wife at the time, and we were living in a little basement apartment. The idea that I would give up everything in my professional career in Recreation Administration and at the job at the shoe store and just go strictly on running, that was a big deal. It took a leap in confidence for me. But it was obvious that it was going to work. I was making way more money than I had to have to survive.
GCR: What running teams and other individuals helped you out in the beginning of your professional running career?
JS At the time I got involved with the Frank Shorter Running Team in Boulder, Colorado which was managed by Rich Castro. He helped me find some races and that started to go very well. Right after that I did a deal with Creigh Kelly. We signed an agent contract which is the only one I ever signed. That was supposedly only going to be for a year. He did a superb job then and all through my career. He was always there for me. He was smart and politically connected with everyone he needed to be. I just can’t say enough about the guy. He was a major part of my professional career. He got me a shoe contract and, from then on, I always had enough money from shoe contracts and endorsements to be able to pay my monthly bills. Everything else I earned from racing was on top of that. We always found good opportunities. The sport was growing and, as it was growing, there were all these race directors who were interested in having competitive fields. I had a reputation for delivering an honest effort every time. I always tried to put myself at the front and I always tried to find a way to win. I was involved in a lot of exciting races and I got a good reputation.
GCR: How did living in Colorado fare for you as far as a base for both training and racing?
JS One thing about Colorado is that it is a great place to train, but it isn’t a great place to race. I could not drive to a race where I could make money except for the Bolder Boulder 10k. I could go to a race in Denver or some small town and there would be twenty guys showing up to win fifty dollars of groceries. And everybody was in great shape. These small races would have incredible fields of local runners. If someone on the coast wanted to bring in this group of runners, it would have costs tens of thousands of dollars. But it wasn’t a good place to develop professionally because you couldn’t make money unless you could fly out to races. I was extraordinarily fortunate to have a good reputation early on that got me to races outside of Colorado. I had the benefit of being able to train in a fantastic location and great environment. I had an airport that I could fly nonstop on one flight almost anywhere I wanted to go. United Airlines could get me to almost any destination in the United States. Runners who lived and trained in Alamosa or Boise, Idaho or Albuquerque, New Mexico had to fly to a major airport and then fly to another city. All I had to do was drive to Denver and I was on a flight to anywhere I wanted to go. That made my ability to deliver a good performance easier. So, I had all those things going for me and it was a perfect formula.
GCR: You did some marathon racing and even won the 1981 Columbus Marathon at a young age in 2:13 and change. What did you do differently in training for the marathon and what are highlights of that big win in Columbus? Were you just dabbling in the marathon and, because you were earning a living from running, it didn’t receive full focus?
JS As far as Columbus goes, that race was definitely a dabble. I ran the first part of the race with Bill Rodgers and Billy knew how to pace a marathon. My attitude was always to figure out how to win because I wanted to win no matter what. So, I thought if I had any chance to win, I would just hang with Rodgers and see what happens. At twenty miles there was an Irishman, Louis Kenny, who had the lead in front of us. I felt great at twenty miles, so I took off and I caught Louis at around twenty-one and a half miles. It was a hot day. It was so hot it was just beating on runners. They took Kyle Heffner to the hospital that day. It was really hot. I run well in hot weather, but it was brutal. By the way, I didn’t drink anything. I didn’t stop at an aid station. The last four miles of that race I was crushed. I kept thinking, ‘As soon as someone goes by me, I’m going to drop out.’ I just kept running because no one went by me. I thought, ‘This would be awful if I just stopped. There is the lead truck and if I stop the cameras will be focused on me until the guy in second place catches up.’ Out of sheer terror of that sort of scene I kept jogging, I kept running and I ended up getting to the finish line in 2:13:29. In the photos of me going through the finish I look bad, I look horrible. But that arguably is the best marathon I ran.
GCR: How did this initial great marathon effort compare to future races at the marathon distance?
JS In subsequent races I trained for them, but they just went very badly. I’m just not a marathoner. There is something switched on in Kim and others like her that is not switched on in me. She laughed at me in long runs because I just got so uncomfortable. I’m just not good at that.
GCR: While you were mainly known for your road racing success, you did get on the track and were an Olympic Trials finalist at 5,000 meters. How did you find your Olympic Trials experience and just how hard is it to make an Olympic team?
JS I’m glad I had that experience in 1984. I got a good track time in the 5,000 meters which was 13:35. I might have been able to have run faster with more focus, but like the mile, it never was going to be what I was going to be best at. My fastest 1,500 meters was a 3:45.6 which equates to about a 4:03 mile. I think if I had focused on that I might have got a sub-four-minute mile if I had taken a couple years to try to develop in that regard. In the 5,000 meters maybe I could have got down to 13:20 or 13:15, but that was not going to be a World Class time. I was not going to be able to make a living and to run as a professional if that was my focus. I did what I had to do and what I loved because I was so good at road racing. It was my love and where I was good. But the experience I had on the track, I’m glad I did it that year. It did cost me money. Somebody asked me one time, ‘why don’t you run more on the track?’ I told them that if I go to a track race I have to pay my own way there, I have to get from the airport to the hotel, I pay for the hotel room, I have to find a way to get to the track, I run the race, I go back to the hotel and pack up my things, I pay for the taxi to the airport and I go home. When I go to a road race, somebody pays for my airfare and picks me up, drives me to a very nice hotel where I stay, they make sure I get to the starting line, sometimes they pay me to be at the starting line, I run the race, I go to a nice awards banquet afterward, they give me a check based on how well I finished, I have a really nice time, they drive me to the airport, I fly home and they want me to come back the next year. Then I ask, ‘which would you rather do?’ Not only was a better road racer, but I was treated better. It was just a much better life. I got to go all over the world and to run these great road races. The life of a track athlete was far different. For me it was always a real easy decision. But I had plenty of discussions with Steve Plasencia of running on the track versus the roads. He was much more of a track guy. He would race on the track and it didn’t matter to him about the money. That was secondary to him. He just wanted to do good track performances. I had another friend who told me one time, ‘I don’t care about winning. I just want to run a really good time.’ That was just not me.
GCR: Who were some of your favorite competitors and adversaries from your professional career, collegiate days and when you first started in high school competition for the spirited races and maybe because they helped bring out your best?
JS In high school there was a guy on my team that I did a lot of training with and that was John Hunsacker. He always brought out the best in me. He was a great guy to train with. He was a very talented runner and ended up at Colorado and doing some post-collegiate racing too. I learned a lot by training with John. I learned discipline from my training partners and developed a sense of consistency and trust. John did that for me in high school. For me, he was always that quintessential training partner. In college the person that brought out the best in me was again one of my training partners and the guy I lived with for a while, Steve Loman. As a professional, the guy I hated to run against and who I loved to run against at the same time was Greg Meyer. He was one of the fiercest people. I always knew with Greg that I was going to get a huge race. He was incredibly talented and incredibly strong. We shared a lot in terms of a fierceness and an ability level. He was just a tough guy, but he was always fun at every race. Everybody likes Greg. I think the world of him, and he always brought out the best in me. A guy at the beginning when I graduated from college who I raced on the track and the roads is Herb Lindsay. Herb was the same as Greg, but I didn’t give the same sense of fierceness. Greg gave me a feeling like, ‘Come on, we’re going to go hard. We’re going to go so hard that you’re going to hurt really bad.’ Herb was a little more subtle and easy going. I ran a lot of good races against Herb. Billy Rodgers’ career was ending just as mine was beginning and he is the opposite of Greg Meyer. Billy was sweet where Greg was just tough. Bill is one of those people that, if you got a ten or fifteen-meter lead, it didn’t make a difference. If you got a hundred-meter lead, it didn’t make a difference. He was always going to be coming for you. He was the person you had to look over your shoulder for all the time because he would never give up. There were some people that, if I got a lead, they would roll over and that was the end of the race. Billy was not like that. He has this kind of mental cocoon that he puts around his head and he keeps going. I guess that’s the marathoner in him.
GCR: When you look back, is there anything you would have done differently in your training and racing focus with what you know now that might have resulted in better performances? Or did you pretty much nail your potential?
JS The answer is sort of yes or no on that. If I was going to go back and change something, I made some mistakes in choosing races and choosing marathons. Knowing what I know now, I would go back and just not do any marathons. Maybe it was good that I ran Columbus at that time. And then I should have just walked away and focused on what I did best. The marathoning thing caused some deviations at times and changed the track that I was on. What I would have done differently would be to not do marathons. I was swimming upstream against a current that I couldn’t buck. I was kind of forcing this square peg in the round hole and it wasn’t going to happen. That was the mistake I made. Even to this day when I talk with people I’m coaching about what they want to accomplish I hear kind of the same thing. Athletes will say something to the effect that they aren’t sure if they like marathoning, but they kind of want to do another one. My argument against that is there are so many classic, great road races around the country. There are so many shorter races that are fun to run and that they can train for. They can see different parts of the country and enjoy them instead of doing a marathon some place. I have that discussion, but the marathon is this lustrous thing. It’s the shiny penny that’s hanging out there for people who have a hard time saying ‘no.’ For me it was the same thing. I thought, ‘I’m really good at the shorter races. I should be good at that. I should be able to run a good marathon.’ All my other race times say that I should have run 2:09 something, under 2:10. But. I was never able to achieve that. Whatever it was, I just didn’t have that.
GCR: What are your thoughts on cross training as a supplement to running and as a substitute while injured?
JS It depends on the person, where they are in their training and what they want to accomplish. If someone wants to be a good all-around athlete, then doing cross training makes a lot of sense. If someone focuses just on running, then they will become a pretty good runner. We know there is plenty of laboratory evidence that if you want to be a good runner, the best way is to do a lot of running. Biking will not make you a good runner. The reverse is also true. To be a very good biker, you shouldn’t do a lot of running. If you want to focus on being a good runner, that’s what it takes. I have this discussion quite often with my clients because they are busy people and aren’t professional athletes. They have limited amounts of time and limited amounts of energy. I feel like they should focus their time and their energy on being that runner they want to be instead of being in the gym doing dead lifts. That probably won’t help but will hinder. It’s a tough discussion to have. For some there are reasons to be doing weight workouts, because they have an imbalance and their doctor or physical therapist has them doing certain exercises to stay healthy or to run. But that is different. When injured, the best alternative may be running in the pool. I personally don’t like it, but it is good. The zero-G treadmill and sometimes the elliptical trainer can help a runner to maintain fitness. Some runners have done amazing stuff. I coached a guy who got injured at the end of his training cycle for the Boston Marathon and he did training in the pool for the last three weeks before Boston to finish his training cycle and at the end of that he did some tempo running on real ground. He went to Boston, which is not an easy course, and he set a PR. So, I’ve seen running in the pool work well for people. For someone who is injured that is an opportunity. But, if you think you’re going to get on a stationary bike and maintain your fitness, that isn’t going to happen.
GCR: How much more important is cross training as an alternative on some days as we get older?
JS For older people, like us, I see value in it. If we want to not necessarily run fast but be generally fit and able to lift grandkids over our heads and chase them around the back yard, alternative exercise is good. I’m a rock climber – that’s my passion. I’ve done it since I was in my twenties. I do a lot of climbing. It doesn’t work well with running. Climbing doesn’t help running and running doesn’t help climbing. I do the two together. I climb as much as I can. I’ve also started playing a little golf. You cannot find three more disparate sports than climbing, running and golf. They are different in so many ways. At my age I enjoy running. I’ve done a little bit of racing since I’ve retired. I’ve done some ultra-racing and dabbled in some different things. I like the fact that I don’t have to be as focused and I can do other things.
GCR: How important is running on soft surfaces during the competitive racing years and for longevity and the ability to run as we get older?
JS I try to stay off pavement as much as I can. I think if you plan to do some racing on the roads then you must do some training on the roads. If you want to be a marathoner and run some road marathons, you’ve got to do some training there. But I don’t. To preserve my legs and to enjoy running more, I try to be on trails and grass as much as I can be. It is very important. I have 120,000 and some more miles on my legs. My lower legs – my feet, me knees, I’m feeling some of that. If I run on grass or dirt, I generally can do more, and I enjoy it more. I feel fortunate to be able to still be running. Every time I go out the door to do a run, I feel a ‘wow’ as it is so great. I appreciate it. When we are younger, we take some of that for granted. Both of us I know have lots of friends and mutual friends who don’t run and can’t run any more for whatever reason. I just feel like it is such a great thing. I’m thankful, for sure.
GCR: What do feel are the primary tenets of your coaching philosophy that helps your athletes to stay motivated and to reach their potential?
JS This sort of goes back to something we talked about before. When you go out the door, you’ve got to enjoy running. I try to find a reason behind that for the people I’m coaching because it’s not the same for everybody. Each person gets a different high out of running their daily run for different reasons. I try to figure out why the athletes I coach are running, and I try to find a way to enhance that and to make sure we are going in that direction. It’s not always easy because some people may say to me, ‘I want to be more fit.’ But that means different things to different people with different reasons. Someone may say, ‘I want to run the best I can run.’ But what is that? We must figure that out and I try to do that with people I’m coaching. I try to make sure they enjoy what they’re doing. I can read that from their daily log reports that they send me as to whether they get it, or they don’t. For some of them the reason they are running is very hidden. I’m not sure they even understand it. I can sort of read into it, but it’s not always easy to figure out. That’s important. I think variety is important. That is difficult as runners and coaches tend to get into some ruts. I try to figure out why they are doing what they’re doing and giving some variety in that direction.
GCR: Among your many honors, you were inducted into the Colorado State Athletics Hall of Fame in 1989, the Road Runners Clubs of America HOF in 1997 and Colorado Running HOF in 2014. Is it both humbling and rewarding to receive these accolades and how cool was it that Kim and you were inducted together into the RRCA Hall of Fame?
JS Of course, it is humbling. To be included in those groups means an awful lot for sure. After your career is over, you stop getting those highs of winning races. For somebody to come along and say, ‘we remember what you did, and we value that,’ is special. Kim and I both went into the RRCA Hall of Fame in the same year as you pointed out and I remember listening to her speech, how important running was to her and how much she valued the people in her life that made it possible. Her story is amazing and compelling. You have her book and are going to read it and I’ll bet you are going to be blown away. It’s an excellent book, she is a great storyteller and her story is unbelievable and amazing. It isn’t typical and it would be hard to find a story that is truthful and similar. Listening to her that day, I remember that. It meant a lot for me to be put into the RRCA Hall of Fame. CSU has had a lot of great athletes over the years, and that was special going into the CSU Hall of Fame. I was inducted into my high school hall of fame, which was great. The Colorado Hall of Fame was special because we’ve had so many great distance runners in Colorado. I was inducted in one of the first classes. For what I did to be remembered and valued certainly is meaningful to me.
GCR: What is your current health and fitness regimen, how many days a week do you run, do you do any longer runs and do you have any inclination to compete again in age group track or ultramarathons in the future or are you just trying to stay fit?
JS I can tell you with high certainty that I am not going to do any more ultras. I should never say never, because people find it very easy to talk me into ludicrous stuff. I love doing crazy running events. A few years ago, I did the Trans-Rockies race in Colorado which involved running twenty plus miles a day for six days. I did it with a friend, Dave Blankenship, who lives in Ohio. Dave is a very good master’s runner and we did it as a team. We had a ball and it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, short of my one-hundred-mile race I did. It was brutal, and it wrecked me for months. I love doing stuff like that. It’s hard for me to get in shape for it, but it’s not hard to talk me into it. As I get older, it is less likely that I will do the ultramarathons and hard races. I love climbing. Again, that’s my passion. There is one guy that I climb with and we try to get outside or in the gym at least three days each week. For me, that’s my physical focus. I try to run every day and there are even days where I run twice a day. But the total miles don’t add up to a lot. I run two or three miles at a time. I am going to run Bloomsday and the Shelter Island 10k in New York. So, I’m doing some competitive racing and doing some competitive workouts to support the races.
GCR: Since you mentioned a couple of times during this interview about your running an ultramarathon, could you elaborate on the 100-miler and how out was to be out there for a full day or more?
JS There is that saying that goes, ‘if an explanation is necessary, then there is no way to explain it.’ Ultras are one of those experiences that takes you and takes your head to places you don’t want to go. I did Western States and I finished it in 23 hours and 45 minutes. I was a complete mess at the end of it because I had not done adequate training to do it. The race was very hard. I’ve done wonderful things with my training and racing and it has taken me all over the world for events like World Cross Country, pro championships, cross country in France, road relays in Germany and Japan and on and on. All have been great experiences. One of the top experiences was that 100-miler. It’s hard to explain why because it just took so much to do it. For me, it was incredibly difficult. I’m not a distance person, so to run for twenty-three hours and forty-five minutes took a lot of walking. It took me two-and-a-half hours to go the last six miles. I fell down a bunch. It was bad. The last four hundred meters is on the track.
GCR: After nearly twenty-fours hours of competing, what was it like that last lap on the track?
JS I came into the stadium and Kim was running beside me. She was trying to get me out of the first lane because it had this aluminum rail on the inside, and she was worrying that I might trip over this rail. ‘Get out of the first lane,’ she kept saying. But here was that 1,500-meter runner working in my head, ‘I’ve got to hug the curb.’ I was doing my best just to be able to stand up. It was very difficult. There was a guy, Doug Thurston, who was the race director at the Tulsa Run 15k for years and who I’ve known for quite a while. I did not know this, but Doug does the announcing for Western States. So, he was in the stadium and was in the broadcast booth up above looking down. He had names of the runners in front of him and so I get into the stadium. He announces, ‘Coming on to the track now is Jon Sinclair.’ Then there’s a stop. I remember this very clearly that he just stopped. Then he said, ‘I think that’s… it is… that’s Jon Sinclair. He’s the fastest person to finish Western States.’ Not that I was the fastest in this race, but I was the fastest guy from other speed events who had entered Western States and finished. Then he starts into this litany of races I had done and I’m sure it was off the top of his head because he had no way of knowing that I was going to be there. He’s talking about all this stuff I had done in the past and I’m zigging and zagging on the track because I can’t run a straight line and I’m barely standing up. There were tears rolling down my face, I had skinned up knees and dirt all over me from falling. It was a mess and was not a pretty sight. But it was an amazing experience.
GCR: With all of the great races you ran and won, where does finishing the Western States 100-miler in less than 24 hours rank?
JS It’s hard for me to rank things in my life, but I think maybe that’s a top ten kind of thing. My mom had died that spring and I had just lost a dog that I had for fifteen years, so there were a lot of factors that happened right before that. It was a sort of an emotional journey to be able to do it. I can’t point to that 23:45 and say it was a fantastic time. But I was under twenty-four hours, so I got the silver belt buckle. Believe me, in that last six hours I really did not care about that silver belt buckle. All I wanted to do was just to get to that finish line. My brother was there, and we had three friends with us. Kim was there with her daughter, Jamie. So, I had this great crew. They all ran with me or walked with me over the last mile. It was a very emotional moment for me.
GCR: To wrap this interview, when you speak to a group of young people, those you coach or a running club, when you sum up in a minute or two the major lessons you have learned during your life from the discipline of running, being a part of the running community, coaching, and helping others, what you would like to share with my readers that would be the ‘Jon Sinclair Philosophy’ of being your best, not just as a runner, but being your best in life?
JS There are a couple things I like to talk about. If you love running, then it is easier to go out the door every day. You must love the process of what you want to accomplish. There is a great quote that is something like ‘the will to win is nothing without the will to prepare.’ I think that is important in everybody’s life for just about everything. In running it is particularly true. How are you going to go out the door and run 120,000 miles in your life if you don’t love what you do? I have friends now, who I see occasionally, that I used to race against, and they’re not running any more. They may not see the value in it. I just don’t understand it. I don’t see how you can go through a running career and not love doing it every day. If you’re injured, okay. But to quit of your own volition is hard for me to understand how someone can go through the process of being an elite athlete and not love to do it. For me, that was the secret to my success. I just love running. The other thing I enjoy talking about is the way things were in the 1970s and 1980s and how professional running developed. People today don’t understand the contamination rule or where elite running was. There were competitive passports runners had to have in the 1970s. There was a fight that people like Steve Prefontaine and Frank Shorter and others had with the governing bodies to get to the kind of running we have now. There was Dan Kardong and his legacy with ARRA, the Association of Road Running Athletes, and how ARRA changed not only running, but other professional sports. We wouldn’t have had the Dream Team in the Olympics if it had not been for ARRA taking the money over the table in the United States. That push by ARRA forced the TAC to recognize professional running in the U. S. which then forced the IAAF to recognize it. Without that we wouldn’t have had professional sports in the Olympics. That is what opened the door for the Dream Team, professional hockey players and professional baseball players in the Olympics. None of that would have occurred without professional running in the United states and guys like Don Kardong and Chuck Galford and Benji Durden. The group of ARRA athletes pushed the door open. Running is part of the history of sport in our country that I’m not sure that people fully understand. So, I enjoy talking about that too.
  Inside Stuff
Hobbies/Interests Rock climbing and golf. Climbing is my main passion that I enjoy most when I’m not running. I enjoy reading. I enjoy spending time with my granddaughters. I enjoy the physiology of exercise. I think if I had to go back to school, I’m not sure if I’m smart enough to become good at that, but I’m fascinated by that. Dave Martin played a huge role in my life in teaching me that physiology that I used in my own running and that I use in coaching. Dr. Dave was part of the Olympic training program in Atlanta. I owe a lot to Dave. He launched an interest in physiology that I have to this day
Nicknames None that I’m aware of except my brother called me ‘Gordo’ when I was young as I was pudgy
Favorite movies I like the classics. I enjoy Humphrey Bogart movies. ‘Casablanca’ had always been a favorite of mine. I enjoy science fiction movies like the ‘Star Wars’ series
Favorite TV shows What I’m watching now is ‘American Pickers.’ I love those guys and they are fantastic. I never miss them. I like the sitcom, ‘Mom.’ I tend to watch a lot of news but am getting away from it as it’s depressing
Favorite music I have eclectic tastes in music. I hate to admit this, but I love ‘Taylor Swift’ and enjoy her music. Somehow, she seems to be able to strike the right chord in me. Her music is very good. I also like country music. I’ve kind of gotten into AC/DC lately and I don’t know why. It’s the kind of sound that hits me when I go to do a climbing workout at the climbing gym. I crank up the AC/DC and get into that. 1980s music were kind of my heroes, so I find myself listening to quite a bit of eighties music. Again, I hate to admit this, but I like Disco and ‘K.C. and the Sunshine Band.’ (At this point I mentioned that I saw K.C. and the Sunshine Band play a free concert at Haulover Pier on Miami Beach in 1975). I would have loved to have been in the environment in Miami as a teen and seen him. It’s fun music that isn’t cerebral by any means. I saw a concert with him on TV recently and it was so disappointing. You just can’t go back. You could go see him in concert now and it would not be anywhere near the same experience. So, I envy you that you got to see him at that time
Favorite books I read a lot about climbing and running. I am definitely an Ernest Hemingway fan. I like the Jack Reacher series. They are well-written, and I wait for each new book in the series to come out. I like biographies. For every purely enjoyable book, I’ll read one on a coaching topic. Right now, I’m reading a book about sleep which I find is fascinating. I’ve always felt that is an important area to watch, so when my clients fill out a log report, I try to get an accurate idea of how much they sleep every night. I felt that was important in my career and I track that in my coaching clients. While I’m reading this book, I’m patting myself on the back because there is so much research on how important sleep is in many ways, not just for running, but for cognitive ability and recovery. As a professional runner, because I travelled so much, I always had a book that I was reading. I have always told people that I don’t mind waiting in lines or at the airport because I pull out a book. I always like having a good book to read
First cars A Hatchback Ford Pinto that I loved. When I had that car in college, I could put everything I owned in that Pinto and I could drive away. There is such a feeling of freedom. There was no washing machine and no refrigerator. I could take all my clothes and what limited stuff I owned and put in in the Pinto and drive away. I never did. I never ran away from school or anywhere. But the knowledge I could do that – I loved that Pinto. I drove it for ever and it sort of disintegrated. My buddy that worked on it for me said that any time the gas tank gets below half a tank it was totaled. What he meant was that it wasn’t worth a half a tank of gas. It got to the point where I couldn’t drive it anymore and I had to let it go. Then I had a series of old Ford Broncos from the 1970s, which I loved. When I was an athlete, I could drive vehicles like these because I didn’t drive much. I didn’t need a car that I had to depend on much. When I finally sold my last Ford Bronco, it was when Kim and I made a move to Boulder from Fort Collins. I sold it because it wasn’t going to do the job I needed it to do
Current car When I sold that last Bronco, I bought a 2009 Ford Escape, which I still drive. I’ve never owned a new car
First Jobs I did odd jobs for different people. I’d take care of lawns or houses. The first real job that I had was in high school. My coach, Lee Courkamp, found a job and I don’t know how he found this. They needed somebody to help tear down a warehouse in downtown Denver because they were reclaiming a lot of land around where the railroad tracks came into town. There were a bunch of warehouses down there and eventually that area became Coors Field and Cambridge Gardens. So now it’s nice. But the beginnings of that was to tear down these warehouses. Over Christmas break for about two weeks I went down there, and we pulled up roofing. It was in the middle of the winter and we were pulling sheet roofing and asphalt roofing with shovels. We were up there popping the seams and nails. We had a team of about ten high school guys. I got paid a lot of money to do that. I’d come home every night just covered in this black tar. My forearms were aching from shoveling and shoveling. It was horrible. Again, I learned a good lesson. That was not something I wanted to do for the rest of my life. Every time I think of doing some physical labor, I remember that time and how bad that was. I can appreciate how tough life is for people who do that kind of work
Family I have two darling granddaughters from Kim’s daughter, Jamie, who live about a mile from us and they re great. I didn’t have kids of my own, so being able to spend time with her five-year old and three-year old, I felt fortunate that I’m getting that experience. Being a granddad to those two little girls is a wonderful, remarkable thing. Both of my parents are passed away now. They had a lot to do with my running and my determination. But they never really encouraged me excessively. In fact, my dad said to my mom, and I didn’t find out about this until after he died, that he was worried about encouraging me too much. He didn’t want to push me. He was very careful about that. He always loved to go and watch my run races. The only time I ever saw my dad over-imbibe with alcohol was when I won that State mile championship as a junior in high school. He over-imbibed with our neighbor, Mr. Murphy, across the street. They were on Mr. Murphy’s front porch drinking until about two o’clock in the morning. He didn’t get up the next day until about noon. That’s the only time I ever saw my dad do that. My parents were important to me in my life and they had a lot to do with my running success
Pets I always had pet dogs. I had a dog, Wiley, who was the only dog I know to be on the cover of Runners’ World. We were on the cover in September of 1991 or 1992. He was a great training partner for four or five years that we ran together. Wiley was just awesome, and Kim did some running with him too. He was a great running dog. I’ve always been a dog person and not a cat person
Favorite breakfast I eat Cheerios about every morning or Joe’s O’s from Trader Joes. That’s my standard breakfast, but I love eggs benedict. Whenever I eat out I often eat eggs benedict or breakfast burritos
Favorite meal I like interesting food and Kim does too. We enjoy eating out and had a great Thai meal last night. It was wonderful. I hate to say this because I feel that I’m kind of a foodie, but I like pizza. I hate to say that. It’s like when I admitted to liking Taylor Swift music. I’m a pizza guy and have always liked the thin crust pizza. In fact, that’s what I always used to eat before races. People found that out and they started asking me about that. The great thing was that I could order Domino’s Pizza no matter where I was. No matter what city I was in. I could order Domino’s and I’d get a medium Hawaiian with Canadian bacon and pineapple and that’s what I’d eat every night before a race. I would not suggest that to people, but it worked for me. I could order it out of my room, it was delivered to me and it was always the same everywhere. I knew exactly what I was getting. That was my pre-race meal. I just like pizza. Maybe it’s comfort food. I feel that is bad to admit since I’m a foodie. I have eclectic tastes in food and music, but kind of where I’m at is Taylor Swift and pizza
Favorite beverages I used to drink beer and I’ve kind of gotten away from it. I was never a big beer drinker, but I used to drink a couple beers a week, then I got to about one a week and now I’m not drinking except occasionally I like dark beers. For general beverages, I like orange juice and lemon-lime seltzer water. I will mix the two together and I’ve got myself a real tasty drink
First running memory At Woodmont Elementary School in Arlington, Virginia in probably second or third grade we did the 600-yard run/walk. That is my first real running race
Running heroes I’ve been asked this before and my answer, interestingly enough, is the same as Frank Shorter’s. Frank said the same thing I said which is I didn’t really have any running heroes. I don’t know why. I don’t recall as a young runner in high school that somebody stood out. Frank said the same thing and I found that interesting. I don’t recall that there was someone there. I do remember when Steve Prefontaine died. I was a senior in high school, and I was graduating in two weeks. I remember when that happened, I had a feeling of a sense of loss. I had seen Pre that winter because he had come to Colorado University to an indoor meet where I was running. It was sort of an all-comers meet and he happened to be there that night. Someone pointed him out to me and said, ‘That’s Steve Prefontaine.’ I thought, ‘There he is. He’s got a black leather jacket on. Yeah, that’s Pre.’ And when he died, I guess I didn’t know enough about his legacy. I came to know it over time. But, at that time I knew he was an important runner and an important person in running. I felt that sense of loss and I guess that’s as close to a hero kind of person that I had
Running friendships I enjoy getting together with runners from my era in the 1970s and reminiscing. Kim and I will get together with Benji and Amie Durden and tell stories. I have some good friendships with guys who were back in your group of runners. In fact, most of my training partners over the years weren’t the guys I was racing. They were the thirty-minute 10k guys. The sport lends itself to that. We all get an idea of what it’s like because we line up on the same day in the same conditions doing the same thing
Greatest running moments Winning the State mile my junior year in high school was the single most important race in terms of my development and where my head went after that. Bloomsday in 1986 was a good race for me where I have great memories that I love. Winning Peachtree in 1982 was a huge race. The Cascade Run-off the week before Peachtree – I lost that race, but that was a big race. My one-hundred-mile race. My twenty-three hours and forty-five minutes of ecstasy and horrible pain. That was amazing. The year the Nike team I was on that won the Hood-to-Coast relay was incredible. That was an amazingly competitive race that I ran with other guys in the relay format. It took us around twelve hours and was amazing. I’ve been so fortunate to have so many great things in my career. There were some standout days, and these are amongst them
Worst running moments : Most of them are marathon related. As a professional, you must accept from the beginning that there will be more failure than success. Everybody loses more often than they win. Unless you’re Herb Elliott, the great miler who ran every mile race he ever ran. There are exceptions, but as a professional, making money racing week after week, you’re going to lose a lot more than you win. Walking away from the wins and losses and learning from them and getting past the losses is important. The New York City Marathon in 1982 is one I shouldn’t have run. That was a huge mistake. I never should have gone. I trapped myself into it. I got into a situation where I had to go and I knew I shouldn’t have. It turned out very badly and brought momentum I had at the biggest moment in my career to a screaming halt. I shouldn’t have gone. The Olympic Trials in 1992 is another race I should not have run. Like I said, marathons were a big regret and I shouldn’t have done those
Childhood dreams I remember a period when I wanted to be a geologist. I wanted to be an oceanographer. I wanted to go to Hawaii. Marine Biology. Then I got into outdoor things and that’s why I went to CSU for Forestry. Had it not been for running I would have probably been in parks planning
Funny memories I can’t think of any. I’m just not a funny guy. And Kim doesn’t have any stories about me. She is always very kind
Favorite places to travel Without any question and without any reserve whatsoever, my favorite place to go outside of the United States is New Zealand. I hesitate to say that because it may send other people there. It is an incredible country. The people who live there are so fortunate. I went there for eleven years to train and it became like a second home to me. I could talk about it for hours as it is an incredible place. It is by far the nicest, all-around great place to go outside of the United States. I’ve been fortunate to travel to many nice places. I’ve always wanted to go back to Greece and to see the Aegean Islands, which I haven’t done. Inside the United States, Kim grew up in the Olympic peninsula and we’ve been to Port Townsend where she grew up. I like Port Townsend a lot. I’m not sure I’d want to live there, but it’s a beautiful place to visit. I love Portland and I love Spokane. They are both great towns. I love Seattle. Key West is a crazy place and I love to go there. I tend to be more of a beach person. I like warmer weather, so Key West and Florida in general. I had a great time sailing with Keith Brantly in the Florida Keys. We’re talking about taking a trip to Disney World next winter, so we’re saving up our pennies