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StumpJump Stories: Q&A with a Runner (Part 1)

All Mountain Teamer Phil Mansueto (@pmansueto) talks about his first 50K, Burger King and how it’s okay to walk the hills. 

Q: Have you run the StumpJump before? If so, how many times, and what keeps you coming back?

A: I’ve only done the 10 miler, several times and LOVE the course. I continue to come back for the social interaction with great people, the scenic views and the opportunity to beat my buddies Jessie Hillis and Rocco Mansueto.

Q. Describe what your training plan has been like over the past few months. Do you feel prepared for the race?

A: I really don’t/didn’t have a training plan. Given that I have a beautiful family, a full-time job and a 2nd job, I’d say I am as prepared as the average 39 year old man with other responsibilities. I do find time 4-5 days a week to be active for at least an hour a day, and I have logged some 10-20 mile runs on the weekends.

Q. What are the best and worst races you’ve ever run, and what made them that way?

A: The worst races for me are Road Races, as the pace tends to not lend much time for getting to know others. My favorite races are always the Trail Races. The views, laid back pace and the type of people are more geared toward my lifestyle. Road Racers are to intense for me, haha.

Q. What advice would you give to someone who’s running the StumpJump as their first 50K?

A: This is my first 50K, so any advice for me would be greatly appreciated. I’d encourage others to not take my advice, as I’m slow, I have a pacemaker and funny looking ears.

Q. What’s your favorite piece of running gear?

A: Salomon Skin Hydration Pack. GAME CHANGER!

Q. Do you have any running goals or big races that you’re working toward?

A: No, I had a wrestling coach once tell me, “If you stay ready then you never have to get ready.” My running and lifestyle goal is to always be ready for any race/event that I’d like to participate in. Running is part of my life, therefore races and/or running events are simply opportunities to maintain a healthy lifestyle and meet some great people.

Q. What’s your favorite local spot to hike or run?

A: Stringers Ridge. Quick access, best workout in town for run, hike, or bike.

Q. Do you have any tips for folks who are just starting out as trail runners?

A: Yes, like Fred Doss told me, keep your HR low, cadence high and be grateful for the opportunities to be active in nature. Also, its “OK” to walk the hills, especially when nobody is watching. BUT, always run when the camera crew is near.

Q. What do you do right before a big race? Any superstitions or good luck charms?

A: I drink 2 cups of coffee, eat one banana and take anywhere from 3-5 bowel movements. Not sure if that’s a ritual or just my race day anxiety.

Q. Favorite post-race meal?

A: Whopper from Burger King. The sloppier the better.

Q. Anything else you want to add?

A: Yes, Matthew 6:21, “The lamp of the body is the eye, therefore if the eye is good, the whole body will be a light.” As you spend time running, racing, striving toward your goals, don’t EVER forget the impact that your interaction have on others running the same race………. such is true in life.

Follow along with more updates from the StumpJump on Instagram with @rockcreekraces and #allmountaintambassador. You can also keep up with Phil at @pmansueto.