Top of Their Game
Six local athletes tell us about the sports that changed their lives — and dish out some inspiration for the rest of us
Photographs by Chris Ware
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53, Hopewell Junction
An Albany native, Dollard is a sales manager for 3M — a position that requires extensive traveling. He’s run 13 marathons, the most recent being the Mohawk Hudson River Marathon in Albany last October. He crossed the line in under three hours; his average pace was 6:49 per mile.
How did you first get involved in running?
It was about 11 years ago. I played a lot of basketball, two or three days a week for years — I never really fell out of shape, but I certainly was not in running shape. In the paper I saw the Dutchess County Classic was coming up. I thought, I might try just to see if I can run this race. I ran the 5K, and I did pretty well for having trained probably for a week or two. I got the fever, and I said, “Let’s see if I can get faster the next time.” And it just snowballed from there.
What do you do for a weekly workout?
With my job, I’m on the road a lot. So I get in whatever I can, typically about 25-35 miles a week. I try to do one speed workout on the track, one tempo run, and on the weekends anywhere from 10 to 15 miles up at Mohonk. That’s a basic week.
What’s the hardest thing about being a runner?
The biggest challenge for me is the travel and finding the time to run. And staying injury free — that’s always high on any runner’s list. Most of the miles I do are on soft surfaces. I do that purposely, to help stay healthy. And I take rest days, and cross-train. We all want to train as hard as we can, but it’s a balance.
You are performing at a very high level for someone of your age — or of any age. What motivates you?
Number one, I really do enjoy it, I really love to run. Number two, I just love the competition and the camaraderie of it. Being outside on the trails, and being with other people. It’s the enjoyment you get out of doing it — the excitement of racing, the endorphins. And I love the challenge of training, making sure you’re doing the right workouts.
What’s been your biggest accomplishment as a runner?
I’m very happy that I’ve been able to knock off some sub-three hour marathons. I feel good about that. And I’m proud of the fact that I won the Joseph McDonald Memorial 10K race in Wappingers Falls last June.
Do you have any advice for new runners about how to stay with it?
I think you need to make it fun. Run with other people, and run somewhere that you enjoy. It’s not about finishing first. For beginners I’d say start off easy — walk in the beginning — and have fun with it. And if running’s not for you, there’s swimming, lifting weights, just working out. There’s so many things you can do.
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