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



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Kevin Dollard

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.
 

For information on places to pursue these sports, check our listings.

 

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