This is the eighth in an ongoing series of profiles highlighting an ardent local running enthusiast. Up today: BILL SHIRES, 44, a software architect by day who appears to be the most dominant masters runner in the Charlotte area.
For proof of that, look no further than Run For Your Life's Grand Prix Series results for this year: Bill has placed atop the overall masters leaderboard in four of the six events held so far. In the other two? He was the over-40 runner-up by just one second in both races.
Coincidentally, I ran with a guy this morning who brought up Bill's name out of the blue, and he paid him a compliment in a roundabout sort of way: "I can't wait till he turns 45 and gets out of my age group!!"
For the record, Bill turns 45 on Dec. 10.
When and why did you start running? I started running in '83 to get in shape for basketball, and started running every day in Oct '86 to see how much I could improve. I have been running every day -- ever since.
How has your outlook on running and racing changed since you moved into the masters division four years ago? Pretty much, it has remained the same. I do train a little differently now than I did when I was younger. I added more trail running and biking, and I avoid concrete when I can.
What's a personal running moment you'll never forget? Winning my first race. It was easy, but I was running scared the whole time. I had never led a race before and had no idea what to do when I was out front.
What's a personal running moment you wish you could forget? Climbing to the top of a bridge and attempting to run across it. I was running with some guys on the Marshall cross-country team. And someone had the bright idea to run across the bridge that separates Ohio from West Virginia. There is perfectly good sidewalk to cross the bridge. But then, where is the fun in running on the sidewalk? :)
So you were literally running ON TOP of a bridge. Like on the girders above the road. Yep. It is a car bridge and quite high over the road -- and definitely high over the river. As we were running across on the girders, you could look down at the people driving underneath. If I had fallen off onto the road, I would probably have gotten run over. If I had fallen into the river, I would have probably drowned. I could have fallen into the Ohio River and drowned. It was the dumbest thing that I did running.
What's harder for you to get motivated for, a speed workout or a long run? Both. The pain is the same. It is just a question of do I want quick and over, or do I want it to last for a while?
If you asked my running friends to describe me, they'd probably say ... ? Addicted.
Where is your favorite place to run in Charlotte? Mallard Creek Greenway.
Favorite distance? 5K.
PR for that distance? 16:02.
Music or no music when you run? No music. I don't like wires bouncing off me while I am running, and I can't afford those sunglasses with the earbuds for playing music. :)
We heard you've taken up biking. Why'd you start, and how does it compare to running? Yeah, I took up bike to augment my running. I find bike much easier than running from the standpoint that it doesn’t beat up your body as bad.
If you could give novice runners one piece of advice, what would it be and why? "Be patient with your running." I have seen to many runners jump into running, try to do too much to quickly, and get injured. They end up quiting running.
What's next on your race calendar? The Yiasou Greek Festival 5K on Aug. 29.
Know of another running fool? Tell me about him or her in an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.