The “Downeast Runner” Definitely Rocks

Posted by Filed Under: Runners Who Rock

andrew.jpgIn the inaugural post of this series I’d like to introduce you to a runner who truly rocks. Meet Andrew—the Downeast Runner. Have you read Andrew’s blog? No? Well, you should. It’s packed full of running wisdom. And, although you won’t find a lot of exclamation points in Andrew’s writing (he’s a rather understated kind of fellow), it won’t take you long to learn that there is an unlimited passion for running there.

Digging through e-mails from a few years ago, I found my first meetings with Andrew were un-exciting. We exchanged pleasantries, and then sort of moved on. That was most definitely my loss.

Fast forward to around October 2006 when I found myself pondering a return to marathon training. In blog musings, I remarked that I was interested in training at higher mileage than I had trained at previously, and that I wanted to do so based on the teachings of famed running coach Arthur Lydiard.

I’m not a very religious sort of fella but, “Seek and ye shall receive” and “The lord moves in mysterious ways” are two sayings I’m reminded of when I think back to how Andrew magically appeared in a comment graciously offering to help me learn the teachings of Lydiard. You see, Andrew is—to put it very, very mildly—very passionate about high-mileage marathon training. He’s also a Lydiard disciple.

And so it goes that Andrew became my mentor and coach. I spent a year training Andrew style. A year that ended in two huge marathon PRs, as well as a big improvement in my one-mile record. I can’t wait for the next training cycle.

pc160014.jpgAndrew rocks because—like you—he loves running. He loves the fitness he gets from running. He loves running outdoors—no matter what mother nature might bring. He loves competition. He loves to win. He loves growth. He loves things like mitochondria, slow-twitch fibers, aerobic capacity and efficiency adaptations. The man just loves running.

And, just in case you were wondering, this guy is incredibly balanced. Spend any time on Andrew’s blog and you’ll learn that—even with the hours and hours he spends on the trails—he also spends quality time with his family. Factoid: One of Andrew’s favorite things to do is tour the countryside on his motorcycle with his daughter.

One day I imagine going for a run with Andrew and I imagine it will be pretty darn fun. I know this by the terrific camaraderie I see and read about that’s part and parcel of being one of Andrew’s friends. Just ask running buddy Marc—pictured here with Andrew in this photo.

s4020851.jpgs4020614.jpgThere aren’t many people that will get up every day at 4:00 a.m. to fit running into a busy schedule, but Andrew’s one of them. He is the epitome of dedication. I’m sure Arthur Lydiard would have liked him. This quality has fostered steady improvement, placing in races, winning one or two, and even a sub-3:00 marathon. Impressive!

But, as I’ve learned, there is a lot more to Andrew than just his own accomplishments and passion. He is also very giving of himself. As mentioned, he spent a year patiently teaching me about Lydiard—often calmly correcting me as I repeated mistakes (I can be a bit thick at times).

And I am not the only one who’s benefited from Andrew’s generosity. He helps others because, as far as I can tell, it’s just in his nature. Nothing makes this Running Blogfather happier than seeing this kind of generosity alive and well in the Running Blog Family—it’s really what a community like ours should be about.

I once got an email with this Andrew-ism in it (I always thought it should be on a t-shirt): “the heart awaits our courage”. mile-22.jpgI ask you—can a runner rock any more? Cheers to you, Andrew!

Do you know someone who we should feature here? It could be a blogger like Andrew, an elite athlete, or someone else. Just drop me a comment below to nominate a runner who you think rocks.

About Mark Iocchelli

Also known as the "Running Blogfather", I'm a 40-something marathoner who has beaten stress fractures and terrible shin splints. Now I'm running double the mileage with no pain - and I'm getting faster. I love to talk about running form and Arthur Lydiard. I also enjoy taking photographs, have a beautiful (and very patient!) wife, and am the proud father of two crazy kids. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or comments about the site.

  1. Dawn - Pink Chick on January 7th at 9:46 am

    I couldn’t agree more with you choice, Mark. Andrew has also given me some great tips and advice over the past year that helped me with my running.

  2. Mark on January 8th at 1:08 pm

    Mark, Nicely written article on a swell guy.

  3. Mike on January 8th at 5:04 pm

    As one of the ‘lucky’ souls who gets to run with this guy on a regular basis I must admit that he does rock despite the bad jokes and constant stream of running advice, most of which goes unheeded to my own detriment. A true Lydiardite and someone I’m lucky to call a friend.

  4. Jamie on January 13th at 2:28 pm

    I’ve been lucky enough to run with Andrew a few times now (and will again this weekend, matter o’ fact). Indeed a great guy. His blog inspired me to start my own.

  5. A Million Stories : Complete Running Network on January 27th at 10:56 pm

    […] Speaking of information, Mike over at Running With Lydiard has some wild stuff going on. Mike, like my coach, is an Arthur Lydiard follower. Besides the tremendous resource that Mike is, he also has a Mystery […]

  6. Mondo Gitane on May 20th at 12:06 am

    Hey, Mondo Gitane is the ultimate spanish runner and he rocks for sure!!

    Mondo Gitane’s last blog post..VIII Medio Maratón San Sebastian