Alex Varner started competing in cross-country and track at Branson. He ran cross-country for 4 years and competed in track as a senior.
After graduating from Branson Alex attended Davidson College where he continued to compete in cross-country and track.
In recent years Alex has continued to train and excel in races while he holds down a full-time job. I caught up with Alex after the Boston Marathon.
By Liz and Linda Gill
LG: I know that you had to drop out of Boston last year. What is your history with the marathon? Was Boston your first complete marathon?
AV: In 2012 I dropped out of Boston at mile 14. I had been dealing with a foot injury for the previous 6-7 weeks and I just didn’t have the fitness to run any farther so I treated Boston like a long run. That being said, I was really happy that I had planned to stop at mile 14 because the temperature was 85 degrees and the conditions were miserable.
I have run two previous marathons, both times I ran the San Francisco Marathon to qualify for the Boston Marathon. The first one was in July of 2011 when I finished 2nd in 2:35.00. The second one was in July of 2012 when I placed 2nd in 2:27.15.
Last monday I ran the 2013 Boston Marathon and I finished in 26th place in 2:21.40, the 14th US runner and the 4th California runner.
LG: You recently ran a PR in the 10km at the San Francisco State Distance Carnival placing 8th in 29:53.34. What was your previous 10km PR?
AV: My previous PR was 30:53 at the Marin 10km in 2012. I had not run a 10km on the track since college and I knew I was in shape to blow my old mark out of the water.
LG: You have had a lot of success at the Dipsea race. How many times have you won the Dipsea Fastest Runner Award ? What is your best time?
AV: My best time in the Dipsea is 48:54 from 2010. I have been the fastest finisher for the past four years. (2009-2912)
LG: What is your next race before the 2013 Dipsea?
AV: My next race will be the Bay to Breakers and possibly the Marin 10km.
LG: What do you attribute for your improvement since college and your success in the last few years?
AV: My improvement since college and my success in the last few years is mainly due to consistency, as well as mentality. I didn’t run very well in college because I was injured a lot, but once I graduated and I was able to start running more for myself, I found a lot more freedom in the training I could do. I was able to experiment with different things and figure out what worked for me. The most important thing has been that I have stayed consistent and healthy. I took time off immediately if I felt something was wrong. I think I’ve been injured once, for 5-6 weeks with a foot issue, in the last 5-6 years. Being able to put together such a solid body of work has really helped me. It has tought me about my physical limits as well as my mental limits. Since college, I have also found that my enjoyment of the sport has increased greatly. I run because I want to and because I love it. In college running was a chore at times, something that I had to do which made me resent it from time to time. Now that I am training on my own and with others who are no longer in school, I have noticed that we are all doing it because we want to be out there and there is no resentment or sense of obligation. I think that has made a huge difference as well.
LG: What are your running goals in the next few years?
AV: This year I am planning on running the Cranmore Hill Climb in July in an effort to qualify for the US Mountain Running Team which will compete in Poland this fall. I have also signed up for my first 50k (Headlands 50k) in August. This will be my first attempt at the distance so I am treating the race as a learning experience but I hope to run well. After running a 2:21 at Boston my longer term goal would be to take a shot at qualifying for the 2016 Olympic Trials in the marathon.
Ranmarin would like to thank Alex Varner for taking the time to answer our questions. We wish Alex continued success with all of his running goals!