Tales From The Trails:

Interview with a Marathoner

Hosted by Go Beyond Racing in partnership with Animal Athletics, the 2014 Forest Park Marathon is a race to benefit a good cause – the conservation and restoration of Portland’s 5,200-acre Forest Park. 

Warm fuzzies aside, it’s also a volatile, up-and-down trail run in the belly of a temperate rain forest. What does that feel like? Jeff Hoppert, who ran the 2013 Forest Park Marathon and is getting set to run the upcoming August 16 race, shares his experience.

Mikala: Jeff Hoppert, you're a runner. What drives you?    

Jeff: My eternal quest for health and fun. I've been competitive in different sports my entire life, but I didn't get into running until about 5 years ago. Running was always a struggle for me until I spent some time working on technique, and it made a world of difference. Now I run as much as I can, usually on trails and with our three dogs to try and tire them out.

M: Why did you first sign up for Forest Park Marathon in 2013?   

J: I jump at any opportunity to run deep in Forest Park. There's nothing better than being totally surrounded by the trees. It’s such an amazing place. The fact that the Forest Park Marathon is a fundraiser for the park makes it a no brainer.    

M: What other races have you competed in?   

J: I split my time between doing duathlons (running and cycling) and trail runs. I've competed in duathlons at US nationals and world championships this year. The trail runs I've done have all been in the NW - Portland, Bend, Orcas Island.   

M: How does the Forest Park Marathon compare?  

J: The course is always tough - there are always some big hills and there are lots of small ups and downs that make it hard to keep a good rhythm. I love the fact that it's pretty much completely shaded, which is a huge help.   

M: What is your most memorable 2013 Forest Park Marathon moment?   

J: Finding out for the first time how tough the Trillium Trail is! I'd never been on it before, and it was a shocker. It's not very long, but I recommend everyone save some energy for it.

M: Any other advice for first-time Forest Park Marathoners?   

J: Stay relaxed as much as possible and pace yourself wisely. A marathon is a long race, so break it down into smaller goals like getting to the next trail crossing or aid station. I always try to save some energy for the last 5 miles, but they always hurt anyway! And watch out for those tree roots - they seem to grab at your feet more as the race goes on.   

M: Would you recommend the Forest Park Marathon to a fellow long-distance runner? 

J: Definitely! It's a great race to just immerse yourself in a totally forget about the world. The race is always a challenge, but the amazing scenery makes it a Zen-like run. 

The 2014 Forest Park Marathon is Saturday, August 16 and fast approaching. Register now and reap high rewards – for yourself and Forest Park. 

Registration closes August 13 or until filled (100 participants).

Want to show your support without running a marathon? Click here to volunteer! 

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