Western alumni finished first and second in the Seattle Half-Marathon on Sunday, Nov. 29. Dylan Peterson, who finished first with a time of 1:14:25 and long-time friend Chip Jackson, who finished second with a time of 1:16:15, were both cross country runners at Western. Both have since moved from the Pacific Northwest to pursue other careers. Jackson, who graduated in 2014, now works at a software startup in Los Angeles. Peterson, a 2013 graduate, is currently teaching in Anchorage, Alaska. The two recently reunited to run the half marathon over the Thanksgiving vacation.
Q: What made you decide to do Seattle’s half-marathon?
I think this is actually the fourth or the fifth time that I’ve done it. I did it back in high school, growing up and I did it once while I was at Western. I was planning on doing a full marathon and I was planning on coinciding the trip home for Thanksgiving with the marathon, and that event works out perfectly for doing that, but then I ended up getting injured back in August and September so I decided to do a half-marathon with less training involved. I just kind of switched, I was signed up for the full but decided to go for the half.
Q:How long did you train for before the marathon?
A: I put in a couple months, two or three months of pretty decent training. Sometimes it’s pretty hard to train up here. The past month has been a lot of snow on the ground, and sometimes it’s been pretty icy and it’s dark pretty early. It’s pretty odd but it’s been a lot of lonely runs with a headlamp, and cleats or studs to keep you from slipping. It’s definitely not a runner’s environment up here.
Q:What was involved with your training for the marathon?
A: Just like for all different types of running events, there are different what you would call periods of training, or periodized training. I would start just kind of getting my weekly volume up, and once I kind of had a base fitness, then I started doing more strength-type runs, kind of trying to hit a target pace. Then the past three or four weeks I’ve been kind of doing relatively faster stuff on the track to just simulate the speed and make sure my actual race pace is more comfortable than it would be if I hadn’t run a pace that’s faster than it, if that makes sense.
Q: What sparked your passion for running?
A:The jist of it was I, selfishly, have always been good at it. When we would do mile time trials in P.E. I would typically do well in those. My father was a runner, not a competitive runner, but a recreational runner, and he kind of encouraged me to go out for cross-country and track in high school. Ever since then, running has kind of been a positive addiction.
Q:Did you guys expect to finish first and second in the marathon?
A: No, and normally the time that it takes to win this race is faster than what I ran, and it’s usually faster than what Chip finished in. There was just nobody there to kind of like push and compete with. Chip’s been dealing with an injury and I think I was fortunate to be on a little bit of a different fitness level than Chip, so I was on another level with him, and he was on a different level with everyone else in the race. I do believe both of us could have run faster had we been surrounded by other people.
Were you unhappy with your time?
A: know it’s kind of weird, because you win a race and you’re discouraged. I’m not unhappy, no, I wouldn’t say I’m unhappy. I guess I’m content. I wouldn’t say that I’m happy because I kind of trained for a while with this in mind and so I had a gage for where my fitness was at. When I was at Western, I ran a minute and a half faster on this course and I took sixth place. I think for me to be disappointed is pretty nit-picky.
Do you expect to compete again next year?
A: That’s a good question, that’s like a life question because I don’t even know where I’m going to be in the world. I’d say if I’m on the West Coast, and I’m still running. In my head, I would like to, but maybe the full [marathon]. I hope to someday to try and win the full, because that’s always kind of been a dream of mine to win the full marathon.
Q: What made you decide to do Seattle’s half-marathon if you’re in Los Angeles?
A: It was a good way to see old friends, and just being on Thanksgiving weekend, I wanted to come home anyways. It was kind of like the perfect race where a lot of my old friends were going to be in town. It was mostly a way to connect with my friends in Seattle.
Q: Have you run marathons with Dylan before?
A: I haven’t run any marathons [with Dylan]. We’ve both done the Seattle Half-Marathon before, but I don’t know that we were in the same race. This was our first half-marathon together.
Q: Are you and Dylan usually competitive against each other?
A: In college we were very competitive. We lived together for a year and we trained together for five years. We were always pushing each other. It was interesting to get to race with him again.
Q: How long did you train for?
A: For this half-marathon, I was injured for most of this year, so I only got in like maybe 15 weeks of specific training for this race.
Q: What was your injury?
A: It was achilles tendonitis.
Q: How long does that usually take to recover from?
A: It depends quite a bit. I had been running on it kind of injured for like six months and that really screwed it up, so it’s still kind of bothering me three months since I’ve started trying to fix it. It’s been the worst injury I’ve ever dealt with.
Q: Did you expect to finish first and second?
A: No, not really. I knew Dylan had a solid shot at winning it. He said his training was going really well, I knew he was going to be up there. For myself, I was just kind of hanging back, and let the lead go out ahead of me. About three miles in I started feeling really good and I moved up into second. It was a surprise for me that I was able to still be competitive after I had been injured for so long.
Q: What sparked your passion for running?
A: Back in high school, I got into it because I was pretty good at it, and I like being good at stuff. In college it kind of turned into the community around it. It was just a lot of fun hanging out with the guys on the team, going to meets with them and training with them.
Q: Did you run for Western during your entire time here?
A: Yes, the cross country team here was a big reason I initially came to Western.
Q: What were some of the challenges that you faced in the marathon?
A: Once Dylan and I got out front there, I guess it was just each of us out there by ourselves, for 10 miles. We were just trying to keep pushing and stay focused and get the most out of my body during the race.
Q: Do you think you’ll compete in the half marathon next year?
A: Yeah I hope so. It’s been fun coming back this year, like last year I was third and it wasn’t really a big deal to me. This year it was kind of more fun, and I recognized a lot of people there. It feels like there’s a good community there, that would be the main reason I’d keep coming back.