Monumental Runner – Patrick Hughes

Name: Patrick Hughes

Self-described age group: Too young for masters, too old to beat the college kids

Residence: H Street NE

Occupation: Clean energy lobbyist

Why you run: I have a competitive personality, no matter what I’m doing, and that definitely keeps me working to improve myself. I do my best training when I have a goal race coming up. That being said, running also gives me time to think about things without the distractions of everyday life. I also run to connect with friends, whether it’s my old college teammates or the Argonaut Running Club squad, I love running as a social activity. Running is also a great way to get around the city (I often run-commute to and from work and “run” errands).

When did you get started running: I’m not especially coordinated… as a kid I wasn’t very good at soccer (I scored two goals one season, both accidental), or baseball, or basketball, or hockey… so I figured cross country would be a better fit and started running in junior high.

Have you taken a break from running:  I’ve had a few foot injuries that have sidelined me here and there, but for the most part I’ve been running consistently since I was 12.

Training shoe: New Balance 860

Coach or training group: Argonaut Running Club (Fridays at 6:00 p.m. at the Pug on H Street NE) 

The hardest race you’ve ever run: This year’s Boston Marathon was absolutely brutal. Rain, wind, cold… the trifecta of miserable conditions, but that’s part of running. You have to be just as mentally tough as you are physically in-shape. It’s all about how you perform on the day, and I was happy with how I responded to the conditions.

Most adventurous decision you’ve made with your running: After graduating from college I ran 111 miles from Rochester to Homer, N.Y. I ran alone with what I could carry in a small backpack and slept overnight in the woods. It took me 36 hours, and my mom had a giant pizza waiting for me at the finish. I slept for 14 hours on the couch, because I couldn’t physically make it up the stairs.

Running mentors: John Forster, my friend’s dad, was an elite marathon runner and was the one who encouraged me to start running. Unfortunately, John passed away from early onset Alzheimer’s, but I think about him all the time and thank him for giving me the gift of running.

My favorite place to run in the D.C. area is: The National Arboretum. It’s one of the most beautiful places to run in D.C. with very few cars and some decent hills.

Favorite local trail:  Anything in Rock Creek Park, but I have a sentimental attachment to the Glover-Archbold trail. I ran it every morning when I first moved to D.C. as a summer intern.

My best race was: In one of my final college races I won my conference 10k in a PR on my home track. It couldn’t have been scripted any better.

Favorite local race: Capitol Hill Classic 10k (coming up on May 20th), and specifically the H Street Cup competition between the various local running clubs (I’m looking at you, H Street Runners).

Ideal post-run meal: Duccini’s jumbo slice, cheese, extra red pepper flakes.

Favorite flavor of gel, gu, etc: Espresso Love 

Favorite running book: Once a Runner, by John L. Parker

Pet peeve: Off-leash dogs that chase you.

Goals: My wife and I are expecting a baby in July, so my goal is to keep running with an adjusted life schedule (and a running stroller!).

Your advice for a new runner: Find a group of runners to meet up with. We’re lucky in DC to have tons of groups for all different skill levels. Come run with the Argonaut Running Club!

Song in your head during a run: I always seem to get frustratingly short snippets of pop songs stuck in my head on loop, but my favorite song to hum on a run is Fur Elise. 

Have you dealt with a major injury: Just a few broken metatarsals, but thankfully nothing major. 

Running Quote: “Do not go gentle into that good night, / Old age should burn and rave at close of day; / Rage, rage against the dying of the light.” Dylan Thomas from his poem, “Do not go gentle into that good night” 

Why is the D.C. area a great place to be a runner: We have great weather (July and August excepted), tons of trails and loops for whatever you’re in the mood for (soft dirt trails, woods, hills, monuments), and you can’t beat D.C.’s running community.

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