Monumental Runner: Marty Horan


Name: Marty Horan

Self-described age group: Old guys who still think they’re teenagers (aka 55-59 age group) 

Residence: Gaithersburg, Md.

Occupation: IBM Summit Program Manager – DC Hub (follow me on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn)

Volunteer roles in the running world: Currently, professional race packet stuffer for Parks Half Marathon and Pike’s Peek 10K with the world’s greatest running club, the Montgomery County Road Runners Club (MCRRC)! Previous MCRRC VP & Board member, previous Race Director, Kentlands Lakelands 5K & MCRRC Firebirds Mile.

Why you run: Many reasons… health, fitness, sanity, therapy, camaraderie, and… so I can have second helpings guilt free! To me this question is like asking why do I brush my teeth?  Running is in my DNA. When I run, I feel connected to our world and more hopeful about our future. I run because I’m alive! 

When did you get started running: I started running after college when I began working as a software development programmer for IBM in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. in 1981. There was a lunchtime running group and I tagged along with co-workers. A few weeks later, I ran my first 5K road race and I was hooked!  A couple years later in Montreal 1983, I ran my first of 25 marathons. First words after crossing the finish line, “Never again!”… How quickly we forget the pain! 🙂

A year later in 1984, I met my wife, Nannette, at the Mad Dash 5K in Rhinebeck, N.Y. Nannette’s introductory words to me after the race were, “Hi, nice to meet you. Will you pull down your pants?” True story and that’s the short version. Ask me about the longer version when you see me at a future MCRRC race!

Have you taken a break from running:  Yes, for Achilles surgery, arthroscopic knee surgery, and a variety of other relatively minor injuries. 

Training shoes: I’ve run in ALL brands of running shoes. I love trying new running shoes and rotate frequently. My favorite training shoe is EVERY brand of running shoe! This morning I ran on the Seneca Creek State Park trails in size 9 Saucony Peregrine trail shoes (because I know RunWashington readers are just dying to know…LOL!)

Coach or training group: Currently self-coached. Train with MCRRC, Fleet Feet Gaithersburg, and also love to run with my speedy Kentlands neighborhood training pals when our schedules sync up. 

The hardest race you’ve ever run: 1984 New York City Marathon with race temps climbing to 80 degrees and 90 percent humidity. Felt like running a marathon in a sauna!

Most adventurous decision you’ve made with your running: Like a fish out of water… With minimal track experience, I’ve run a couple high profile track relay events against collegiate and national caliber runners with surprisingly successful results. I picked my teammates well! Millrose Games in 1997 at Madison Square Garden 4×400 meter relay taking a tumble but still managing first place for our IBM corporate team. I also ran 800 meter leg of a distance medley relay with IBM corporate team finishing first overall and winning a gold watch at Penn Relays in 2003. 

Running mentors: My two awesome coaches when I lived in Southern California for 8 years. Dan “negative splits” Ashimine with Gardena Reebok and Ed “always leave the track feeling like you can do one more interval” Avol with Manhattan Beach Track Club. 

My favorite place to run in the D.C. area: I LOVE running in Seneca Creek State Park in Gaithersburg. It’s about a mile from my home and my early morning runs there connect me with nature and our universe!

Favorite local trail:  Seneca Creek State Park ~ my little slice of heaven! 

My best race was: 2:32 PR for 2nd overall at 1994 Hartford Marathon during a very challenging period of my life.

I moved 3,000 miles, started a new job, was building a new house, our 2nd daughter Camille was just born, and my dad was battling cancer. Channeled my stress and raw emotions into that race and it was a truly memorable experience! 

Favorite local race: Kentlands Lakelands 5K. It’s just a mile jog from my home to the start line of this idyllic neighborhood race. What could be more convenient than that?

Ideal post-run meal: French toast and coffee!

Favorite flavor of gel, gu, etc: I’m not a big gel or gu fan. I prefer bananas instead. Favorite flavor of banana?… Banana, of course!

Pet peeve: People who have pet peeves!

Goals: Stay healthy and keep moving forward! 

Your advice for a new runner:  Go to Fleet Feet Gaithersburg and get properly fitted for running shoes and gear. Join the greatest running club in the world: MCRRC. Put one foot in front of the other and just do it!

I think George Sheehan said it best: “It’s very hard in the beginning to understand that the whole idea is not to beat the other runners. Eventually, you learn that the competition is against the little voice inside you that wants you to quit.”

Favorite running books:  Running is My Therapy by Scott Douglas. The Runner’s Guide to the Meaning of Life by Amby Burfoot. What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami (gift from my daughter Maddy… Thx Monkaroo!). The Self-Made Olympian by Ron Daws. Running and Being by George Sheehan.

Songs in your head during a run: Changes frequently…. Some current favorite tunes include: Van Morrison’s Come Running, Maggie Rogers’ Light On, Phoenix‘s Lisztomania, Livingston Taylor’s Life is Good, Steely Dan’s Reelin’ in the Years, and John Williams’ Olympic Fanfare!

Have you dealt with a major injury: Yep, multiple. Achilles and knee injuries. Currently healthy and enjoying every step! 

Running quotes: “There’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing.” some crazy runner
Growth and comfort do not coexist.” IBM CEO Ginni Rometty

Why is the D.C. area a great place to be a runner:  It’s like a mini United States here with a plethora of rural and urban options, monuments, parks, mountains and beaches nearby, along with a variety of running clubs and other fitness options. There is literally something for every type of runner, hiker, walker and fitness enthusiast imaginable!  Are you heading out for a run yet? 🙂 


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