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Joe Shea's Running Story Posted on June 10, 2014

Running is a lifetime sport. Whether you are running collegiality or running to stay in shape, there is a place for you! This month we sat down with long time St. Louis area runner, Joe Shea! He shares his running story below! Enjoy! 


MS: Your crew has a nickname for you. What is it?

JS: The Bull.  Given after I went out and ran 20M and finished strong one day…after not running any long runs for over 4 months.  Somebody said to look at me because I was running like a bull.  Name stuck


MS: You are very loyal to Big River Running Co. in St. Louis. How has their store impacted your running and life?

JS: Started in probably the 2nd or 3rd year that Big River was in existence.  I was looking at the race calendar and saw a bunch of races in South St. Louis (where I grew up) at parks where I ran as a kid or played soccer or baseball.  Tilles Park, Frances Park, MacMile.  Then found the store was at Devonshire and Macklind – next to where a bike shop used to be that I got my first Schwinn from when I was 6 years old.

On doing some races, discovered the one owner was a fellow SLUH alumnus, Ben.  So now I liked the store on 2 fronts – promoting South St. Louis and SLUH boy. 

I had bought shoes from other places in St. Louis, and while they were never not nice, they definitely were not as welcoming, upbeat, and all-inclusive as BRR.  And, they KNEW their shoes.  The discount they gave White Team members early on helped also.  You were always made to feel welcome at the store and their events.  And their events were always fun.

I did a training team for Lewis and Clark, met a few people who with me would start the Wolf Pack, met more Big River employees – Matt, Hamel (another SLUH boy), and all were universally friendly, fun to be around, and supportive of the running community at large. 

So, why give my business to strangers or corporations, it became much easier to be loyal to friendly people who support you.  Haven’t bought a pair of shoes from anywhere since I started with BRR, again, in their 2nd or 3rd year of business. 


MS: What's your proudest running accomplishment

JS: Tough question -4:40.4 mile as sophomore in High school is up there, as are 3 varsity cross country letters

-Probably would have to be qualifying for Boston Marathon for 55 year-old division. I did my fastest marathon as a 39 year old (3:35) and was able to keep same speed until I qualified as 54 year old (3:37).  The qualifying time is a great accomplishment as well as keeping constant speed for 15 years.


MS: Do you have any future running goals?

JS: I told my wife I’m retired from marathoning, but that 3:55 for 60 year old to qualify for Boston looks real juicy.  And since I was in the finish area when the bombs went off in 2013, I’d like to return and run again.  Guess I’m semi-retired…future goal is to re-qualify. But longer, fuzzier goal is to still be running when I’m 60, 65, 70, and running well. 


Rapid fire!

MS: Favorite post race food?

JS: Donuts


MS: Funniest thing to happen to you on a run?

JS: Probably when I was running in New York city, from hotel to Central Park.  Got lost, I mean lost on the way back to the hotel.  And the streets were numbered, so it was hard to do.  But I got all turned around, and in those days had no cell phone, no GPS watch, and no money on me.  I laughed at how I zoned out and wasn’t paying attention to where I was, where I went, and where I was going.


Short shorts or long shorts?

JS: Long, my thighs are too meaty for split


Do you drink Stag beer before or after your run?

JS: I have done both Hate to have that aluminum can taste in my mouth during a run, so will vote for after


MS: What got you into running?

JS: I always ran as a kid.  Soccer, baseball, anything.  Went out for cross-country and won my first race as a freshman.  Hooked for life at that point.


MS: Did you play sports growing up?

JS: We spent all our time outside.  Organized I played soccer, baseball, a little basketball.  But in our free time we played everything: baseball, softball, kickball, touch football in the alley behind the house, bottlecaps, fuzzball, Indian ball, wiffleball.  Anything with a ball, outside. 


MS: Did you ever think running would be a life time pursuit?

JS: No, I graduated high school and then promptly took about 20 years off.  But, I do now believe it!


MS: How many miles a week do you run?

JS: A typical week is 20-30.  Usually 5-6 days a week.  Marathon training will push to 50/week, although will kick that up higher for next marathon.


MS: What's your inspiration to get out the door?

JS: I like to eat.  The more I run the more I can eat.  Plus, I want to stay active, in life, in general.  Running is my fountain of youth.


by Mark Spewak

1 Comment

Lilian on On 06/05 at 02:34 PM

Taking the ovreivew, this post is first class

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