GOTTA RUN At 40-plus, their love of competition keeps them in fast company

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Most of the 200 or so athletes competing at the eighth annual Adidas Boston Indoor Games tonight traverse the track circuit seeking fame and a good living. But a handful, including about a dozen contestants in the Masters Mile - whose contestants are all 40 or older - race purely for the competition. Here's a bit more on five local Masters entrants.

, 43

Miles per week:

Why do you run? "I like the competition, and I like the social aspect.”

What would you do if you didn’t?
"Play tennis."

Greatest achievement, outside of family: ”Going to law school at night while raising my kids.”

A bit of runner's wisdom:
"You have to prepare yourself mentally to run as hard as you can for the distance of the race."

What don't runners understand? "That your body has certain limitations and you shouldn't push past those."

What don't people understand about runners?
"Why we have to go out there in 10-degree weather, because we just can't sit still."

The question I should have asked: "Do I do my running by myself or with people?"

The answer? "I prefer to run with people, but unfortunately I do most of my running by myself."


Miles per week: 25-30. “I’ve had a number of injuries ”

Why do you run? "For competitive reasons.”

What would you do if you didn’t? "When I am no longer competitive, I will retire from running. But I will continue strength training, and maybe some swimming, just for conditioning."

Greatest achievement, outside of family:
"Just the fact that I’m running. I was born with cerebral palsy and walked with braces for the first seven years of my life.”

A bit of runner's wisdom: "Quality is always better than quantity."

What don't runners understand? "That it's not about numbers. It's about meeting your personal goals."

What don't people understand about runners? "Why we continue to do something that physically, in terms of the mechanics, is not good for you."

The question I should have asked: "Why I continue to run despite all the obstacles I've had to overcome."

The answer? "Because I am competitive. The first day, the very first day I put on shoes, it just clicked."

, 45

Miles per week: 40-50

Why do you run? "Because I still have a passion for it."

What would you do if you didn’t? "Play piano or study Japanese."

Greatest achievement, outside of family:
"I was on the team that produced Dragon NaturallySpeaking, the world’s best speech-recognition program, in eight languages."

A bit of runner's wisdom: "Train consistently, and believe in your training."

What don't runners understand? "The aging process."

What don't people understand about runners? "That competitive runners are in the sport to compete, not just to finish."

The question I should have asked: "How does your wife put up with you?"

, 42

Miles per week: About 65

Why do you run? "The competition, the camaraderie, and the physical challenge."

What would you do if you didn’t? "I'd do another sport. Maybe pickup basketball or swimming or biking."

Greatest achievement, outside of family: "In running, I think it was setting the world record relay for masters last year, with my teammates."

A bit of runner's wisdom: "In training, always alternate between hard and easy, so you can have the intensity in your hard days."

What don't runners understand? "Nonrunners."

What don't people understand about runners? "Why are we running when it's 25-below wind-chill factor, and I can't always explain it."

The question I should have asked: "Are you in peak shape for the race?"

The answer? "Almost."

, 41

Miles per week: "Ten, but I cross-train a lot."

Why do you run? "I love to compete. But also, there is a special camaraderie in a running group, like my team, Cambridge Sports Union, that is built over years of weekendlong runs in the countryside."

What would you do if you didn’t? "The other things I do, which is bike, cross-country ski, and swim."

Greatest achievement, outside of family: "Getting my black belt in judo when I was 20."

A bit of runner's wisdom: "Cross-train intelligently, to use your body in a variety of different ways."

What don't runners understand? "That there are many more activities out there to use your body for."

What don't people understand about runners? "The physical thrill of pushing to your limits."

The question I should have asked:: "What was the most exciting physical challenge you've had?"

The answer?
"Our two-month honeymoon trip trekking in Nepal and bicycling across Tibet."