Today’s guest is someone that has seen his hard work and consistency really pay off over the last few years, knocking almost an hour off of his marathon times between 2017 and 2019.
But even more impressive is the amount of money he has raised in support of the Muscular Dystrophy Association.
This conversation is long overdue and I’m excited to go a few easy miles with Ches Hutchinson.
Shedding The Weight
Ches Hutchinson wasn’t always a runner.
He had gained weight slowly over the years and got up to 240 pounds.
In an effort to shed some of the weight, he began to run during his lunchtime.
Early on in his running, he would run the occasional 5k race for fun.
In 2011, he ran his longest distance, a 7k, and lack of training along with new shoes led to an injury.
Once he recovered from that injury he worked his way up to running a 5k every single day.
Ches assumed that if he could run a 5k per day then he should be able to train to run a marathon.
Upon seeing what a marathon training plan entailed, Ches realized he would need to add quite a bit more mileage.
Falling In Love With The Marathon
It was during marathon training that Ches really fell in love with running.
He found that he especially enjoyed the extra mileage and pushing himself on the harder days.
Over the course of training, he also lost the last 50 pounds he had and has successfully kept it off ever since.
Ches set an ambitious goal of running a 3:30 for his first marathon.
He fell a bit short, but still finished in 3 hours and 45 minutes.
Ches had no doubt that he would do more marathons going forward and had some big goals in mind.
MDA Team Momentum
Ches initially connected with the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) through a co-worker.
The co-worker had a son that attended a camp every summer specifically for kids that had various muscle diseases.
The camp has a policy that once a camper is over the age of 12 that the volunteer assigned to them must be of the same gender.
Each year they struggled to get an adequate number of male volunteers.
Ches took this opportunity to help out and he fell in love with both the organization and the kids.
He went back for 7 years in a row.
Once he became a father and had his own family leaving for summer to volunteer became more challenging.
Ches still stayed connected to Team Momentum and continued to fundraise in whatever way he could.
Since family commitments didn’t allow Ches the time to volunteer for MDA, he found other ways to still make a difference.
He found out that MDA had a charity team for various races.
Ches jumped at the chance to combine his passion for running with his passion for the organization.
Initially, he was intimidated at the thought of fundraising, but he realized it was as simple as just asking.
Most people are more than happy to donate.
Ches has found that it’s helpful to share personal stories, how he is connected to the organization, and why he does it.
BQ Or Bust
Ches has shaved almost an hour off of his marathon time in a couple of short years.
In 2017, he ran one of his slowest marathon times at 3:55.
His mileage before working on a BQ was about 35 miles per week and he gradually upped his weekly mileage to around 50.
He would typically run 6 days per week, with 4 runs being easy and 2 runs being hard workouts.
At the Twin Cities Marathon in 2018, Ches ran a PR when he finished in 3:30.
The drop in time was enough to motivate him to keep pushing and in June of 2019, he dropped another 15 minutes off of his time.
A BQ was in reach and Ches finally achieved his goal when he ran a 3-hour flat marathon in October of 2019.
He ran his Boston qualifying time 3 weeks after the 2020 cutoff and unfortunately, he didn’t have enough of a buffer to get him into the 2021 race.
Once Ches realized that his qualifying time wouldn’t be sufficient to get him into Boston he reached out to Team Momentum.
His friends at the foundation knew how hard he had worked to qualify and how much time and energy he had volunteered over the years.
Ches found out they had saved a bib for him just in case he wanted to run as a charity runner.
He is excited to not only experience Boston for the first time this year but to also represent MDA in the process.
2021 is proving to be a busy year for Ches, not only because of Boston, but his wife is expecting their fourth child.
Life may be busier than ever, but Ches is still fully committed to training.
Whenever he is lacking in motivation, he reminds himself how bad he wants it.
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