Interview: Tim Tollefson

Tim Tollefson is a full time physiotherapist living, working and training at Mammoth Lakes in California. Tim combines his working life with the life of an elite marathoner and currently holds a PR of 2:18:26 which he gained at the California International Marathon in 2011 – this qualified Tim to run at the Team USA Olympic Trials Marathon in January 2012 where he finished 79th in a time of 2:26:59.

Tim is now focusing on bettering his PR at the marathon distance and becoming a real competitor for Olympic selection at the next Trials Marathon in 2015/16. Keep your eyes on this guy, he’s certainly got the drive, determination and ambition to go far!

When did you start running and did you have any particular reasons for starting?

My first memories of organized running date back to the 5th grade.  We were enrolled in the Presidential Fitness Program and by hitting a certain level you would be sent a signed letter from President Bush Sr.  I think in the end I ran the mile around 6:15, placed first overall in our school and was hooked from then on.  I have since destroyed the letter…

If you could run with and/or race anyone, anywhere who would it be and where? Over what distance and on which surface?

Katy Perry, in Japan, over 800m at night through the streets of Tokyo.

Running wise, who do you look up to and who has inspired you?

I look up to my wife, Lindsay (well not literally…she’s only 5’3”).  She worked two jobs to support us while I attended graduate school and still managed the training needed to run 2:43:00 in the marathon and qualify for the US Olympic Marathon Team Trials.

Athletes like my coach, Mike McKeeman, inspire me for never giving up regardless of age.  He has steadily improved himself over the years and just a few months ago at the age of 35 won the Philadelphia Marathon in an almost PB of 2:17:47.  Runners like Mike, Deena [Kastor] and Meb [Keflezighi] motivate me to hopefully continue competing for another 10 years.

What are your favourite training conditions and are they the same as your favourite racing conditions?

My favorite training conditions are 50-60 degrees and sunny.  My favorite racing conditions are 40-45 degrees and overcast.

What is your fondest memory of running and, conversely, your worst?

Fondest memories are every Christmas morning when my younger brother and I invade the local golf course for an uninterrupted run along pristine grass.

Worst memory was fracturing my foot in High School during the Cross County Sections Meet secondary to favoring an already present tibial stress fracture.  I painfully faded outside of our scoring team and we missed qualifying for the State Meet by one point!

Where do you see yourself in six years?

Professionally I see myself as but one part of the movement to turn Mammoth Lakes, CA into the premier high altitude training center in the world. Personally, I would like to be an 8:30 steepler and sub 2:14 marathoner.

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