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Marathon Man: Pat O

Pounding the pavement with North Shore running buff Pat O’Connor

For residents of the Boston Metro area, April means one thing: Boston Marathon madness, which culminates this year on April 16. In honor of the event, Northshore talked with running enthusiast and sometime marathoner Pat O’Connor-head coach/proprietor of LunchTime Runner and  the Outreach Marketing and Promotions Coordinator for the Greater Boston Running Co. stores in Newburyport, Lexington, and Hingham-about his beloved sport.

What’s the toughest marathon you’ve ever run? My first marathon in Boston.  For an experienced runner, I had a rough last six miles. I did not respect the distance enough and set my goals too high.

Any marathon mishaps? During my second Boston experience, as I was cruising through Kenmore Square, I noticed some faces in the crowd wincing at me. I had felt that my toes were going numb for a few miles at that point. When I looked down at my feet and turned back to look behind me, I realized that my white shoes were red with blood and I was leaving bloody footprints.  I had lost all but two toenails. My shoes, as it turned out, were an entire size too small.

Where is your favorite place to run non-competitively? Middlesex Fells Reservation that encompasses the Medford/Winchester/Stoneham/Melrose area around Route 93. [It has] wooded rolling trails that go on for miles. I can run more than 15 miles without running the same path twice.

What makes ours such an attractive region for runners? …Regionally, with the change of seasons, there is a unique challenge to racing and training, especially in the fall. It is beautiful-especially for cross-country. The North Shore has great country-like roads and peaceful parks for running.

What is LunchTimeRunner?  …The philosophy is not only to help busy adults train for their goals in a comprehensive way with high quality and low-to-moderate quantity, but runners of all ages…Working with athletes of all abilities, I focus on individual fitness training levels, efficient technique, and flexibility and strength. The actual running in the program complements all the other aspects of running. Running can be a beneficial means of exercise, stress reduction, and mind and energy enhancement if it is approached the right way with some guidance.