After running a spectacular 2:57 at the age of 63, Jared Mondry spent nearly the next two years sidelined with knee problems. Word spread that he may never be able to run again. Well, apparently no one told Jared that. He’s back to running – having won his age group at Grandma’s with a 3:27:52. He’s also currently leading the 65-69 age group in the Runner of the Year standings. The 66-year-old Minneapolis resident now has his sights set on the Twin Cities Marathon. Having run with Jared, off and on, for about a year now, I think it’s safe to say that his response when asked about his strengths is truly an understatement. (Here's a photo I took of my buddy Scott and Jared, who happened to be running together at Lemon Drop Hill in 2005)
In 2005 you ran 2:57:22 at Grandma’s at the age of 63. That places you just behind legendary Alex Ratelle’s 2:55:32 as a state age record. While it’s not your fastest marathon ever, was it your best?
Well to be mentioned in the same breath as Alex Ratelle is something I would never do myself – he is in a class by himself. But I did have a good run that day and things fell in place. I thought I had a shot at going sub-3 because I was running quite well that spring, but I didn't know it was going to happen until there were about 2 miles left in the race. Then I felt pretty sure I could get it and I was elated, to be quite candid.
It certainly was one of my best races. Perhaps others that compared for me would be my 2:39 at age 50 and 2:46 at age 57. I've always felt that I put everything on the line in every race I have ever run. And if you do that, no matter what the clock says, there are no bad races.
What is your fondest running memory?
That's a tough one. I think training with my Saturday morning crew – guys like Bruce Mortenson, Doug Suker, Rob Whetham, John Naslund, David Tappe, Paul Mullen, Jack Ankrum, Terry Stewart, Tony Mondry, etc. – and others like Dan Ripka, really just having a good long run with these guys. When one or more of them starts upping the ante, if you could hang with them, you'd all come in feeling totally energized by the whole experience. It's an experience and a feeling that's hard to explain and just about impossible to duplicate in any other way.
In general, what is your training philosophy?
My training approach has always been pretty unscientific and unstructured and perhaps a bit unorthodox in many respects. First off, I feel I am of quite modest talent, but one who tried to compensate with lots of miles and as much quality as my body would allow –never mileage for mileage sake is what I'm trying to say. I seldom log my miles, at least on a consistent basis. I would just kind of know how many I had from week to week and when I had a little "pop in the legs" I would make it as "up tempo" as I could handle for that day. Of course, sometimes I’d pay the price the next day.
What do you consider your strengths? Weaknesses?
I think that I am quite determined and have a pretty good ability to handle discomfort, and that can compensate to some extent for lesser ability or talent.
My weaknesses are impatience with injuries and I just don't possess a lot of speed. I'm a little bigger than most runners so I'm not really designed for running. Growing up, I was better at hitting people, so that’s why I was attracted to football long before I ever began running. I suppose it could be accurately said, I’m a football guy who tried to convert to distance running. The rewards from running are much different from any other sports I have played. There’s certainly a much more spiritual aspect to running. That and the liberating component to it are its greatest appeal to me. There is much to be said for any individual sport versus a team sport.
What are your PRs?
Oh, I ran a 2:31 when I was 41. I think that would put me in about 7th place with most of the guys I have trained with over the years, but I think I could take most of them in a street fight.
I don't know much about other distances and times but most happened in my early 40's. I do remember running Get In Gear on a cold windy day and it was my best 10K (33:33). I think it got me 5th place in the 40-44 division, so it was hard to get too egotistical about it. I might have hit a 1:13 in the midpoint of a marathon. I liked 25Ks a lot but can't say what my best was. I don't really know other times at other distances either.
What are your goals for the rest of 2008?
My goal for the rest of 2008 is to run a decent Twin Cities Marathon. Hopefully I’ll run faster than Grandma's (3:27), but marathons are always such a crap-shoot. I was injuried for the better part of 2 years. It was only then that I fully realized how relevant/significant running was. So another goal is to prevent that from happening again.
If you could run with any Minnesotan, past or present, who would it be?
I would like to turn the clock back a bit and run a marathon against all those guys in my Saturday morning group and my younger brother Jeff, when they were all having their worst day and I was having my best. Then they'd get an earful! But then I suppose I'd be obligated to buy the beer.