Runner Spotlight: Antonio Eppolito

When did you begin running and why?

Alas, the origin myth is not that unique among us lifers. The year–1982, freshman year of high school, the place–in upstate NY. At the time a diminutive, 5 feet 90 pounds, I was wise to avoid contact sports. I found a home among the other misfits in cross country where you might say I learned to punch above my weight.

How did you find out about DCRR and when did you join?

Having lived in 7 locations I’ve always run with the local running club. This is by far the best club.

What are you training for right now?

I tend to be a slave to the process. I suspect I’m not alone among club members in that I don’t necessarily need a target race on the calendar to get out there everyday.

What is the toughest run or race you’ve ever participated in?

The Pike’s Peak Ascent Half Marathon Trail Race in Colorado, finishing at 14,000 feet, a race of attrition against hypothermia, sun exposure, fuel depletion, dehydration, and hypoxia.

What’s your favorite part about being a DCRR member?

The year round race series is obviously a great value as is the camaraderie. I’m especially impressed by the number of national class runners among the grand master age groups that we have.

What’s the most important lesson running has taught you?

I discovered early on that I needed to suffer a little bit everyday in order to feel alive, in order to justify having gotten out of bed so to speak. Once I’ve put a few miles behind me the rest of the day is gravy. I suspect that mantra resonates with many of you.

What’s your favorite route in the area?

I’m going to put in a plug for the Henson Creek Trail in PG county for anyone looking to freshen things up with a novel route. Look it up!

What race day traditions do you have?

For a 5K the ritual hasn’t changed since high school cross country–warm up jog the course, race the course, warm down jog the course–a 3 course meal.

What’s your proudest running moment?

There have been the assortment of PRs as we all have; but more important than that is the solidarity that links my lifetime of running companions across the whole spectrum from Olympic Champions to those just off the couch.

What’s your life like outside of running?

I’m a physician on active duty in the Air Force. My wife, Fay, also runs in the club. We met in NOVA running club back in the day. I know, it’s cliché, we’re a type.

What is one thing you wouldn’t run without?

I have become particularly attached to my iPod, all podcasts, no music, by the way.