Andrew, thanks for agreeing to do an interview with us. Can you settle a pressing question I have? Since I’ve known you, I’ve heard you answer to a few different nicknames. Do you prefer Hoogie, Hoogs or something else entirely?
I have had a lot of nicknames over the years. A lot of people know me by Hoogie or Hoogs but Andrew is also fine.
Can you tell us what brought you to Philadelphia and how it was that you first came to run for PRTC?
My sister and good friend from college both lived in Philly. I had run the marathon and visited a few times. One day I woke up and decided that I would make the move and so I did a couple months later. I reached out to the group over Facebook and Justin responded not long after. I wasn’t in great shape but he convinced me to train for the marathon with him and we both ended up running personal bests, that was 2014.
When did you become a runner? Did a specific event compel you to take up the sport?
Nothing specific led me to running. I was always a little overweight and had bad asthma. Everyone at my junior high school would run track because they did not limit how many school sports you could participate in during a season. I was never that good and would run the 200-meter dash. At the very end of my last season I tried the 800-meter run and finished third. After that, I ran track every season of high school and realized I was a lot better at long distance than sprinting.
After you picked up running, how did your career unfold? Could you take us through day one to today?
My sophomore year of high school I improved dramatically in the mile and two mile. After that it was slow going for a while, but I managed to break 4:30 for the mile and 10:00 for the two mile before graduation. In college, I ran for the University of New Hampshire (UNH) where I ran everything from the 1500 meter to the 10k. I was a member of a couple of conference championship XC teams and was a team co-captain my senior year. Since college, I have kept running and most have focused on the half marathon and marathon.
A few months ago, you became PRTC’s second satellite member. Can you tell us about life in New Haven, Connecticut? What was the impetus behind your recent move and how are you enjoying New England?
My girlfriend Hayley got a position at Yale. I work from home now for a research firm so it was an easy move for us to make. I run almost all my runs alone but this was basically how it was for me before I moved to Philly when I was up in Maine. I don’t mind New Haven but both Hayley and I much prefer Philly. Her position is two years and we will definitely be moving somewhere else after but no idea where.. maybe back to Philly.
Regarding your running future, what are your near and long-term goals?
I think Justin and I answer this question the same right now. Sub 2:30 marathon is a must! I am also pretty close to the 70-minute mark for the half.
Can you tell us about a race you are particularly proud of or a general favorite running memory?
That would be the first track race of my senior year of outdoor track. It was the only time I broke 15 minutes for 5k. I also out kicked U-Maine’s best runner in the last 100 meters.
How about the opposite? Any epic blow-ups or horror stories? I seem to recall something about a cemetery.
Yes… Two weeks after moving to Philadelphia I was running after dark in a cemetery. The grounds crew didn’t bother to check for people before locking up and trapped me inside. The fences were high and I had a nagging leg injury so I couldn’t climb. I eventually found a loose brick from one of the tombs and used it to dig my way underneath the fence and to freedom!
Aside from traditional racing accomplishments, you’ve also had some impressive training streaks. What is the most days you’ve ever run in a row? Best challenge that included beer? Favorite discovered beer on that challenge?
I ran at least 5 miles every day for an entire year in 2012. I kept that streak going until around day 375 then stopped. In 2015 I attempted to run every day and drink a different beer every day. I kept that up for about 95 days before missing a day. It got pretty hard because I was trying to drink a beer for a different brewery each day. I am not sure about my favorite beer because I honestly try way too many types to keep track (but not an alcoholic, I swear!). I have always been a big fan of IPAs but during the streak, I really began to appreciate stouts. If you want to try something different in Philly I recommend Crime and Punishment Brewery. It is Russian inspired so they have some real funky stuff and all their beers taste completely different.