By: Kevin Brandon
Hi Tim, thanks for agreeing to do a member spotlight. Could you introduce yourself to the group? How did you end up in Philadelphia and when did you start running? Did a specific event compel you to become a runner?
I moved to Philadelphia 7 years ago to get my Master’s degree in sculpture at Tyler School of Art. I’ve been running my entire life and competed in Track/XC at Virginia Commonwealth University as a middle distance specialist from 2005-2009, back when they were a part of the CAA. Since graduating I fell in love with the roads and have been training for longer racing.
I was compelled to become a runner after blowing the doors off my cocky classmates in 3rd grade gym class during our mile run fitness test. The epic feeling of testing physical limits and surpassing expectation was an addicting feeling that continues to direct my motivations today.
Once you became involved in the sport, what sort of trajectory did your running career take? Could you walk us through day one to today?
Throughout school I was always the soccer player who ran track in the spring. I raced the mile up until college before moving down to the 800m. I didn’t quite have the endurance to hang with D1 milers, but I did have some 400m speed to try and compensate. I spent my time at VCU living with numerous international athletes from all over the globe. It was a house of broken English and determined runners, focused on the task at hand to stay in school. Running was our point of connection despite disparate cultures and upbringings. Throughout my running career I am searching primarily to connect with people willing to experience our unique form of painful meditation. I don’t quite have the wheels I used to, but getting out for a run will always be liberating.
Can you share a favorite race memory or general moment in running?
I have had numerous racing experiences where I surpassed my expectations, but the most powerful moments for me happen while on training runs involving random encounters. In high school, I can remember racing a bulldozer about a mile up a steep hill one early morning. In college I went to Kenya and experienced training runs in Ngong with over 100 athletes at altitude through muddy mountain trails. In Philadelphia, while running by a narrow alley way, I’ve was punched in the face by a young woman wearing boxing gloves. General moments of random adventure keep me moving.
How about a not so great moment?
My worst running experience was also one of my greatest. I ran the 2014 Boston marathon on zero fitness. The atmosphere was filled with redemption and Boston pride following the previous year’s attack. Hearing the roar of the crowd along with the generous downhill start, I decided to just go after it and see what happened. I made it just over halfway before my quads blew up, followed by a long painful walk home. Despite the horrible race tactics and fitness levels, I couldn’t help but smile during the excruciating 10 mile crawl to the finish line. The city crowd and race experience represented something larger than my own race ambitions and was truly inspiring.
Regarding your running future, what sort of goals do you have (near and long-term)?
I’ve lost a bit of my competitive edge recently, however I would like to get my marathon PR as low into the 2:30’s as possible. I have been taking a small break from training this fall after a series of hamstring issues. My main goal is to get healthy and feel good. I will probably get back in the spring for the Broad Street 10 Miler followed by a marathon late next year.
Can you tell us a bit about your professional life / What was it that drew you into that field of work? For those of us not so familiar with sculpture/fabrication, what is it you aspire to achieve in the field? Is there anywhere we could go to check out your work (website)?
Currently I teach sculpture courses at Temple University, while also managing a small art fabrication business focused on custom design services. These processes range from fine wood working and metal working, mold-making, to digital production. I also make and exhibit my own sculptures throughout Philadelphia and New York. I aspire towards this work to establish a degree of autonomy and flexibility in my career life. Making sculpture allows me to work on a variety of projects for a range of people and ideas that are ever changing. You can check out some of my projects on social media or through my website (www.timrusterholz.com)
What else might the group be interested to learn? Aside from running, do you have any other special skills/talents or hobbies/interests?
Whiskey — Beer — or both…