Athlete of the Month – Shaun Donegan

What is your age, occupation, background, hobbies, and other sports?

I’m 37 years old, and I have been teaching 6th and 7th grade Technology for 15 years – 6 at Ballston Spa and 9 at Lansingburgh. My hobbies include restoring cool things with engines, BMX-ing, fixing things my kids break, and building things my wife wants.

When and why did you start running?

I started running at SUNY Oswego as a way to stay healthy, deal with stress, and avoid the “Freshman 15.” I was always fast as a kid but never ran a race until I decided to run a 5K through the intramurals and rec department. I won the race, clocking a mid-18 (even though my shoe fell off with ~200m to go) which was good enough to impress the track team. They asked me to join – to which I promptly said, “No thanks.” I have a fear of commitment (just ask my wife) and didn’t want to take running too seriously. When I moved back home, I joined the Saratoga Stryders and realized that I lived a mile from former high school classmate Jen Adams who was an All-American at Keene State. She was working with a professional coach at the time, so I ran every workout she did and that’s when I really started getting fast.

What’s your favorite race to date, and why?

Although most people think of me as a trail racer and mid-distance guy, my favorite race is the Route 50 Mile. I love the atmosphere, the post-race ice cream, and the parade! A close second is the ARE Adventure Race.

What is your approach to training? Do you follow a particular training plan, or do you work with a coach and if so, who?

For most of my career, I was usually just winging it with no real formal plan. At first, I raced myself into shape and then I just tagged along with the fast guys in the area. This year, however, I decided it was time to get on a schedule and have some accountability, and I asked Jeff Goupil if he would coach me. So far so good!

What is your weekly mileage in peak racing/marathon training season? What is your approach to the off season?

I run 40-60 miles a week tops, and always take off at least one day. My longest runs are 12-14 miles, and I get in one workout a week. In the off season, I snowshoe run as much as possible. For the last 4 years, I’ve been pulling my daughters in their tricked-out chariot sled!

During our cold winter days, do you brave poor weather conditions or stick indoors on the treadmill?

I run outside unless it’s below 10 degrees. If I have absolutely no desire to run on a treadmill. Instead, I go to the Y and rock out with my headphones to the point where I mildly make a scene.

List your PRs: Race, time, year

Keeping track of PR’s isn’t really my thing, but I’m somewhere in this range: Mile – 4:20, 5K – 15:23, 15K – 50:44, Half Marathon – 1:11, Escarpment 30K – 3:06

What is your favorite distance?

Between 10K – half marathon.

Your favorite shoe for training and racing?

Favorite trail shoe: La Sportiva Bushido. Favorite road training shoe: anything Hoka (I like shoes with a lot of drop.) Favorite road racing shoe: Nike Vapor Fly.

Ever run in a costume?

I’ve never raced in a costume, but I do dress up for runs around the holidays!

              Kim and Shaun; front row: Austin and Tanner

What are your favorite pre-race and post-race meals?

Pre-race: eggs and toast. Post-race: whatever is available.

What challenges / races / adventures are you planning for the coming year?

This summer I am riding my bicycle to NYC with my wife Kim along the Empire Trail. After that, there’s the Escarpment, Mount Tom, and possibly the Adirondack Distance Festival.

What is the greatest piece of advice you've ever received in the sport?

Listen to your body.

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