The Fastest Runner in Raleigh You’ve Never Heard Of

Tim Meigs is a quiet attorney who lives with his wife and two kids in Cary, spends his weekends in Blowing Rock, and is one of the nicest guys in town.  So we’re sorry to impede on the low profile of the Raleigh running scene’s gentle giant, but Tim Meigs just WON his age group in the Boston Marathon. So the cat’s out of the bag. Running 2:41 on a hot day earned him 1st place in the 50-54 age group in Boston while competing against one of the most competitive fields in the entire World.

Running in the mid 2:30’s, which he does on cooler race days, at age 50, has to be equivalent to running 2:10 or 2:15 at age 25 or 30. That would put Tim right up there as one of the best runners ever from the Triangle. Tim trains under Ryan Warrenburg with the Zap Fitness team in Blowing Rock who has coached several national level marathoners through the years. We were so impressed with the time and effort that after Boston, we caught up with Tim and asked how he did it.

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1. So 1st place in your age group in the Boston Marathon. Wow. How does it feel?

It feels great! I’d placed top 3 in my age group twice before in Chicago and once before at Boston, and I’d won my age group at Grandma’s a couple of years ago, but 1st place age group at Boston is really special. I felt going in this year that I had a chance to place in the top 3, based on the list of top age-group qualifying times that the B.A.A. sent out a couple of weeks before the race. However, there were a few other 50-54 guys with very similar qualifying times, plus one several minutes faster, so I knew I’d have to run my very best race to crack the top 3, and basically add in some luck to get the win. Looking back and analyzing the race with the benefit of hindsight, I don’t think I would do anything differently execution-wise. I negative-split by 8 seconds and executed it at least as well, if not better, than any other marathon I’ve run.

 2. You’ve run a few Bostons. What number is this for you and how does this compare to those?

This was my 8th Boston. I ran it every year from 2009-2015. I was planning to run it in 2016 too — not as a race, but just as a fun, long run — but I had an achy hamstring and wanted to run well at the Broad Street 10-miler two weeks later. Since I’d already made all my travel reservations, I just went out and cheered the runners at the top of Heartbreak Hill instead, which was great fun by the way. It broke my streak at 7 consecutive Bostons, but was the right call because I ran a 10 mile PR two weeks later.

As far as how 2017 compares to the other ones, this year was my 3rd fastest, but like I mentioned above, probably best executed. There’s of course something special about running Boston for the first time, so my 2009 race kind of stands apart for that reason. But I compare this one most closely to the 2012 and 2013 races. 2012 was the hot year, when the temperatures were in the 80s. Because of that, everyone’s times were slower than usual, including mine (2:46), but I managed to hold it together better than most and got 3rd in the 45-49 age group. In 2013, the weather was much better and I ran my marathon PR (2:35:36), which was good for 4th in the 45-49 age group — 8 seconds behind 3rd. I ran really consistently that year too, with relatively even splits, but like everyone else I’ve talked to that ran it, the first thought that comes to mind about 2013 is the bombing and what it did to all those people rather than anyone’s specific race.

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3. What was your weekly mileage leading up to the race and what were some of the bigger workouts?

Most weeks were in the 70-85 range — typically two weeks “up” around 80-85, then one week “down” around 65-70. My highest week was 86, so not super high. I also usually ran all my weekly miles in 6 days, with a rest or elliptical day on Friday.

A few of the bigger workouts were an 8-mile tempo run on the ATT @ 5:46 avg; a 20-miler with pickups on the Blue Ridge Parkway, running downhill from Grandfather Mountain to Bass Lake in Moses Cone Park; a 10×1500 track workout @ 5:27 avg (1 min recs); a 7×1 mile track workout @ 5:35 (90 sec recs); plus several long runs that included a lot of time around goal marathon pace (5:50-6:00), including a 23-miler on the ATT that had 8 miles @5:54 avg + 4 miles @ 5:48 avg.

 4. What did you do post race to celebrate?

 The celebration sort of moved around Boston as the day went on. Right after the race I took the T back to our Airbnb in Jamaica Plain to shower and change, and ended up having a celebratory beer with our hosts on their back porch. Then it was back to the Fairmont Copley Plaza near the finish line for a beer with my ZAP Fitness friends before heading into the ballroom for the awards ceremony. That was a really fun experience. On the one hand, it felt like a big deal because it was the Boston Marathon, but on the other hand it was basically just like any other race’s awards ceremony where they call the various age groupers and overall top finishers up to a stage and hand them a trophy. Since there were probably only about 200 people in the room – about half award recipients and half spectators — it felt much more intimate than the race as a whole. This was the first time I’d actually gotten to walk up and get an award there. After the ceremony, my teammates who I was staying with and I went to dinner nearby, then later to an Irish pub closer to our Airbnb. I got talked into drinking some beer out of my trophy, but unfortunately nobody got a photo of it!

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5. Any shout outs you want to make?

Well, my family of course for supporting my training and racing and putting up with me blocking off several hours of every Sunday morning for a long run that sometimes leaves me fairly useless the rest of the day. My coach since 2011, Ryan Warrenburg of ZAP Fitness, who has guided me through thousands and miles and dozens of races, coaching me to PRs as well as making sure I’m staying healthy and having fun with all this running. My number one training partner during this marathon build-up, Andie Cozzarelli, who I sometimes had trouble actually seeing until the end of our runs because we started a number of them – whether on the track or on the ATT – in the dark before dawn wearing headlamps. My teammates on the Bull City Track Club, especially the ones I shared the Airbnb with in Boston, Alan Talhelm, Gavin Finlay, and David Cobb, who came and cheered at the awards ceremony. Alex Griggs of the Asheville Running Collective and former Florida State runner / current UNC law student Seth Proctor, both young fast guys who helped me with some of those hard tempo miles. The always fun Thursday morning Bean Traders crew including Ellen Moss, Anna Henry, Emily Scheuring, and Lindsay Walter, who tolerated my (and Alan’s) company and kept me running at the right pace the day after hard workouts. And Pete and Zika Rea and all of the athletes at ZAP Fitness, including their training partner Pardon Ndhlovo, who are kind enough to welcome me on their runs in Blowing Rock and Boone when I’m in the area, and are a humbling reminder that no matter how fast I may think I can run, there are plenty of runners who are way faster!

2 Comments

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  1. So inspiring! I met and talked to Tim once during an easy “Chase” run. That was the first time I heard about people returning to Boston multiple times. I knew he had placed in the past, but did not realize he WON. Small world. I sat next to one of his Bull City teammates on the flight home from Boston this year. He talked about how his older friend and teammate had won an award. I had no idea it was Tim!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Zach Barricklow April 26, 2017 — 2:55 am

    Congratulations to Tim! What an accomplishment! This article introduction of Tim’s quiet, humble dimeanor is so true. For being such an incredibly talented and elite runner, he is always approachable and encouraging to others in the running community — regardless of speed. Tim embodies what I love about this sport and the good people it draws!

    Liked by 1 person

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