Some thoughts from Bruce Runnels

Bruce and his wife Katherine


I interviewed Bruce Runnels back in July (, and while I typically email the list of questions to interviewees ahead of the interview, I forgot in his case. The one question that Bruce had a hard time answering, and I would too without time to ponder it, is what his motto is. The following is what Bruce recently wrote to me, now that he has had time to think about it.

“By the way, one of the questions you asked me was whether I followed any particular motto in my training or racing. I believe I told you that generally I don’t have a single motto. Interestingly, your question has caused me to think a good deal about it. I still don’t have a totally original answer, but it seems like my inspiration comes in two forms: “1. show up, and 2. never surrender.” This may seem a bit too trite, but it really does characterize my own personal approach. Showing up is half the challenge, whether it’s showing up for an early morning training session that I may not want to do, or showing up on the start line of a race being more than a little intimidated and anxious about what’s going to happen (or about what I’m supposed to do), or showing up for a weekend group ride in freezing temperatures, or showing up at a team meeting when I’m just meeting everyone for the first time (and wondering whether I’ll be able to do my part), etc. For me, never surrendering is another big part of the challenge. Basically, resist the urge to give up, or give in, when the going gets tough, whether it’s recovering from an injury, pushing the last few yards over a tough climb, or living with the lactic burn in my legs on a hard ride, or staying on another racer’s wheel when I’m feeling at my limit (because I know that the other racer is probably feeling the same thing), or feeling cold to the point of shivering, etc. Some readers might think it’s crazy for someone like me, at age 60, to think about my exercise regimen in these terms, but age is immaterial in my mind. Who’s to say what I’m supposed to think when I’m at age 60. Why can’t I think about these things in the same way that I did when I was 20, or 40. Maybe it’s all too philosophical, but for me it’s part of my drive.”

I have received feedback from others that I interviewed about how the interview process was enjoyable, and made them think and remember things they are fond of. When we think about being interviewed, most of us feel nervous. Through the interviews for this project, I have learned that interviews can be fun, two-way exchanges of information, and when done right, all parties walk away feeling satisfied.

The process of interviewing 50 athletes over 50 has been life changing for me. If there is a subject that you are passionate about and want to immerse yourself in, I encourage you to look into the 50 interviews process. You can find out more at


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