Caught up toward the end of the running boom of the 1970's, Jim Riley had always been intrigued by the marathon. He ran some as a teenager, but then faded a bit through college, before picking up the bug again in the early 90's. He was brought in by the allure of the marathon, an event that still hadn't quite gained popularity due to a widely held belief that long distance racing was quite dangerous, and started training. He started by running around his block at his home in Canada. Just once. Then twice. Then gradually built up his distance, waking up earlier and earlier to avoid telling his wife what he was training for, the Scotia Toronto Waterfront Marathon. Riley completed this marathon in 1992, and decided that he would continue on with this aspect of the sport, enjoying the relative solitude that comes from endurance events. He joined a running group who specialized in ultra-distance running, with hopes of qualifying for the 100th Boston Marathon in 1996. Falling short of that, Riley set his sights on the 1997 NYC marathon, where he finished with a time of 3:56:37. Since that first race in 1992, Riley has completed 45 marathons, with this years PUBVCM waiting to be his 46th. Among those races are 9 running's of the Boston Marathon, including last year's rain-soaked edition, as well as 11 NYC Marathon finishes and 7 Philadelphia Marathon finishes. On top of his running accolades, Riley has also picked up a few injuries along the way, which led him to join a multisport training group. He already enjoyed biking as a way to cross-train, and decided to take a few jumps into the pool. Participating in his first triathlon in 2000, at the Wyckoff Triathlon in New Jersey, he has entered every edition of the race since, 16 years in a row. "I figured I was a decent enough athlete that I could fake it through a triathlon." From there, Riley decided to up the distance. Having spent years watching the Ironman World Championships in Kona on television, he finished the Eagleman Half Iron in June of 2001, then Ironman Lake Placid that July. On his way to his seventh Ironman finish, Riley would compete at the Ironman World Championships, the same race that he watched on TV, as a part of the amateur race taking place before the professional championships. "It was like playing [golf] at Augusta before the Masters." This year at his first VCM, Riley is looking for his 11th Boston Qualifier, after making the BQ for this year, he missed the opportunity to run by 15 seconds due to the rolling registration process. He credits his family and training group for their support network and keeping his hobby enjoyable and for keeping a positive outlook. "You don't get to finish lines if you're not an optimist."
People's United Bank Runner Spotlight - Jim Riley
Category: Runner Spotlight