Eric Griffiths completed the 2010 Portland Marathon in 2:28:42. That was what it took to cross the rain-soaked finish line in first place.
This year's 2011 Portland Marathon marks the 40th anniversary of the race, but Griffiths won't be among the competitors.
"I won't be defending my title this year, no," said Griffiths. "I feel like Chicago is that next step for me, and I've been training specifically for that race."
Though not neccesarily a goal, Griffiths said that qualifying for the Olympic Trials is in the back of his mind as he prepares for the Chicago Marathon. Competing in Chicago will give him another shot if the right conditions present themselves. Marathons vary in difficulty and complexity. Portland is known by many as a "starter" marathon, with its relatively moderate climate and flat course. Boston is known as one of the most challenging. Chicago lands somewhere in-between. Grifftiths has set a time goal of 2:21 for Chicago. The cut-off for Olympic contention is set at 2:19.
Last year's Portland victory not only inspired Griffiths to push harder athletically, but also spurred his involvement with Run Portland, a local non-profit organization that helps support youth running programs in schools and establishes a pathway for emerging athletes.
The organization is just one way for Griffiths to stay active and in shape while also mantaining his job at the Veterans Hospital as a research assistant in the Molecular Biology lab. Griffiths says that it is his routine, consistency and planning that allows him to do what he does.
"That's what I do, that's why I'm good at the marathon. I look at it from every angle possible, I calculate, I compute."
MORE TO EXPLORE
- 2011 Portland Marathon Details: Sunday, October 9. Race start: 7 am (all runners)
- Marni Renison's Blog Interview with Eric Griffiths