By Jesse Specs Spellman / Photos By RCS Images
As runners we all go through various stages in our run journey’s. Stages of growth, setbacks, struggles and successes. Very rarely do things tend to click all at the same time, where running can feel at ease, when everything sets in perfectly. Usually this comes when we least expect it as runners. For Richard Scott of Black Men Run NYC/NYC Way, 2019 for him is what sports would call a career high which all happened unexpectedly. Everyone knew Rich had the talent to get it done but it was just a matter of when, where and how it would happen. 2019 started out as any other year for Rich (speedy or fast Rich) is what I like to call him but no one would have pictured him running multiple personal records in a race that fall season where in a span of 2 months included 4 marathons (3 majors) and 1 half marathon on one of the toughest half courses at The Race in Atlanta. All of which led to a double BQ, top marathon finisher and a few PRs. This month we had the pleasure of speaking to Rich as he takes us through these extraordinary accomplishments.
MSM: First off I have to ask, do you ever take a look back at 2019 to really look at what you did in that span of 2 months?
Rich: Since there aren’t any races going on due to COVID I do look back and reflect on what I was able to accomplish in a short period of time. Sometimes I look back and I can’t believe I did it as I’ve came a very log way.
MSM: Prior to officially joining Black Men Run NYC was running something you were interested in doing? What was it that drew you into running and becoming consistent?
Rich: Before BMRNYC I would’ve never imagined that I’d be running this much. I was introduced to group by Jessie Jamel. I was looking for something to do to stay active. As I got older it was becoming harder to find people to play sports with such as basketball. I was drawn to the group because they were so welcoming. They made a complete stranger as myself feel like I was already a member for years on the first night. They also was consistent with the timing and days they had their weekly runs and told me no matter what any weather someone will be here to run and to this day we all still follow this mentality. I never needed to call anyone to ask if they were running. All I had to do was just show up and someone was there waiting to run.
MSM: As the calendar turned to 2019 what were some of your thoughts run wise? If I remember the conversation we had vaguely discussed how you were going to get through that span of running 4 marathons. Outside of Chicago I think the rest of us that trained had the 3 marathons on our list.
Rich: My initial thoughts were how the hell am I going to get off of work to do all these races (lol). I didn’t have much of a game plan as I was just focused on the task at hand. I knew that I had to get it done because I wasn’t going to back out especially after they took my money. I will admit that I was very nervous because of the way I felt after completing marathons in the past I couldn’t imagine how I would feel after doing so many in a short period of time.
MSM: I love to say results equal the amount of work and consistency you put into running. What I noticed from you is that you essentially march or run to the beat of your own drum. Did you have a plan going into that span or was it essentially a feel out process as training progressed?
Rich: It was a feeling out process as I had to figure out what was comfortable for me and what movements felt as natural as possible. I also had to prepare myself mentally and convince myself that I could handle it all. I ended up following a plan that I adopted form Peter Campbell that we call the 6 week training program. Essentially we train as hard as possible for those 6 weeks leading up to the marathon to condition ourselves to run the distance. In those 6 weeks we basically cram as much miles as possible to build up the lungs and endurance for race at hand. In addition to that I trained with Jeff from BMRNJ and made it my business to hop on the PATH train to meet with him in jersey once or twice a week to do track work. We also did track work once every other week in Staten Island on an indoor track. Thanks to the hard training courses you (Jess/Specs) made up for us to run every Saturday I was able to condition myself for what lied ahead of me later that year.
MSM: We both started out as runners at the same time back in 2016. What we all noticed as a group was that you were simply naturally talented. If you’ve ever seen Rich run his stride is one to be seen where one stride for us is about 2 or 3 strides for you. You cover so much ground and it’s an awesome sight to see. When did it all start to click for you because essentially it happened pretty fast.
Rich: I honestly can’t recall when it clicked, but when I started running I remember trying to run like I would if I was on the basketball court. I love to play basketball so large natural strides on the court was natural for me when playing ball. When I started running my body was just comfortable with the movement. After a while I found my rhythm and found a comfortable stride that worked for me.
MSM: Your approach to running and training are pretty unorthodox, personally i’m not sure how you do it or manage to pull it off (lol). For our readers take us through some of your training techniques prepping for a race.
Rich: Wow when you put it like that I can’t help but to laugh. Well i’m a firm believer of muscle memory. Repetitive movement over a course of time will help the movement become natural. When it comes to how I train I usually push myself in training to run the pace which is the pace I want to run during a race. The catch is most of the training goes out the window when i’m at the start line and the race begins because I end up going faster than usual, I guess this is due to adrenaline.
I have a story to share with our readers and I think you remember this day clearly. UAE healthy kidney run 2017. This was one of your first runs where you were towards the front of the corals with the A group. Readers remember I mentioned Rich started running consistently in 2016 and in April 2017 he’s now running with the A group. You started that race running with the sub elite runners and ran the first 5k of that race in 18 mins which is pretty insane essentially at a 5:49 pace at the 8k mark you dropped to a 6:30 pace and then finished at 7:40. Essentially you ran yourself out of the race and to the medical tent (I’ve never seen anyone run themselves to the medical tent) but as expected you were still learning how to run. The amazing part of this is you still ran a 43 minute 10k a year after officially starting your run journey.
MSM: Essentially what made you want to go out that fast during that race? I think that’s when you realized the power of salt because it was the salt pretzel that bought you back to life right away.
Rich: I remember being at the front in the A corral for the first time and feeling super excited but honestly I was not as prepared as I thought I was for that 10k. My first thought when the gun went off was to keep up with everyone else in the A corral. It felt good at the start but it went downhill fast. I was running with no one in front of me or anyone to run around as my adrenaline was pumping because of the excitement of my first 10k race. My mind was just racing and it felt like I was just set free!! I remember when everything went down hill in that race also. Things started to change once I started going uphill, “Harlem Hill” in Central park which is where I started to feel super hot, dehydrated and fatigued, I couldn’t run. That’s when things got scary as I started to lose my vision, everyone started to pass me and everyone looked like shadows as the rest of the race was all a blur. I remember a lady grabbing me and pulling/carrying me over to the medical area at the finish. She asked my name when I heard a voice, right after I heard another BMRNYC brother Will (We call him golden arms) he was asking me if I was OK and I was screaming out to him because I could hear him but I couldn’t see him. They gave me fluids loads of Gatorade to drink. A few minutes later I remember Will giving me a salt pretzel and that literally brought me back to LIFE!!! Thats when I learned the power of salt while running.
MSM: From the UAE 10k to now what are some of the lessons you learned?
Rich: I learned to no ever go all out like a bat out of hell. I also learned to gauge and plan each race differently. I can’t run a 10k or a half marathon like it’s a 5K. I learned to listen to my body and try not to tense up, stay calm and collected. The main goal for me is to always run as comfortable as possible for as long as possible.
MSM: There are many run coaches that would tell you that’s not the way to race yet it consistently works for you. For a person as gifted as you do you find yourself having coaches constantly in your ear trying to change the way you run or your approach to running?
Rich: For the most part I feel like most coaches try to change my unorthodox running style so that I can become more like a traditional runner. Do I ever listen NO! But I do appreciate the tips they give which might and have helped me improve my own style of running.
From September 27th to November 3rd Rich’s race list would include
- Berlin Marathon on September 27th
- The Race Half Marathon October 5th
- Chicago Marathon October 13th
- Atlantic City Marathon October 20th
- The New York City Marathon November 3rd
Three World majors in a span of one month.
MSM: Prior to going into Berlin, was going for a BQ something you thought of? We touched on and discussed it the night prior but for Berlin the plan for you was to pace another runner during the race. Looking back, from our conversations it essentially turned into a fun run as you essentially snapped photos and videos of the entire race, a 26.2 mile fun run tour through Berlin Germany that you pretty much ran with ease with a 3:12 finish.
Rich: Prior to Berlin I thought about it mostly because people kept asking me if I think I can BQ. When I went to Berlin I was on the fence trying to figure out if I should try to BQ or help my brother Stan to reach his BQ goal, it was an interesting race to say the least. Never would I imagine that I would be able to run a marathon and be able to take pictures and record videos throughout the race which I would eventually PR.
MSM: When you made it to The Race in Atlanta it felt like something started to click for you mentally and physically. Did you feel a change within yourself that weekend? What was it that made you go to the next level with so much ease?
Rich: By the time I got to Atlanta I knew that I could have did a lot better if I just tried to. Running Berlin gave me the confidence I needed remove all doubt that I had mentally regarding myself being able to BQ. The Race weekend was a vibe I was feeling the people, the vibe and everything about The Race was perfect. I love the way that race weekend was put together from beginning to end. Also new confidence gained in myself is what helped me go to the next level, along with the motivation and support I got from BMRNYC/The NYCWAY.
MSM: The following week after the Race we’re going into the Chicago Marathon. Another state cooler weather and another world major. Preparation wise what made you get into laser focused mode because there was a different feeling that you had in Berlin. A few in our group noticed this as it was subtle. What were some of your feelings before and during the race? At what point did you know/feel that you had the BQ in the bag?
Rich: That weekend I was on an emotional roller coaster. Post race I was happy yet sad, I was sociable but felt alone, I was prepared and unprepared both mentally and emotionally. During the race I was focused on the goal at hand. Prior to me getting to the start line I made the decision to go out there and try my best, just put everything on the table. I didn’t know or feel like I had anything in the bag until I saw that finish line. Mile 18-26 was when I started to have some doubts because I didn’t realized how much I crushed the previous 18 miles. I just had to make sure that I stayed strong mentally and finish what I started, FINISH STRONG.
Rich Crossed the finish line at the Chicago Marathon with a finish time of 2:54:45 shedding 18 mins off his Berlin 3:12 finish. One week later Rich would go on to run Atlantic City Marathon where he would follow his Chicago finish up with a 2:58 finish 1st place in his age group and 5th place overall leading to a podium finish with another BQ. Back to back weeks. What most runners strive to do once a year Rich was able to accomplish in a matter of 2 weeks.
MSM: We didn’t even get to the NYC Marathon, yet in a span of a month you already PR’d, BQ’d, made Berlin a fun run, top age group finish at Atlantic City marathon and a top AG finish at The Race. What were your thoughts going into NYCM?
Rich: When it was time for NYCM I was so NERVOUS!! NYC is my home town and I wanted to show out like I did in the previous marathons. Prior to the race the pressure got to me and I ended up over training the days leading up to the marathon. I veered off my training plan and suffered because of it. The day of the race I was still having slight pain in my left calf from the excessive training and it was coming and going periodically. At the start line I didn’t know what to expect and I just tried to remain calm enough to run a strong race.
MSM: What’s next for Richard Scott? Do you see yourself continuing this journey for years to come.
Rich: I don’t plan on stopping until I get my SIX STAR MEDAL.
MSM: Any last words for our readers?
Rich: I would like to thank everyone that gave me love and support throughout my run journey. (BMRNYC, The NYCWAY, The Running Edge, JP Mission and last but not lest Team WRK). Everyone knows who they are and without each one of you I couldn’t imagine becoming the type of runner that I’ve become today. Just want to let them know I appreciate each and everyone of y’all.
I try my best to be BMR Strong, while i’m on my Running Edge, I stay on my JP Mission and I do it the best way I know how which is The NYCWAY.
FYI – Richard Scott has no Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or any social media accounts. If you want to catch him the only way is to join him on the pavement.