Meet Bob McCann

Bob McCann might be the CARA member with the sweetest job yet! As a chocolate manufacturer Bob and his fellow runners indulge in his company's dark chocolate from time to time. He took up running in college after being a football player in high school. Bob took a break from running, but reprised his love of the sport in his 40's and began running marathons.

1) What first inspired you to want to run a marathon? How capable did you feel you were of running a marathon?

A friend I met at my health club back in 2002 convinced me to run 10 miles with the Alpine Runners of Lake Zurich on New Year’s Day. I had not run any distance close to that since college. I did it and fell in love with long distance running and the folks in the group. It was good therapy, since I was going through a divorce at the time. Peer pressure got me into the Chicago Marathon, with this group, if you don’t run marathons, you are in the minority! The club and CARA provided the pace groups, the leadership and advice to get me ready for my first 26.2! I was nervous but folks in the group gave me the confidence to complete my first Marathon in 4 hours and 10 minutes. I was hooked. Ten years later I qualified for Boston. Life is good!

2) How did marathon training change your outlook on life?

I felt, if I can complete a Marathon, I can do anything! Training provided me an outlet, therapy. I looked forward each week to running with my group, meeting new people, the comradery, I loved it all! I have always believed training for Marathons has kept me sane through divorce, job changes and all of life’s challenges. I cherish the journey, and the training as much as I love the race! My philosophy now is, “I don’t run to add days to my life, I run to add life to my days!”

3) What is your go to running song and why?

When I struggle in Marathons, I think of the song from the Star is Born Soundtrack, “With one more look at you/Watch Closely Now,” this is a line in the song that I repeated in my first Marathons and I use it now when I am ready to slow down, “Higher and harder and faster and farther / Than I've ever gone”

4) Why did you choose to participate in the program again and what are you most looking forward to?

I love the people and the courses we run each Saturday. I look forward to the long runs, running with my group in shorts (because it's warm)! All year long I can’t wait for the weather to improve! I will be out every Saturday morning, might as well contribute!

5) What marathon are you running in the fall? What are your expectations for it, and how will training with CARA help you meet those expectations?

I plan to run in Milwaukee, the Lakefront marathon. The mileage schedule from CARA helps keep my training on track. I hope to break 3:40 and once again qualify for Boston.

6) What most surprised you during this marathon journey?

How much I enjoy running 20+ miles! For my first marathon I dreaded the 20 mile training run, struggled through it. Many years later and 30 pounds lighter, I look forward to the 20 mile run. I prepare all week for my Saturday long run and although I'm sore afterwards, I am not in the debilitated state I was years ago after completing a 20 mile training run.

7) During the training process there comes a point where every runner hits a wall. How did you keep yourself going? What did you tell yourself?

I keep repeating, I can’t quit. Quitting is months of regret, self-doubt and second guessing. So I keep going, breathe and focus on breathing. My mantra now is, “how bad do you want this?”

8) How did marathon training enhance the already amazing Chicago summer experience?

Gets me outside when I might just stay in on the couch! I now bike and walk whenever possible. My wife and I walk to the stores close to our home rather than get in the car.

9) What was the hardest thing for you to overcome during training or running the marathon? Time commitment? Doubt?

Cramps! I had to figure out why I kept getting calf cramps during the final miles of the marathon. Losing weight and eating better cured me! Another one is in the spring, the biggest challenge is the weather, and getting enough 20 mile runs in during the winter months. The challenge for me was how to dress for winter running; finding the right gloves, hats, socks, etc. for the mornings when it is 8 degrees.

10) If there was someone sitting on the couch right now, thinking about doing what you did, what advice would you give them?

I did my first marathon at 42, qualified for Boston at age 52, no matter your age, you can do it! Being physically fit provides you the energy to enjoy an active life! Get outside, take in the wonders of nature, the moon, the fields of green grass, the kids playing ball in the park! Get off the couch and live!


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