The Running Whys – Kent Barrett

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Kent Barrett smiles after setting a new personal best at the 2015 Chicago Marathon

Kent Barrett of Charlottetown has worked on a major running goal for a while and in May, he will tackle the Fredericton Marathon to gauge his progress. He started running while living in Vancouver, got into a more intense involvement back on P.E.I. and now has a number of marathons on his resume. We ran the Chicago Marathon together where he posted a personal best of 3:53.34 in scorching hot conditions in the Windy City last October. This is the first of the 2016 Running Whys and outlines his plans for an even better clocking. Enjoy.

 

The Running Whys – Kent Barrett

What marathons have you competed in?

I have run the P.E.I. Marathon five times, Legs for Literacy in Moncton once and the Chicago Marathon (2015).

What was the best one?

I would have to say Chicago was the best on a number of fronts. The atmosphere, the amount of people participating, the fans, the excitement leading up to it, the first marathon I ran with my brother and although I fell apart the last half of the race, I still had a PR. I would say the overall training leading up to Chicago was also a huge part of the overall positive experience of that race.

What was the worst?

First marathon without question (PEI). Looking back, you never really understand what you are getting into on your first marathon but to add to my first experience, I pulled my soleus muscle while out on a 20 km training run three weeks prior to the race.

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Kent Barrett runs in a crowd during 2015 Chicago Marathon.

I was getting different opinions from my physiotherapist on whether I should run the marathon, but I decided to go for it. I started off slow and at the 2-km mark, I thought I could go a bit faster for a test…that didn’t go well and I ended up compensating on the good leg for the next 10 km or so.

Once I reached 13 km, my leg was numb so I decided to go a bit faster and all was going well until I reached a bit of a hill around 18 km and then the soleus ripped further.

It was so painful, a someone in a vehicle passing by noticed how quickly I let up and offered to drive me to town.

I didn’t take the drive and ended up walking/running the final 24 km and then was off for almost a year trying to heal up. I managed to finish in 4:51 but it is an experience I learned from and won’t push injuries as hard anymore.

When did you start running?

I started running the beach boardwalk in Vancouver in the mid 90s (He lived there from 1994-2004) to get in shape and never ran any races at all. I would just go for a run, not even sure how far I was going. I am guessing it was approx 7-8km for the most part. I ran for a few years then took a break and restarted running in 2005. Again I didn’t run any races, I just ran for cross-training purposes.

When/where was your first race?

I didn’t realize this until now but I think my first official race was the PEI half marathon in 2006. I don’t recall going in any event prior to that. It was probably one of the more relaxing runs I have raced, as I didn’t really have any expectations, was just out for a run.

What are your goals for 2016? What races are you going toward?

My goal for this year was actually made this time last year. It was then I made a decision to try and qualify for Boston within two years, with the first year to allow me to adapt to a new training program. Although I didn’t get to where I wanted in the first year with my marathon time, the training program certainly had me ready for significant improvement.

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Temperatures hit 75F, much warmed than normal for the October, 2015 Chicago Marathon.

So this being Year 2, I am working again and getting ready for the Fredericton Marathon, where I hope to have a better result and get me closer to the BQ time.

Knowing the amount of effort and recovery this requires, I will focus on this race and then take a bit of a break before developing another training cycle for the summer to allow for a September marathon to again try and get the BQ time. So essentially, I am giving myself two shots at running a BQ this year.

What is the funniest thing you have seen at a race?

There are a lot of fun things I have seen but maybe something that made me chuckle the most was when I was finishing a Marathon…around the 40km mark or so, there was a sign that said something like….”I don’t care how you feel…you were the one that signed up for this.”

Do you have anyone who inspires you?

Inspiration comes in many forms for me and while I don’t have one person or thing that I look at that inspires me, I do know that I relate to anyone doing anything that takes a great deal of dedication. I mostly think, although the marathon is difficult…what about those people who run 100 mile races. I think if they can do that, surely I can run 26. So those doing more than me and juggling hectic life schedules along the way…those are people who inspire me.

What is your hardest race you can remember?

This may be the same answer as worst race? Chicago was hard because of the increase in my training and the fact I did not put that to the test in a race until then. Combine that with (higher than expected) temperatures not being ideal and my Garmin not working the best in Chicago and my mental game started being affected as a result. The second half of the race was both mentally and physically draining like no other I have done.

What is your biggest racing dream?

I would like to BQ. I enjoy the training so it would be great to see if it takes me there.

 

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