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Mercy Home Heroes Spotlight: Andrew Elderkin
1. Why did you become a Mercy Home Hero?
The primary personal reason was to get the ball rolling on running in a major marathon. I have a friend who qualified for Boston and nearly broke 3 hours. It seems like such an incredible challenge and feat. To qualify for my age, and even possibly earn an Abbott 6-star medal (for completing all the majors) would be above almost anything else I’ve ever done. Another Hero and school friend, Tony Ballor, told me about what Mercy Home does, and to support that cause is an incredible honor.
2 . Your favorite race day memory?
This will be my first Chicago personally, but watching Galen Rupp’s performance in 2017 was very inspiring.
3. How has finishing a marathon changed your life?
So far, I’ve finished two marathons, and it’s given me some perspective about what it’s going to take to achieve my goals.
4. What is your greatest running accomplishment?
Toeing the line at my first 5k at age 39! I ran track in college, and held my own against some incredible athletes. But to line up in the sleet and snow against 800 people at a local 5k without knowing the course, what to expect, or having much knowledge or training? That can be intimidating!
5. List some of your favorites for running:
Gear – Hoka Carbon X shoes, my Garmin and Aeropex headphones. Everything else is interchangeable.
Fuel – Clif Bloks
Pre-race meal night before – Anything, but small portions.
Race morning meal – Coffee, banana, toast and water.
Post race meal – Protein shake
Listening – Spotify playlists off my watch, mostly house and techno, and occasionally podcasts for long training runs. Being on a country road in the middle of nowhere listening to Joe Rogan is about as real as it gets.
6. What is your best advice for a first-timer?
Don’t even think about your time. Go out painfully slow, walk through the aid stations, and alternate Gatorade with your water so your legs don’t cramp.
7. Anything else you want to add?
Starting something like this can be daunting, but if there’s an analogy for life, it’s that you don’t have to start at full speed. Walk a few steps, then a few more, and see how it feels. Then run!