Q&A with Ultra Runner DC Lucchesi

DC Lucchesi
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New Balance and RootsRated have teamed up to profile runners making a difference in their communities. We asked each of our runners a series of questions to learn a little more about what running means to them, where they like to run, and what some of their running goals are.

DC Lucchesi is one of those people who seems to have more hours in a day than the rest of us. The father of three and successful business owner is also a regular ultra-marathon competitor with more over-26 mile race finishes than he can recall. Even more remarkable, perhaps, is how he finds time to help so many others through his volunteer efforts.

You call yourself a “Serial Volunteer.” What fills your time?
I coach with Girls on the Run. I work with Charlotte's Bicycle advisory board. I volunteer on the PTA.  I’m also the conditioning coach for my son's Lacrosse team. I have a “yes” problem. Basically, if there’s a clean-up day at school, they know to just call ol’ DC, and he’ll do it.

As the name suggest, Girls on the Run is a support and training group specific to young women. How did you get involved?
I went to an all guys school until college. I’m one of three brothers. When my second child, my first girl, was born I didn’t know what to do. I knew the organizers (of Girls on the Run) and asked if I could coach. They thought I would be a great fit. I just wanted to scout the other team.

I’ve been working with them for 6 years now. I routinely get notes from the families thanking me because what we worked on was in line with what they were working on at home. Sometimes the parents ask how I knew that? Hey, I have kids too.

What’s the most rewarding aspect of working with Girls on the Run?
I love it when a girl continues running into High School. I want them to keep it as part of their lifestyle. But what I really like is when I hear that someone is now running because his/her daughter inspired them.

You’re a hero to those girls now. Who was your first running hero?
My high school coach, Coach Horton. He reminded me of Lou Holtz. He was a little fella that wore one of those Bear Bryant looking hats. He knew his stuff. He nurtured all the kids, not just the new kids or the superstars. He saw potential in everybody. He gave, not just general direction, but specific direction based on what you were capable of. He saw the whole group as a team.

How about now, who do you look up to?
You get more invested in running over the years. There’s nothing wrong with someone running a 2:04, 2:05 marathon. It’s your job at that point, you better run a 2:04. But I am more impressed with someone who gets a PR while holding down a job and parenting kids. If you can do all that and still perform, I am impressed.

Speaking of doing “all that” and performing, you have 3 kids, own a local business, and are a serial volunteer. How do you make it all work?
Balance. You have to fit running in when you can. When my kids were younger and took swim lessons, I would say to the coach “I’ll be back in 1 hour and 15 minutes,” and I'd go hit the track. I run with my son's Lacrosse team. Like I said before, props to the people who can run a 2:04 marathon because it’s their job but mad props to the people who say “I need balance” and make it all work.

What’s the difference between road and trail running?
Trail runners are more casual, more “organic-y,” if that’s a word. Running a road marathon you size someone up by the way they look or what they’re wearing. At the start of my first ultra we saw this woman wearing khaki shorts and this salmon colored shirt. We called her “Cross Creek” because she looked like she came out of the catalog. But she stayed right behind us the whole night. We came from running marathons where we could size someone up. It’s different at a trail race. It’s about what you got, not what you got on.

What are your lifetime running goals?
I have never run an ultra out west. There’s so much to do here (in the southeast) though. Really, getting my kids to adopt a lifetime activity. Even if it isn’t running.

What is your philosophy when you’re talking to others about running?
It doesn’t matter if you’re going to go fast or go far, just go. Never trust an idea that came from sitting down. Balance can’t be all thinking and no doing.

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