By: Matt Sherman
Name: Chris Welker
Where are you from originally and what brought you to this area?
I’m originally from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I came to the Upper Valley for graduate school.
What do you do professionally?
I’m a PhD student in the Psych and Brain Sciences department at Dartmouth. My work focuses on conversations and how people connect with each other.
How long have you been running?
I started running in 6th grade, so back in 2006.
How long have you been running competitively?
I started racing when I started running, so I’ve been racing since 2006 as well.
Why do you run?
For so many reasons! The primary one is the sense of clear-headedness that comes with a run. Once I find my stride, I do my best thinking while running. I also love seeing how far I can push myself and enjoy pushing my limits a bit more each year. Finally, running is a great stress reliever and a great time to chat with friends. That sense of clear-headedness also leads to surprisingly deep conversations; it’s always fun to run with other folks.
Best athletic accomplishment and why?
I started running trails more often in 2020 and finished the year by running the Dartmouth 50 with some good friends. That was a pretty special run for me because I bonked hard with over 15 miles left but still managed to finish the run. At the start of the year I had no idea that I could do something like that.
If you like to race, favorite race distance? Why?
The half marathon is my favorite road race because it has such a nice balance between distance and speed. You definitely aren’t plodding along, but you still get into the groove of a long distance race.
Cross training activities?
I cross country ski in the winter. In the summer, I hike and occasionally bike. I’m not sure if this is a real effect, but I often feel very strong and run well after backpacking trips. That’s probably my favorite way to cross train.
Favorite local running route?
I live in Thetford, and one of my favorite longer loops goes down Academy Road, then along Campbell Flats, and finally up Hogback/Godfrey to 113. You get great views coming down Academy, Campbell Flats is beautiful, and the Godfrey climb is pretty fun.
Favorite post run treat?
This is a summer-specific treat, but after a long, hot run I love ice cream.
Strangest place ever run?
Probably Craters of the Moon National Monument in Idaho. I ran there when I was in high school and it just felt like I was on a different planet. It looked a bit like the pictures of Mars from Perseverance.
Any notable streaks or other unusual running events?
Inspired by a friend, I’ve started running my age in miles on my birthday!
What made you start running?
In 5th grade, one of my closest friends trounced me in my middle school’s annual 5K race. I was playing soccer at the time, and he was running cross country. The next year, I decided I wasn’t going to be beaten again and started to run cross country.
Are your reasons for running now the same or different than the reason you first started?
Quite different! Although I still love a competitive 5K, I run for the sake of running now.
Why did you join UVRC?
I didn’t know many folks when I first moved to the Upper Valley, so I decided to see what UVRC was all about. On my first day, everyone I talked to was welcoming, interesting, and kind (and I really enjoyed the workout), so I decided to join.
Hot or cold weather runner?
I’ve been converted to a cold weather runner since moving to the Upper Valley! Before living here I would take winters off, but I’ve realized that – after the first mile or so – running in the cold can be really pleasant. Plus, the mental game of deciding which layers to take off and when to take them off/put them back on can be pretty entertaining.
Morning or evening runner?
I’d love to be a morning runner, but the transition is too daunting. For now, I’m decidedly an afternoon/evening runner.
What is your motivation?
I’m inspired by runs that I’m looking forward to. My motivation often slips when I don’t have a goal – whether it’s a race or a long trail run – that I’m working toward. As a result, I’m almost always trying to plan big runs in the future so that I keep working in the present.
I run therefore I ______________________.
… eat all the time
What does your daily workout consist of?
This really depends on the time of year. I run 4-5 days/week and typically like to fit in two easy runs, a speed workout, a long run, and, if there’s room, a mid-distance run. On one of my off days I usually try some other activity like hiking, skiing, or biking.
How about favorite work out?
My favorite workouts are long runs. It’s easy to fall into an enjoyable rhythm during long runs, the miles just slip by. Long runs also tend to provide the best stretches of mental clarity, so I enjoy them even more when I have a lot to think about.
What’s your favorite pre-run meal?
I like to have a bagel with peanut butter and a banana before big runs.