Gordon Duncan: Seeking Balance

Gordon Duncan’s love for bacon cheeseburgers has not prevented him from completing twenty marathons, including a win at the 12-12-12 Marathon, and qualifying for the 2019 and 2021 Boston Marathons (good luck in 2021!) A win at the 2019 Rock the River Run rounds out Gordon’s Palmares, but most impressively, Gordon does it all with a busy family and professional life. Gordon also pastors the Evident Grace Fellowship in Fredericksburg, Virginia, has authored several books, and manages epilepsy with the help of distance running.

Home: Born and raised in NC. Home for the past 7 years is Fredericksburg, VA.   

 

Competitive Highlights: 

2019 and 2021 Boston Marathon Qualifier

Winner of the 12.12.12 Marathon

Winner of the 2019 Rock the River Run

20 Time Marathoner

 

Other Sponsors: Toughness Groove Fitness and Apparel. 

 

Career/Personal business/Professional affiliations: 

Pastor of Evident Grace Fellowship

Founder/President of Toughness Groove Fitness and Apparel

Co-founder and Co-Owner of CTP Marketing and Consulting 

Author of “Joy in Trials” and “Prosight Success


Anything you’d like to include! 

Amy married me 24 wonderful years ago, and we have three amazing daughters. I’m an epilepsy fighter and a proud supporter of everyone else fighting that battle every day.



Why did you start running, and has competition always been a part of your reason for training? 

I began running in 2009 at age 39.  Prior to that, I was mountain biking a lot, but schedules made it difficult for me to find the time.  Running I could do early in the morning, unlike biking.  Competition only became part of my training as I began to make some progress.  My first marathon was 4 hours and 44 minutes.  Once I broke 4 hours, I knew I wanted to compete.


Which component of racing do you look forward to most? 

The starting line is the best. All the training culminates in that moment. I can't stand the first few miles, and I have to tell myself "settle in" over and over again. No matter the finish, I love crossing the finish line.


Do you cross-train, or simply run as much as possible? 

I don't cross-train much, but I discovered yoga after tearing a calf muscle. I attribute my longevity and present lack of injuries to 30 minutes of yoga and stretching almost every day. And yes, I run as much as possible.


What brought you to Fluid?  

My friend, Dena Ali, recommended Fluid to me. She is a phenomenal athlete, and she shared the difference that Fluid Performance and Recovery products made in her training and performance.


Do you compete in any team sports? 

Not really. I played little league baseball and some intramural sports in college, but I didn't play team sports for my high school or college.     


What cues/sounds/feelings/rituals/thoughts etc. do you use to help you focus?  

I run with music almost constantly, typically heavy metal or something with a driving beat. I always tie my left shoe first out of habit. I do a lot of self-talk; aside from "settle in", I say things like, "I win hills" when climbing.  Lately, running has been so spiritually satisfying in bringing me a great deal of peace.


How do you find the “extra gear?” 

I find the extra gear by trusting my schedule, and on race day, trusting my training. I'll be 50 this year, and I still have big goals that motivate me. I don't want to give up, and I love defying expectations. My family is also an inspiration, so thinking of them helps me find that extra gear.


Does your life have a spiritual or faith-based aspect? How does that show up in your athletic pursuits? 

I am pastor of a Christian church, and I believe that I should honor God with I how take care of my body. To me, that means being has healthy as I can be, sleeping well, and eating well. I don't ever want to be in a situation where I need physical strength and don't have it.

I am also an epileptic.  My medication causes great fatigue, so caring for my body helps me fight that and the medicine's other side effects. My neurologists specifically stated that endurance running has been a help in fighting seizures.   


How do you train at an elite level while meeting the obligations of a parent/partner/employee/business owner etc.?  

Again, training at an elite level comes down to schedule and dedication. Most of my runs begin before the sun comes up.  On long runs, I ask my wife to pick me up at the end of the run so we can have a coffee date. My family respects my goals and supports me.  


As a pastor, I have several runners in my church, so meeting with them sometimes means going on a run together…two birds with one stone. 


What is something that amazes you about where your sport is now compared to when you started? 

Running itself has grown so much. People are accomplishing amazing things never before dreamed of. For me, since I started so late, I never thought I would win races or be a sponsored athlete. I am humbled and honored to have accomplished both.


What is your favorite part of race day/weekend/week? 

Tapering is a mess, and it is tempting to feel sick all the time. But going to bed the night before an event and waking up ready to race is the best. I also love all the food afterwards, especially bacon cheeseburgers. 


Do you count calories or weigh food? 

I don't count calories, but I eat low-carb and avoid sweets, which also helps my epilepsy. I weigh myself every two weeks knowing that I have an ideal race weight. I drink a smoothie every morning, and I love my coffee.


What is the most important area for you to improve in your competition?      

Mindset when I begin to fade off of my goal pace. I know I can recover, but sometimes it is so hard to tell myself that. I am at my peak right now, and I believe that if we get to race again, I can set some PR's. 


If you weren’t a competitive runner, what would you be doing? 

It would be something physical. I am eyeing that mountain bike a lot lately. I'm sure triathlons are in my future and maybe even a Half-Ironman. 


How does your training/competing provide inspiration/motivation for the rest of your life?      

Starting things is hard and requires so much grit, which I have learned first hand as a church pastor an entrepreneur. My marathon experience helps me grind out the bad days and celebrate the victories.  


I want to make sure to say thanks to the Fluid Team. You guys provide great support both personally and with your products.


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