A Must Read Interview with John Geesler: 24x VT100 Finisher
VT100 rockstar, John Geesler, will be seeking his 25th finish at the 2017 VT100.
“I don’t train, so much as I just go run. Don’t have a log, or keep track of miles or time. I just want to enjoy the run.”
In this brief interview, we tap into why this tenacious ultra runner has come back to Vermont, year after year without logging a single training run.
Q. You have 24 Vermont finishes under your belt. That’s amazing! How did that happen?
I ran a lot marathons and heard about ultras. I thought 100 miles sounded a little crazy, so I tried a 50-miler. That went so well [that] I figured I’d try a hundred. At the time, there were only 7 hundreds in the country. Being from New York state, Vermont was the easiest to drive to, so I signed up. That was the 3rd edition of the race. I came in 5th and never felt bad.
Q. Why the VT100 and not another race?
The scenery and atmosphere are intoxicating. It’s a very laid back state. I love the horses and the whole package.
Q. Have you ever started the VT100 and not finished? Do you have any advice for participants?
I ran 14 straight Vermonts coming in the top 10 each time. Then a 24-hour World Championship conflicted and I missed a year. I came back the following year very injured and barely broke 24 hours; devastating, but that’s life. I missed another year due to the 24-hour, but since then haven’t missed any more. Stomach issues keep me from doing as well, but I’ve always finished. When I finally finished in the daylight again, it was the wrong day. Dropping out is a personal choice, but don’t do it because you feel badly. That can change. You’ve got to give it your best shot, try and get fuel in yourself, and keep moving; even if slowly.
Q. What do you think of the changes over the years?
Races evolve. I do miss the Rojek‘s horse Farm and seeing the same people every year. It’s a much bigger sport and if you don’t change with it, it will leave you behind. Silver Hill was needed and it does the job wonderfully. The level of competition hasn’t changed that much at Vermont, but in the sport itself the competition has improved a lot. There were hardly any twenty somethings back in the day. Now we’re loaded with them. It’s not just for people too old to run fast anymore. It still seems to be a sport where everyone helps everyone. Vermont has had several Race Directors and they’ve all been wonderful. Fresh faces bring fresh idea’s. It’s good.
Q. Do you follow the greater ultra running community?
I read quite a bit but don’t surf the net. I’m usually out of touch because of a lack of time for the computer but enjoy reading about the racing. I’ll race the trails, on the road or the track. It’s all good. Mostly love being in the Adirondacks.
Q. How has your training been going for this year’s VT100?
I don’t train, so much as I just go run. Don’t have a log, or keep track of miles or time. I just want to enjoy the run.
A bit more about John
When John Geesler is not running, he enjoys the variability and challenges of working in maintenance at a textile factory (“not glamorous but I like my work, which includes almost anything”), he also raises animals and has a large garden. We know where we want to eat dinner next.
Thanks John, and good luck with your 25th finish! Look for him wearing bib #25!