Name: Michael Clifton
Where were you born & raised:
I was born in Ann Arbor Michigan, grew up in Battle Creek & moved to Tucson in 1974 with my parents & brothers. I’ve been a resident of Arizona ever since.
When did you begin running, get started running:
When I was growing up in Michigan my family lived in a rural area & I had to run to keep up with the older neighborhood kids. We were always exploring the woods, building forts & generally raising hell. All of us ran or rode bikes because that was the only mode of transportation we had. There was no organized sports, computer games or TV programs to distract us, just the great outdoors & our imaginations, we came home when it was dark or when we were hungry, it seemed like we were always moving so running was integrated into our day-to-day existence. (I tell this to my kids but always add that winters lasted 9 months in Michigan & all of this took place outside in freezing blizzard-like conditions…in between chores…)
In High school I ran track & ended up being a decent quarter miler. (pre-metric era) However running with the middle & distance runners was awful as I had no aptitude for pacing & those guys worked too hard. So I hung out with the sprinters who were expert at avoiding their daily workouts but who had considerably more fun. Every meet I’d run as hard as I could for 49-51 secs, throw-up & repeat each week throughout the season. I replicated this training regime for 4 years & it seemed to work pretty well.
I started cycling when I was attending the UofA, thereby discovering endurance sports & the joys of training. I rode competitively for 4 years but stopped after I graduated from the university, got married & began raising a family. Four years ago I took up triathlons & I began to integrate running into my training at which time I also had the good fortune to meet Jim & Linda & join the Az Track N Trail club. Because of their enthusiasm, encouragement & motivation, running has become my favorite pastime & I’ve never met a nicer group of people.
To me running is just an extension of how we played as kids so distance isn’t as important as whether I’m feeling good & free of aches & pains, then any distance I run is great, whether it’s the Weds evening track workouts or a 20 mile run on the Rim.
Arizona & Colorado are beautiful & I love to participate in trail events in both states. I don’t have a favorite race but I really enjoy hard epic events where I’ve suffered & finished despite questioning my sanity throughout the ordeal.
Favorite Track N Trail event:
The members of the club are fantastic so any training event or race in which they are participating is terrific. I’m most consistent showing up for the Tuesday evening canal runs but I’m trying to get my next door neighbor Todd Trimble to wake me up for his Thursday morning group runs, to date he has neglected this duty…
“Don’t worry about failures, worry about chances you miss when you don’t try”.
If you could run anywhere in the world:
We have a friend from Sweden & he keeps inviting us to come over to participate in the Fjallraven Classic on the “Kings Trail”. It’s a 70 + mile hut-to-hut hike/run all above the Arctic Circle. Reindeer burgers, northern lights & cool weather, it would be an amazing trip & run!
Anything that gets me outdoors & having fun with my family!
Advice for new runners:
Ice packs, ibuprofen & daily foam rolling go a long ways to keeping you running injury free.