Plank is extremely proud of our developer John Hodges, who finished an incredible 10th place at Sunday’s Toronto marathon. Also incredibly, John only started running since 2009, and this was his first marathon. While the rest of us have nice sit down and try to imagine what it would be like to run 26.2 miles in 2hrs 52 minutes, we thought we’d ask John a few questions about the race.

Plank: Why did you start running?

John: I started for a lark, really. One day I just felt like going for a run. I’d never really run before. We had a distance running club in the eighth grade or something, but that didn't last past the first year. Since I started in 2009 I have run 7 half marathons and a 20 km race. This was my first full marathon.

Plank: How did you feel on race day?

John: I didn't feel particularly nervous, but I slept fitfully at best Saturday night. I felt somewhat tired when I woke up but race day excitement pretty much negated the lack of sleep. A bagel at 5:00 am and I was ready to rock. The sun was shining and there was not a cloud in the sky. Perfect! The excitement in the air was palpable. Lots of nervous chatter. I am generally pretty calm and relaxed pre-race, but being in the start area, the excitement started to build.

Plank: What was the hardest part of the race?

John: The most challenging part was maintaining a race pace for the full distance. By mile 19 I was ready to stop running and I still had a long way to go. My calves were hurting something fierce by that point. I knew that physically I could continue, I have been training hard for this, but mentally it just seemed so much easier to stop.

Plank: How did you stay motivated?

John: I have been increasing my weekly mileage pretty consistently for a few years now. My marathon training plan was 18 weeks of grueling running with no rest days. That was too much hard work to just give up. I also had friends cheering me on, waiting to see how I’d do. These all helped keep me going when I felt like quitting.

Plank: What's your next challenge going to be?

John: I haven't quite decided on my next challenge yet. I'm hoping to run a sub-80 minute half marathon at Green Mountain in October and maybe a sub-2:50 full marathon in Tulsa in November.

You can follow along with John's results here.