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Profiles Home : Features> Profiles> Jim Garcia

Date of Birth: June 30, 1958

Place of Birth: West Lafayette, Indiana

Current Address: Westford, Massachusetts

Job: Mechanical Engineer at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T.) R&D Lab.

Marital Status: Married

Children: Two boys, 17 and 14.

Height: 5' 8 1/4" (Used to be 5’ 8 ¾”)

Shoe size: 10 ¾ (Used to be 9)

Weight: 147 (pretty stable the last 25 years)

Worst features: Big nose, crooked teeth, bad skin, hairy legs, graying hair, receding hairline, nose hair, burnt out eyes, concave butt-cheeks, leg length discrepancy, a couple of broken toes. Starting to get bushy eyebrows.

Best Feature: Upper legs

Religion: Catholic

Educational Background: BSME from M.I.T. in 1980, MSME M.I.T. in 1990. Favorite Book: History books

Favorite non-running magazine: Time, Solder of Fortune

Favorite movie: Cross of Iron (a cool WWII movie from the Germans’ perspective).

Favorite television show: Nash Bridges

Favorite actor/actress: Clint Eastwood

Favorite music: 80s rock, new country.

Favorite musical performer: Lots. I’m not particular.

Book you are currently reading: A book on the history of the Ottoman Empire.

Hobbies: Fixing cars.

Collections: I save a lot of things, but collect nothing.

Make of car you drive: ‘87 Ford Ranger (I have a ‘98 Ranger and a ‘96 Windstar, but I usually get stuck with this one.)

Greatest recent adventure: Climbing Mt. Fuji in Japan with Mark Godale and Wayne Vereb in 1998 after the World Challenge 100 Km.

Greatest old adventure: Dangerous stuff in the Alaskan interior as a teenager.

Favorite spectator sport: Women’s tennis, early rounds.

Favorite non-running sport: Tennis (played in high school and college).

Favorite vacation destination: Mountains

Favorite time of day: High Noon

Favorite item of clothing you own: A down liner that I can stick inside all my USA jackets to keep warm.

Most prized possession: Health. It used to be my mental powers, but I lost those in the canyons at the ’96 Western States 100.

Political affiliation: Staunch Republican.

Personal hero: Anyone who fought in Vietnam.

Favorite famous quote: You are only as good as your last race.

Personal philosophy: Shut up and do it! Works with wife, but not kids.

Short-term goal: Win an open national championship.

Long-term goal: Try to keep from burning out mentally and physically.

Achievements of which you are most proud: Getting through MIT alive, Airborne School at 19.

Favorite subject in school: Physics

Least-liked subject: Advanced college math. I still have nightmares that I’m halfway through the term and never went to a class.

Least liked household chore: Organizing all my running stuff.

Pets: None

Pet Peeves: Rude New England drivers, mega-super-stores, auto repair shops.

Ultra Pet Peeves: One-course wonders, bad course marking.

Favorite non-running leisure activity: Fixing cars, yard work, house work.

Greatest fear: Loss of leg turnover.

Happiest memory: 1994 Boston Marathon PR. Oh, I’m supposed to say something about my wife and kids here, aren’t I?

Secret ambition\fantasy: Winning one of the “must-do” trail 100s in the last hundred yards on the track.

Personal strengths: Tenacity

Personal weaknesses: Disorganization, (also temper and sloth).


5 km: 15:13 (track)
10 km: 31:22 (track)
Half marathon: 1:09:35
Marathon: 2:25:46
50 km: 3:15:08
50 miles: 5:36:56
100 km: 6:55:27
100 miles: 14:35:27

Years running ultras: Eight

Number of ultras finished: 25 or so.

Best ultra performances:

  • 2000 Old Dominion 100 Mile; first place, 15:50. Ran the last few miles at sub seven-minute pace.
  • 1995 World Challenge 100 Km; second American, 6:57. Broke seven hours, second man on silver medal team.
  • 1996 Sunmart 50 Mile; second place, 5:56. Caught Mike Morton with a half-mile to go.
  • 1999 Chancellor 100 Km; first place, 6:55. Caught and bumped into the leader with 10 yards to go.
  • 1994 Nifty Fifty Mile; first place, 5:36. Come from behind win.

Most memorable ultra performance and why: Old Dominion 2000. Won the race with no pacer, no crew, and on a course with tough (for me) trail sections.

Typical training week a month or two before a major race: 70 to 80 miles per week, with 40+ on the weekend.

Chronic Injuries: Minor back and pinched nerve and knee problems,

Favorite running shoes: Zoom-air Nikes and Reebok Fusion DMX

Favorite food/drink during an ultra: Cheese and crackers, beans, GU, Pepsi.

Favorite handler: None

Favorite pacer: None

Favorite type of running surface: Long steady ups and downs.

Favorite place to run: Doesn’t really matter, hilly forests, I guess.

Ultrarunning idols: Eric Clifton and Courtney Campbell for their any time, any place racing mentality; Tom Johnson for his training focus; Kevin Setnes for his consistency; Mark Godale for his daring; Ian Torrence for his looks.

Why do you run ultras: Competition. It stopped being fun a long time ago.

Any advice you would give to other ultrarunners (based on your experiences): Work on your speed. Do back-to-back long runs on weekends. Never wear the same shoes more than two days in a row. Do sit-ups.