This month’s interview is with Justin Borton of Taylor Mountain Tuesday fame. To anyone unfamiliar, there is a small but dedicated group of runners who show up every Tuesday morning to run up the short but steep trail to the top of Taylor Mountain.
Justin was raised in NYC by his father, an actor and marathoner. Justin spent summers with his mother at Maharishi International University in Iowa where he later enrolled in the University of Iowa. Justin has been living in west Sonoma Co. for the past twelve years. He has four amazing daughters and a loving supportive wife. Justin has been running for two and one-half years and has logged approximately 2,500 miles in that time.
How did you become a runner and what motivated you to get into running?
Justin: I spent most of my life as a sitter… not a baby sitter or dog sitter but just a sitter. I was good at sitting. Maybe great. I could sit just about anywhere, on anything. I did it at work. I mean I got paid to sit! Even on my vacations I was sitting. Once I sat in Leadville CO at over 10k elevation. I just sat there like a champ! So, yea, I knew I could sit. But could I move? Could I run? If I took the same passion for sitting and morphed that excellence into movement… well I could maybe be the greatest of all time (GOAT).
By all accounts you are the driving force behind “Taylor Mountain Tuesdays”. When did you start doing those runs on a regular basis and how did the group form?
Justin: Shawn Sullivan and I started TMT about a year ago. It’s a funny story how it started. I was on Taylor giving a cow a long soul hug when unbeknownst to me some crazy trail runner came up from the other side of the cow and tipped it right on top of me. Ouch and what fun! It turned out to be Shawn! We all collapsed in a pile of cow, mud and friendship. We had so much fun and we knew there might be others out there just like us! So special! So we started TMT to recruit runners into our cow cuddle mud puddle.
What would you tell people who might be a little daunted by doing such a super steep hill-climb early in the morning on a work day?
Justin: Oh well I’d say to them you should be a little daunted. Summiting that mountain as the sunrises to greet you is pure pleasure. But you know pleasure is a double-edged sword right? And at the other edge of pleasure is pure suffering. But it’s organic, ethical and and local suffering so it’s good for you!
You seem like you have a lot of fun with your running based on all of the photos I have seen. What do you attribute that to?
Justin: I made the decision long ago around when I was born to try and have fun with everything I do. But some things are inherently not fun; like work, family, cleaning, loved ones, sad movies, and museums. So when I run I try to have a good time. Running down the street is fun but sometimes it isn’t fun. Like when you’re late for the bus. But running a trail is always fun. Nature’s never late and doesn’t make scheduled stops.
What are some of your favorite things related to running? Why?
Justin: I really loved the movie Chariots of Fire and also I am a huge fan of the band NWA’s song 100 miles and running. That song is about my TMT co-founder Shawn. I’ll tell you one event I did not like and will never run… the trail of tears. Just awful. RIP.
What does a typical week of training look like for you? Do you keep to a regular schedule?
Justin: I start my week on a Wednesday with a flat fun run with my favorite friends. I then move backwards a day to Tuesday with TMT followed by PowerYoga. I take Monday off or cross train at the gym. Sunday and Saturday are long trail runs. Friday is an off day or gym, Thursday I do some cardio and again hit the PowerYoga. By moving through my week backward I dont allow myself to get too complacent with my workouts.
Outside of running, what are some of your other passions?
Justin: I love to hug people. Mostly kids. But also baby goats (Greatest Of All Time). And I’m a family man so I don’t care for responsibility much but I am passionate about getting out of the house. I’m also passionate about aliens and Bigfoot (the mythical beast not the monster truck).
Any advice or lessons you’d like to pass on to your fellow Empire Runners?
Justin: Yes. Stay in school, don’t be no fool. Don’t eat tempeh and keep your cool. Always keep your heart open and try toe-socks. Don’t free your Willy and also I know a guy who will botox your buttucks.