Member: Julian Boggs
Name: Julian Boggs
Hometown: Berea, Kentucky
College: Colorado College
Interviewed by: Kevin Brandon (11/02/17)
Julian, thanks for taking time to speak with us. Could you tell us a bit about yourself? How did you end up in Philadelphia and running with PRTC?
I moved to Philly last year with my girlfriend from DC. She works from home and I was between jobs so it seemed like a good time to try a new city, ideally, one where we could put down roots and actually afford housing. She’s from the Philly area (Cherry Hill, NJ) and has lots of family around, so this seemed like a good spot and I think it worked out! As far as PRTC, I had been training on my own in DC, which worked out ok, but it seemed more fun and sustainable to be around people who actually understand what running is and why we do it. I think I found PRTC after some googling.
Once you began running, how did your career develop? Take us through day one to today.
Oh boy. Well… I went to a tiny high school (about 70 in my class) in Kentucky and we didn’t have much in the way of coaching. We thought it was pretty hardcore if you ran on your own at all. My junior year of HS, though, I started running a bit more with the local college team and learned about putting in weekly mileage. I remember when I strung together a seven day stretch of 50 miles the winter of my senior year, I thought I was training harder than anyone (lol). I ended up winning the mile at the state meet that year, though Kentucky Class A (smallest) is never competitive and that was a down year – I think I ran 4:33.
I went to Colorado College, which is the only D3 school at altitude (campus was 6,000 ft) and my frame of mind quickly shifted. My teammate Anton Krupicka, who has since made a name for himself in the ultrarunning world, was running 130-mile weeks, and for my new XC friends, running 10 miles in the morning before class wasn’t crazy – it was a way to fit in. I read Once a Runner, started doing 100-mile weeks, and found an identity as a runner. I dropped 2 minutes off my 5k, and was competing with the top guys in D3 by my junior year – was third at the D3 XC Nationals that year. But injuries held me back my senior year, and without a team or a competitive framework that was very motivating after college, I essentially gave up running.
For the next six or so years, I traveled for work a ton and didn’t really have the same motivation or social support for training that I did in college. Then a couple of years ago, I decided to get back into it and trained for the Philly Half. I remembered why I liked training hard and feeling fit, and I’ve been finding the right equilibrium of training vs. life.
Can you tell us about a favorite running accomplishment or moment?
My junior year regional cross country meet was basically a two-man race between me and Will Leer, who folks may know became a very solid US miler after college. He’s got a crazy kick even for a miler, so I knew I had to shake him before the final stretch. He hung on through all my surges from a mile and a half out, and was right with me in the final stretch, we went through a mud patch about 50 meters from the finish and neither of us had anything left, but I held on longer and won.
Winning a race was always a great feeling but to really execute a game plan and win against somebody who could beat you any other day was really awesome. Plus seeing all of Will’s post-collegiate success, it’s fun to think of the time I ran him down (even under circumstances that heavily favored a strength vs speed runner)
How about a not-so-great moment?
I tried running a marathon in Athens, Ohio with basically no training sometime in the years after college. I had been doing maybe 40 miles a week for several weeks, then had taken off basically the entire month and a half before the race. I hung on until mile 19 and then basically collapsed. I sat down at an aid station for a while and ate a banana and contemplated my demise as a runner. Then I hobbled back up and walk-jogged it in – I think just under the 4-hour mark.
Regarding your running future, what are your near and long-term goals?
Great question – I’m trying to figure that out. For now – trying to stay fit and run faster than the year before, or at least not slower.
As a native Kentuckian, how are you enjoying Philadelphia as a hometown?
On one hand, for someone who grew up in a small town, semi-rural setting, the amount of concrete I’m surrounded by on a daily basis is borderline oppressive. But on the other hand, I live by Fairmount and the river and the ability to get onto single track dirt trails from the city is pretty awesome. Plus Philly has a sense of community and sense-of-place pride that is really resonant of Kentucky.
I recall you work on energy policy. Can you tell us about your day job?
I’m the policy director for a non-profit trade association for the Keystone Energy Efficiency Alliance, which is made up of companies in the energy efficiency industry. So on one hand, that means I’m an industry lobbyist but on the other, I’m pushing for policies to help reduce pollution and reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and work closely with environmental advocacy organizations (which is where my background is).
The political environment has changed radically since the 2016 election. Have your efforts at work been impacted by recent changes? Thoughts on the future of energy policy in the US?
Hah, that question seems fraught. I’ll say one thing that most people probably don’t know: electricity is almost entirely regulated at the state level. That’s why California, New York, Massachusetts, and Hawaii are on track to get 100 percent of their energy from renewables while Pennsylvania gets a tiny fraction from wind and solar. So Trump pulling out of the Paris climate agreement didn’t have much real impact on clean energy markets – all it did was make folks like Mayor Kenney double down on clean energy.
Any non-running related hobbies, hidden skills or talents we may enjoy hearing about?
Running is my hobby, hidden skill, and talent! But I’m also pretty good with a hula hoop.