6ABC meteorologist Adam Joseph is recovering from a hamstring injury.
But you'd never know it.
He strides into the studio's lobby with his mega-watt smile beaming, and bounces up to where I'm sitting. Handshake. Welcome. The guy gushes good energy, and not just when the cameras are on.
We're off to his office to chat, and in walking through the maze of cubicles, I need to step lively to keep pace.
We settle in to discuss the annual Revolutionary 5-Mile Run® scheduled for April 27, 2014, at Valley Forge National Historical Park. Joseph has participated in seven of the past eight editions of the race, and he has registered for year nine.
Adam at the 2013 Revolutionary Run
He admits up front that running in Valley Forge is special. "Everyone knows Valley Forge Park," Joseph says. "It's centrally located. It's simple to get to. And if people don't want to run on pavements, there are many other options: You can run Mount Misery and some of the trails there that are just awesome. And Mount Joy, across from the covered bridge - there are just so many."
The surroundings also hold the opportunity for the television forecaster to unplug for a while. "It's very quiet. There's not a lot of distraction. When I run by the cannons or the monuments, it's great to think about what happened there. And seeing the history that was made there. So a lot of times my mind will drift, thinking: What happened where I'm running, right here, right now? And if I'm huffing and puffing and struggling, I imagine what those people did on those same grounds. It's a cool place to let your mind flow while running."
Joseph's early days as a runner included significant training with hills, and the rises throughout Valley Forge play to that particular strength. While working in West Virginia, he was invited by a friend to participate in his first triathlon. "It was in the mountains," he recalls, "very hilly, and it poured rain that day. I remember going down the mountain on my bike and being really scared. The end of the race was running three miles back up the mountain. So I'm very familiar with hills," he laughs. "That's another draw for Valley Forge because if you're a strong hill runner, the location is great."
Competitively, Joseph will use the hilly terrain to gain some time on his fellow runners. "It seems like I can catch people on hills," he grins.
For novice runners considering the experience - and challenge - of the Rev Run, Joseph advises to go for it. "Five miles is a great distance. It's not a grueling 10 miles or a 10k, which is 6.2 miles. But it just gets you to that point where, when you do it for the first time, you get the pride of being able to say, ‘Hey, I just did a five-mile race!' Which is a big deal. And it's a hard five-mile race; it's not an easy five-mile race."
He speaks of the event in surprisingly philosophical terms: "A lot of people wear headphones while they run. I don't like wearing headphones in a race; it takes away from the experience. I love listening to peoples' feet. A good way of getting into a rhythm is listening to other peoples' feet. You're also more aware of where they are when you can hear them, so you're passing runners and calling that you're on their left or right. It's more respectful."
Joseph continues: "It's about good sportsmanship, so to speak. The sportsmanship is not only about you, when you're running a race. It's also about supporting everyone else around you, being engaged with everybody around you, encouraging everybody around you. The differences in runners' ages and ethnicities and whatnot, don't matter. You find encouragement in everybody. Give encouragement. Get encouragement."
One more important aspect of participating in the Rev Run for Joseph is recognizing the dozens of volunteers who support the event. "On race day," he advises, "when you pass a volunteer, thank him or her as you go by. Because they're standing on a chilly corner and have been there since six or seven o'clock in the morning. So a simple thank you is terrific."
Fortunately, any of the "chilly corners" present on race day at Valley Forge will be more the result of the early morning start time rather than any meteorological menace. "Snow for April 27?" he laughs. "I think we'll be okay by then!"
Registrations for the Ninth Annual Revolutionary 5-Mile Run® are still open. The Rev Run website has comprehensive information on all aspects of the day: running, walking, sponsoring, volunteering and spectating. The deadline for e-registrations is midnight, April 20, 2014. You can still sign up to participate, though, at packet pickup at our offices, 1000 First Avenue, Suite 101, King of Prussia, April 25-26. Lending your support, ensuring that Valley Forge remains vibrant, relevant and engaging for generations to come.
Adam is preparing. Are you?
A memorable capper to participating in the run would be an overnight in one of our fine local hotels or B&Bs. See our website for recommendations. And if your post-race traditions include raising a glass somewhere to celebrate, consider the handcrafted beers of Rock Bottom Restaurant and Brewery.