Did you know Morgan used to serve as the Valley Isle Road Runners President? That when he isn’t running, you can find him walking his dogs in Wailuku town? What other fun facts might you learn… read on to find out more about one of our favorite smiling faces in the Maui running community, Morgan Gerdel!
Why do you run? What’s your motivation to run?
I consider running a personal challenge that maintains a balance in my life. It clears your head and brings a fresh perspective to any issues that come up, I almost always feel better after a run. Making progress in training is very rewarding. Especially with distance running- you can get out of it what you put into it.
When did you start running? How long have you been running?
I ran my first competitive race when I was six years old, which makes it 35 years this year! If I remember correctly it was a 1000m race on the track. I was running neck and neck with another girl the entire race and just barely outkicked her at the finish line. I had that competitive spark even then to push myself further. In 1991, I was invited to run in a Vermont Bicentennial relay with a group of youth runners; it started at the White House in Washington DC running to the State House in Montpelier, VT. We ran in pairs, a mile at a time, covering over 500 miles. I competed in cross country in middle school and high school at Seabury Hall, qualifying for several Hawaii State Championship races. I ran only sporadically in college, and after graduating in 2000, I have been running consistently since then. I’ve become a Half Fanatic, with 22 half marathons completed so far. The amazing thing with running is that no matter how much experience you have, there is always more to learn about training, new techniques and approaches.
What’s your biggest running challenge?
Staying healthy can be a challenge, after a number of injuries I have gotten smarter with training to allow for adequate recovery, and incorporate strength training as a preventative measure. Especially when ramping up for a big race or marathon, it is easy to push your body too far and wind up injured.
What’s been your biggest running accomplishment (so far!)?
In January 2016, I was honored to be invited to participate in the Hachijojima Public Road Race Half Marathon in Japan, as part of a Valley Isle Road Runner exchange program. We host their island’s runners to run the Maui Marathon, and Hachijo reciprocates by hosting Maui runners that have contributed to the club. I felt like an elite runner representing my country, in fact I was the only US runner in the race.
Goal for the coming year?
My immediate goal for 2019 is to run a personal best in the half marathon, with a sub-7:00 per mile pace. The Hapalua Half Marathon may be a good opportunity to achieve that time. Once I hit that half marathon goal, my hope would be to translate that speed into a Boston Qualifying marathon time.
A few of my favorite things…
Type of run: A long easy group trail run is a great way to spend the day, experiencing the wilderness with some friends makes for good conversation, and always has an element of adventure. On my last group run up from Kaupo to Haleakala, we struggled through 90 degree temperatures, stinging wasps, lost runners, and running out of water – but it made for a good story!
Place to run: Poli Poli is one of my favorites, it has amazing views, challenging terrain and long dirt roads and trails to cover.
Race I’ve run: The Hapalua Half Marathon is one of my favorites, it has a lot of energy with the world’s best runners chasing down Team Hawaii athletes.
Piece of running gear: My Polar M430 is a must-have, it tracks my activity, speed, heart rate, fitness level, and recovery- it can even set me up for workouts when a track is not available.
Thing to do when I’m not running: I’ll be walking my dogs, it makes for great active recovery.