After winning the GO! St. Louis half-marathon in 2010, Mario Macias has decided to return to somewhat familiar territory. This time, though, he's going all the way, competing in the 26.2-mile version of the race.
Macias, a resident of Colorado Springs, Colo., and a Mexican citizen, has a penchant for setting records. He broke the GO! course record, finishing in 1:05:09, and still holds the second-fastest time in the event. In February, Macias broke the course record for the Mercedes Marathon in Birmingham, Ala., finishing in 2:18:48. Last year, he won the Prairie Fire Marathon in Wichita, and the Carlsbad (Calif.) Marathon.
Among his more amazing achievements is first place in the 2011 Pikes Peak Ascent in 2:0:57, shown here, the second fastest time ever.
What lured you back to St. Louis?
"After winning the race in 2010 and not being able to return the past two years due to not being in the kind of shape I wanted, I decided to return."
You originally planed to run in the half-marathon. What made you change your mind?
"I was excited and really looking forward to running the GO! St. Louis half, but my training didn't indicate I would be sharp enough to be competitive in that event, which I believe will be won in under 63 minutes. I do believe I will be more competitive in the full, which has a loaded field of elite runners as well."
You had been training in Alamosa, Colo., but recently moved to Colorado Springs. What was the reason?
"After spending the past six years coaching myself and training alone, I decided I couldn't do this alone and left my little bubble. I'm now part of the American Distance Project group and being coached by Scott Simmons."
Since 2010, you seemed to have spread your wings as a runner, taking on the marathon and the Pikes Peak Ascent. How do you choose the races?
"I have always considered myself a decent hill runner, but I didn't know what to expect going into Pikes Peak. I kept telling myself, 'I'm never doing this again,' but I survived it. As to choosing races, I guess it all depends on the time of the year and what you're training for. You obviously don't want to run a marathon when your haven't done the proper training for one. I think the half if my favorite distance; it's not too short or too long."
Other than St. Louis, what are your season goals?
"For the past six years, I keep telling myself that next year I will compete on the track, but it never happens. And once again, I'm going to have to wait until next year. So, I'll be staying on the roads and competing in a couple mountain races. I would like to PR in every distance and run a FAST marathon this fall. I'm still working on my summer and fall racing schedule."
What sales pitch would you use to lure other up-and-coming runners to St. Louis, rather than compete at Boston a week later?
"Anytime you have a race that is being organized by Ben Rosario (director of GO's elite program) and Brian Lyons (race director), it's guaranteed to be top-notch. They will treat you like a true elite athlete."