NOVA Featured Runner: Phil Rector

By | May 18, 2020

From Coach Jerry:Phil was an outstanding 800 meter runner in college, and he has made a successful transition to the shorter road distances. Phil has been a critical part of the of our men’s A group, which has grown in size and quality since Phil came on board in 2015. Unlike most of his A group comrades, Phil is not a marathoner, but he is a fantastic training partner for the guys that are marathon focused. In addition to being one of our top athletes, Phil has been a dedicated and effective member of the team board, and he has done a great job as team president that last two years.

1) What are your PRs (5k, 10K, Half/Marathon, any others?)

400m: 49.8, 800m: 1:52, Mile: 4:32, 5k: 16:45
10k: 37:35, 10 Mile: 1:01:12, Half: 1:17:41

2) Goal race(s) for this year? Other races planned?

I typically stick to the shorter races, road miles and 5ks are may favorite. I had the Pacer’s Friday 5ks and a few others planned this spring, but that unfortunately didn’t happen. With the spring racing season being cancelled I am looking forward to hopefully racing in the fall. I would love to run the USATF Club Cross Country Championships again this year if they are able to take place.

3) What do you consider your best race performance to date?

Since joining NOVA I’d say my best performance would be at the 2018 Clarendon Day 5k. I had been trying for years to breakthrough the 17:00 barrier and on that day I was finally able to sneak under 17:00 to run 16:55. The huge downhill start may have a helped just a little.

4) How and when did you find NOVA, and what do you like best about the team?

I moved to the DC area in October of 2015. Prior to moving here I wasn’t doing a lot of training and rarely had anyone to run with. I knew that moving here would allow me to find a group to train with and help me get that fire back that I once had. Another local club was recommended to me by a friend. I met up with that club a few times, but found that the coach wouldn’t even give me the time of day until I handed over a decent chunk of cash. My wife encouraged me to reach out to GRC since I was a high school teammate of their top woman at the time and their president was also an acquaintance of mine. I figured some name dropping would get me in the door. Coach Jerry responded to me email inquiry almost immediately saying he was very impressed by my credentials as a college athlete. After some back and forth we decided NOVA was the perfect fit for me and I have been here ever since.

I love the team atmosphere and how encouraging everyone is at weekly workouts and out on the race course. I’ve met some great friends through my time with the team who keep my accountable on a weekly basis. It’s also great to have a coaching resource like Jerry out there every week crafting workouts and giving advice.

5) What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received from Coach Jerry, and/or another member of the NOVA club?

Coach Jerry and I think a lot alike. He’s very cautious in his approach to training and so am I. I think some of the best advice was a year or so back when my legs were just feeling awful and he just told me to go home and rest for a few weeks. It was the break I needed to recharge my legs. He also talks me out of any dumb idea I might have, like running almost any distance over a 5k.

6) What thoughts do you have on your performance at the [fill in name of race], or other recent races?

I haven’t raced since December, but recently a few of the guys on the team and I got together to raise some money for charity by running as many sub 6:00 miles (w/ 2:00-3:00 rest) as we could and donating $10 for each mile. I’ve been running a lot, but not doing any workouts so going into it I wasn’t sure how many I could do. Robbie set the bar at 8 miles, and being as competitive as I wanted to run at least that many. I was able to get through 10 which I am really proud of.

7) What non-running fitness related (or other) activities do you enjoy?

I love a good nap. This pandemic has provided me with a lot of time for naps. My wife and I are expecting a baby in September, so I’m hoping to bank a lot of sleep that I can use then, but I don’t think that’s how it works. If I’m not napping I do enjoy spending time watching or playing sports.