Mar | 21

Runners Like Us: The Ultra Running, Vegetarian Principal

Adam Welcome has loved running ever since he was in elementary school. It all started with the mile-run during PE class but has evolved into a passion for marathons and ultra-marathons!

Now, as the principal of Montair Elementary School in California, Adam is sharing that love of running with the kids he works with every day.

We asked him a few question about how he incorporates running into his daily life including at the school he works at.

How and when did you get started running?

Since I was in elementary school I always loved running the mile. I can remember in 3rd grade running so hard during PE that I would get sick afterwards, I always gave 110% and left everything on the field. Later in life, I really looked up to my uncle Brian Abshire was an Olympic runner in 1988. He gave me motivation to run and when I was 26 I decided to sign up for a marathon. My longest run ever was nine miles and I ran my first marathon three weeks after signing up. I finished in 3 hours and 58 minutes at California International Marathon and was hooked!

Why do you continue to run now?

It’s always been about pain for me. I love the challenge of long runs, not feeling great initially and then warming up. Marathons and ultras are my favorite, partly because it’s really hard to find time to train, and also the pain during the race.

As a principal, your days must be pretty busy. When do you run and how do you balance that with your other responsibilities?

I’ve always been an early morning runner and the past few years, I head out the door around 4:30 a.m. Thanks to my Nightlife gear from Brooks and a headlamp, I always feel safe and ready to roll during the week. My wife runs too, and we’ve been pushing our two kids in the double jogger since they were born. Long runs with the family on the weekend and of course vegan donuts from Whole Foods and chocolate milk afterwards are always key!

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Do you incorporate running into your school? How?

We have a very active run club at my school each Wednesday morning and have 100+ kids run on a weekly basis. Club starts at 7:30 a.m. and we have kids that run more than 100 miles each school year. I’ll sometimes wear our Roadrunner mascot costume and do a few laps with the kids, which is really hard because those costumes are big and heavy!

Does running affect how you work and engage with students? If so, how?

That’s funny actually – I talk about my marathon running a lot with kids. Even my long runs on the weekend and getting up early to train. It’s helpful in the fact to talk with the kids about the endurance of running, overcoming a bad race, the mental challenge aspect and also how to take care of your body so it performs well. Kids really can connect when they see my passion for running and talk about it in real life!

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How has that technology helped you find a community of runners?

Technology has first and foremost helped me track my training when I run. My Garmin is always on my wrist and I love pushing myself each workout. I’ve also used Voxer which is a walkie talkie app to stay connected with other runners from around the country and they’re daily motivation to get out of the house and lace up my shoes!

Can you tell us more about the principal community you are a part of on Voxer?

Endurance Educators is one of my favorite Voxer groups I belong too. We motivate each other, talk about current weather conditions (people are always jealous of my California weather) what shoes we wear, stretching and lately I’ve been sharing my favorite vegetarian recipes with everyone. That’s another thing, my wife (kids too) and I are vegetarians and we each log 30-40 miles a week and run sub 4:00 hour marathons, plant food has power!

What’s next for the Endurance Educators group?

We’re trying to find a marathon that we can all converge on and run together. The Marine Corps Marathon in October may be our chance, we’re trying to work out schedules and availability of everyone. I’m the only West Coast member of our Principal Runners group so I’ll likely be the one traveling! We’re all excited to meet in person and run 26.2 together, that’s the power in our tribe and doing the work we do!

Read more about another principal runner Jay Posick here, he’s a member of the Endurance Educators group with Adam.


About Derek
I’m a runner, a writer, and a shoe lover who enjoys morning coffee, travel, singing in the car, and getting legitimately lost on trail runs. Three things I can’t live without: bubble tea, Fridays, and my Brooks PureFlow’s.

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