An Interview with Herb Byun (HB) – Interview conducted by Kevin Langton (KL) ~ Editors Note; of all the impressive performances at the 2018 Afton Trail Run, Herb’s time of 7:08 and placing 193rd out of 293 starters at the age of 74 is simply staggering and one of the top performances of the year. All hail the OG’s.
KL: Hi Herb. Congrats on another great run at Afton—and on such an incredible string of runs at Afton. This is your sixteenth Afton finish and you ran an awesome race (7:08:05). What were your plans or goals for the race and how did the race play out for you?
HB: I started the Afton 50k 18 times and finished 16. I had one wrong way and one really bad time after a wine party before the race. I asked do not record my time for those races. I hope I can run a few more with respectable time.
KL: Please tell us about some of the biggest changes you’ve seen at Afton.
HB: From 60+ finishers to 270+ 50K finishers!!
KL: Do you have any Afton memories that stand out above others that you’d like to share?
HB: Three or four years ago a runner in front me crashed at the Snow Shoe Trail downhill (last section). I don’t know whether it was preventable.
KL: It’s safe to say that not many people are doing what you’re doing at 74 years old, not only running 50k races, but running such sweet times for them. What advice do you have for runners as they age? (What are you doing different today than you were 16 years ago?)
HB: I didn’t accept the reality that I was slowing down until I was 70 years old. I still spend the same number of running hours as when I was in my 50s. Of course, the mileage is not there. I feel like I play tennis and dance with the same intensity, but running asks more from my aged cardiovascular system. I guess maintaining the weight, more muscle and training intensity helps me. It’s my commitment—some people dream of worthy goals, while others stay awake and accomplish them.
KL: What’s something non-running that helps you at Afton?
HB: I do cross country ski during the winter from Thanksgiving to February. I think skiing helps rest my knees. Of course, I need 2-3 weeks warm-up when I return to running in March.
KL: What’s something else we should know about you?
HB: I ski downhill ski at Afton. Several runners train at the downhill ski area regularly. If you haven’t tried the ski area, walk up and run down the 300 foot black diamond runs across the main chalet. It’s an ultimate challenge around here.