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Run Local Spotlight: Leland Little

Posted on: 30 May 2019
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Greetings, Bull City Running readers! Thank you for tuning in for the third edition of our Run Local Community Spotlight! We are excited to introduce you to Bull City Track Club member and recent Boston Qualifier, Leland Little! If that names sounds familiar to you, it’s because Leland is more than just a local running celebrity. He is THE Leland Little of Leland Little Auctions in Hillsborough and the man that you should thank (in addition to Eric Hodge) if you’ve ever won a trip for pledging money to NPR! (Thanks for being such a great supporter of our running community AND public radio, Leland!)

In addition to being a regular runner and a successful local business owner, Leland is a devoted father and husband and we look forward to his visits to Bull City Running with his daughters Emma and Madison and sometimes even his wife Beth almost every Sunday! He was kind enough to take time out of his busy schedule to meet us for coffee and share his running story with us recently. Get ready to be inspired to chase some big goals by his tales of discipline, grit, and glory!

Where it all started…

First and foremost, we were excited to uncover Leland’s running origin story and primary sources of motivation. We presented him with the following questions…

BCRC: What is the source of your Bull City Running Co. connection? How did you find us, or how did we find you?

Leland: I moved to Durham in 2011, and by 2012- 2013 I had established myself as a self-proclaimed jogger. I decided that I wanted to make the transition from jogger to self-proclaimed runner, and I needed a local running shop to help me do it! I chose BCRC because as business owner I always make a point to support other local businesses. I loved the service and expertise I received on my first visit to store and I’ve been a loyal shopper ever since!

Leland with his daughters, Emma & Madison

BCRC: Thank you for your wonderful and loyal support! We truly appreciate and enjoy your regular visits with the girls! Tell us more about why you run and what running gives back to you.

Leland: When I was growing up my dad was a runner. I sometimes ran short distances with him and watched him train for and run the Marine Corps Marathon 3 times. Now that we have daughters of our own, my wife and I believe that it is important to model good health behavior habits for them, and running is a way to that that suites my busy lifestyle. I can get up early and do it without impacting my family’s routine or my responsibilities to them. Running is also an activity that is accessible when I am traveling for work or on vacation. It’s a great, fun way to explore new places!

A well-earned BQ…

BCRC: We love how your running motivation is rooted in setting a good example for your daughters. You are such a cool dad! Please take this opportunity to brag a bit on your proudest running accomplishment.

Leland and his Bull City Track Club teammate Mike Kelley cruising through mile 20 of the 2019 Wrightsville Beach Marathon.

Leland: My proudest running moment is easily the Boston qualifier I ran in March at the Wrightsville Beach Marathon! Getting the BQ had been a long-term goal of mine that I set my sights on when I made the commitment to transitioning from jogger to runner. It took me 6 years and 2 prior BQ attempts to get there, and I credit 3 key things that made it possible:
1) Time and patience with myself and my training progression.
2) Working with my coach, Kari Wilkinson. She has been incredibly helpful in both fine-tuning my training routine and making me more injury-resistant by improving my running form.
3) Training with my speedy friends! Every Tuesday I meet my friends Mike Kelley and Rick Woods for a run around the neighborhood. I’ve also become a regular at the 6:30 am Sunday Rise runs with The Pauls (Kalin and Sexton) and the rest of the Bull City Track Club long run squad. Training with friends provides company to keep things fun, the challenge of keeping up with the speedsters, and accountability to keep showing up on a consistent basis.

Leland qualifies for Boston!

*Side note: Leland’s Tuesday morning training partner Dr. Mike Kelley paced him to his Boston Qualifier race in Wrightsville Beach this year AND ran Wrightsville with Leland in 2018 (his 2nd BQ attempt) as well. His Sunday running pal Paul Kalin was also in Wrightsville Beach for Leland’s triumph BQ cheering for him from the sidelines. Just another wonderful example of how team work makes the dream work when it comes to achieving big running goals!

What’s next for Leland?

BCRC: Undoubtedly, our favorite thing about these Community Spotlight interviews is learning about the various ways our vibrant running community has elevated so many of our favorite individuals to achieving their loftiest fitness goals! Many congratulations on catching that Boston Qualifier, Leland! What’s next for you as far as running goes?

Leland: I’m looking forward to focusing on shorter distances to build strength and speed over the summer, and registering for Boston in September! Otherwise, I’m just trying to stay healthy so I can have a great experience there next April!

Leland’s go-to advice & gear…

BCRC: That’s awesome! Boston is a magical race, and we’re proud of all the hard work you’ve done to earn a spot there! You’ve surely picked up some great running advice along the way. Would you share your favorite piece with us now?

Leland: Of course! I think the best piece of advice I’ve received is “Don’t let your mind limit you!” Our bodies are capable of more than we think. I’ve found that training as part of the BCTC community keeps me engaged in my training and that helps me run faster and more consistently. Which brings me to my favorite advice to give to new runners. That would be to find a network that supports and motivates you and let them lift you up towards reaching your goals!

BCRC: Very wise and useful advice whether you’re on the giving or the receiving end of it! Let’s wrap up with one last question, Leland. As your go-to local running store, we’re dying to know about your favorite running gear! Tell us about the good stuff you can’t live without!

Leland: Well, most importantly, I’ve got to have a good pair of shoes. My current favorite is the Nike Vomero. I was a Nike runner back in my high school days, but most of my adult running had been done in Brooks up until a pre-goal marathon shoe fitting with Jason. He reconnected me with the comfortable, speedy Nikes of my youth and I haven’t looked back since! I’m also nothing without my Garmin GPS watch to keep track of my pace and distance. At Brett’s recommendation, I treated myself to an upgrade to the Forerunner 645 as a reward for finally nailing that BQ. And finally, I rely on my lemon-lime flavored Nuun (the non-caffeinated variety) to keep my electrolyte and fluid levels optimal before, during, and after runs.

In Conclusion: We salute and commend the way Leland balances being a business man, a family man, and a runner who trains at a high level! Leland, we are grateful to have been a part of your Boston qualifying journey and so thrilled to see you reach this lofty goal in the good company of your Bull City Track Club teammates! Thank you making us feel like part of your family and we’re excited to support you as you look forward to Boston 2020!

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