Justin Gillette, a Goshen marathoner, ranks sixth in the world with 77 victories. His best marathon time is 2:25:44.
Even so, as he logs 100 or more training miles a week, he is usually a few steps behind his children — pushing a stroller. His children, Miles, 4, and Jasmine, 1, are along for the ride.
Gillette and Anthony Anderson, the assistant sports editor at The Elkhart Truth, returned to Write on Sports Goshen on Tuesday, once again serving as interview partners. The model interview that opened the session was actually more “real” than “mock” since Anderson said that he intends to publish a spot story on Gillette later in the week.
Anderson said that he was especially interested in Gillette’s quest to climb the list of most marathon victories. Gillette is only two victories away from a tie for fifth place. His personal goal is to reach No. 1, a position now held by Chuck Engle, with 173 victories. “I think I’ll catch him,” said Gillette, whose strategy includes eating oatmeal two hours before every race.
Gillette is still returning to top racing form after a bout with plantar fasciitis that forced him to rest in August and September and again earlier this year. “I’m healthy now,” he said.
Running is a family affair for Gillette and his wife, Melissa, who in May won the Kalamazoo Marathon in three hours, six minutes and 19 seconds. For the past several years, Melissa Gillette was earning a doctorate at Notre Dame, with Justin serving as the primary caregiver and wage earner through his marathons.
That prompted one of the Write on Sports journalists to ask how much he earns as a runner. Gillette said that some races may pay more than $3,000 and others only $500. A good year of running might yield $60,000.
He’s feeling less pressure to earn prize money now that Melissa finished her degree and recently became a director of cancer care at St. Joseph Medical Center in South Bend.
So why keep running? someone asked. “I’ve always wanted to avoid working,” he said, pausing before the smile.