Rob McNair-Huff

RUNNING, TACOMA

At A Glance
  • Boston Marathon for first time in 2018
  • Ran 2,100 miles in 2017
  • Co-founder, Tacoma Runners
Why I Love the Sport
“You never have a bad feeling after a run. Even when you don’t feel like it, once you get going you’re always better for it.”
 
Fun Follows Tacoma Runners Every Thursday Night
These athletes aren’t kidding about “going on a beer run.” Every Thursday the Tacoma Runners meet for a 3-mile route that starts and ends at a local bar.

Sometimes more than 100 runners show up.

“People enjoy the social part the most,” said Rob, one of the group’s co-founders.

The weekly event started eight years ago with a Twitter conversation between Rob and friends Derek Young and Mike Hahn. They decided to go for a short run and hang out at a bar afterward. Seven people showed up. Word got around and the next week, 12 runners came, then 16. Now it’s common to see 60 people or more each week.

Runners of every pace are welcome. The route and the bar vary each week. It’s only been canceled once because of weather—an icy Thursday night in 2012.

“Safety is a priority for us, especially with a crowd this size,” Rob said. Runners wear headlamps and reflective gear to stay visible on winter runs.

Boston Marathon Dream Comes True
Rob was a runner in high school. He continued with the sport until an injury changed those plans.

Then he turned 40 and decided to start running again. Now he runs 50 miles a week, training for local marathons, relay runs and, for the first time this year, the Boston Marathon.

“Qualifying for Boston was the highlight of my running career,” Rob said. “Even though the 2018 Boston Marathon was wet and cold—the coldest in 30 years—it was a great celebration of running.”

Rob has completed a couple 50-mile runs. He has also run in Quadzilla—four marathons in four days, starting on Thanksgiving Day in and around Seattle. Depending on weather and how he’s feeling, he might do a mix of marathon and half-marathon distances during that four-day span. In 2013 he ran the four half-marathon routes (the Quadzuki) and took home the men’s first place medal with a total time of 7:06:27.

Tacoma Runners Restructure for the Future
When he’s not planning training runs, Rob enjoys the fun with Tacoma Runners every Thursday at 6:30 p.m. He has planned most of the routes over the years with the help of a volunteer leadership committee.

In response to its growth, Tacoma Runners is changing its structure to become a nonprofit organization. It will have a more formal leadership board, be able to accept donations from individuals and sponsor organizations, and more easily address insurance and other needs.

“We want to keep the group going, and we hope it stays approachable,” Rob said.

Why Tacoma and South Sound?
Rob graduated from the University of Puget Sound and has lived in Tacoma ever since. As often as he can he commutes by bike to his job as director of communication and fund development at Metropolitan Development Council in downtown Tacoma.

“This is a great place to be active. There are so many outdoor things you can do,” Rob said. “For running, Tacoma has so many options—the waterfront, the bridges, the hills.”

In his free time, Rob enjoys photography and bird watching. And every Thursday night is set aside for a run and fun with his Tacoma Runners family.

“Tacoma is the smallest town of 200,000 people you’ll ever find.”