Ignacio Moore: inspired by ‘masters’ competition, fueled by Friday cinnamon rolls

A team from Blacksburg finished fifth in the 200-mile Blue Ridge Relay in 2012: (left to right) Brandon Bear, Chad Holt, Frank Locascio, Ignacio Moore, Mike Tarpey and Caman Skelton

Ignacio Moore shares his Blacksburg racing ritual: A Friday morning cinnamon roll at Bollo’s Cafe and Bakery downtown.

“I try to have one before every race weekend,” he says.

It sure works for him.

Ignacio is fast. Check the results from almost any race around Blacksburg in recent years and you’ll likely find his name among the top finishers.

Ignacio’s the defending champion in the Runabout Race Series, having won or finished second in six of the 10 races to claim the 2017 title. His results included 1:02:46 (6:16 pace per mile) in the 10-mile Blacksburg Classic, 37:33 (6:02 pace) in the Pearisburg Eye Run 10K, 1:20:04 (6:07 pace) in the Hokie Half Marathon and 17:29 (5:37 pace) in the Frosty 5K.

Ignacio didn’t run in high school. In fact, he says he used to “hate” running but he’s long had a passion for endurance sports. He took up bike racing in high school and kept at it until his early 30s.

“I raced pretty much any type of bicycle from mountain bikes to the velodrome,” he said.

Then, Ignacio and his wife, Lisa Belden, had a baby girl, Amalia.

“When my daughter was born in 2006, it became evident that I needed to find a new sport as riding takes too much time away from the family,” he said. “So, I bought a running stroller and started running on the Huckleberry Trail with her. I still remember the first time I ran the whole length of the trail to the mall and back!”

Ignacio’s run the Boston Marathon three times, the New York City Marathon twice and the Chicago Marathon once. At age 47, he says he’s inspired by the competitive group of over-40 “masters” runners in the New River Valley – a group that includes 2015 Runabout Race Series winner Brian Walter (Ignacio finished second), 2016 Runabout Race Series winner Kevin McGuire (Ignacio finished third) and Andy Norton, currently fifth (one spot in front of Ignacio) in the 2018 standings.

“It’s a bunch of old guys beating the crap out of each other,” he joked. “We are all super competitive during the race but we also cheer for each other afterwards.”

Screen Shot 2018-12-16 at 8.22.49 AM
Ignacio Moore nears the finish of the 2018 Hokie Half Marathon. He finished ninth out of more than 1,100 runners. Photo by Jon Fleming

Ignacio Moore

Age: 47

Hometown: Lives in Blacksburg with his wife, Lisa Belden; his daughter, Amalia; and his son, Camilo

Occupation: Professor of Biological Sciences at Virginia Tech. Read about his research with reptiles, amphibians, and birds.

Most satisfying running accomplishment? The Blue Ridge Relay (which starts in Grayson Highlands State Park near Mount Rogers and finishes in Asheville) with Frank Locascio, Brandon Bear, Chad Holt, Mike Tarpey and Caman Skelton in  2012. We ended up 5th place overall and the top 4 were all 12-man teams full of ex-collegiate runners. We averaged 6:48/mile for over 200 miles. I think we beat the next 6-person team by like 3 hours.

How has your training changed as you have gotten older? Since I never ran when I was young, it hasn’t changed too much. I try to do one long run per week and one workout, often on the track.

Most frustrating running experience? I think I am done getting faster, now I am just trying to not get too much slower.

Worst injury? Probably the bone bruise I am currently dealing with from trying to play soccer with my daughter. Even that hasn’t been bad.

Advice for new runners? Do whatever you can to be outside. Walk, hike, run, ride, whatever… just enjoy the day!

Favorite race? Eastern Divide Ultra. It’s long but it’s not that hard and it is kind of fast. The 8-mile version is great fun!

Proudest race moment? Probably the Blue Ridge Relay in 2012. Maybe running 2:49 at the NYC marathon in 2017.

Trails or roads? Both have their place and are fun. I love the sense of adventure of trails but running on the road/track is great with convenience and speed.

Suggestion for growing/improving our running community? Keep encouraging kids to run. In too many sports, running is the penalty for not listening to your coach or trying your best or whatever. So kids grow ups hating running. Things like the Youth Track League show kids that running can be fun and rewarding itself. In fact, I think I have more fun at Youth Track League each summer than at any other events! And running is one sport you can do forever and help kids develop healthy lifestyles.

Fact many people don’t know about you? I used to hate running. In high school I played tennis and we would goof off and have to run laps on the track. We would go just out of sight of coach and walk.

Running goals for 2019? Try and have a better race at the Chicago Marathon. Maybe set a PR at the Draper Mile.

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Ignacio and Amalia

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