Tim Murphy was a runner before he realized it. In those early days of staying in shape for high school wrestling, not only did he not acknowledge he was a runner, he understandably had no idea he would end up with a career in the running industry.
The two sports have striking similarities, though they may not be obvious to those who never participated in one sport or another.
“Wrestling and running are both so great in that nothing comes easily – every minute of practice is such a grind, and every point or win is very hard-fought,” said Murphy, who did not run competitively in high school or college. “Even those born with a ton of talent or an ideal body type — as long as someone is truly pushing themselves to be the best they can be, there's no easy way to find success. Sure, you might run faster than me because you were born with a different body or vice versa — but if we are both honestly pushing ourselves and training our butts off, we both suffer the same.”
While wrestling matches are measured in minutes and long-distance races take hours, both sports require mental toughness.
“Being a wrestler definitely helped make me the runner I am today,” he said. “I once heard that wrestlers make really good runners and cyclists because wrestlers know how to suffer, and I think that's really true. Wrestling is just such a nasty, brutal sport when you factor in weight training, cardio, actual wrestling and weight-cutting. It definitely helps prepare one for those really tough late miles.“
The accidental tourist runner
During a semester abroad in college, Murphy found his passion for running — in Italy of all places.
“I used to go for longer runs exploring up into the hills with my roommate,” he said. “Those were the days I became a ‘runner’ because it stopped being an exercise ‘chore,’ it became something I really looked forward to and truly enjoyed. I've always loved running as a way to explore new places, and once I started training for races, the sport took on a larger role in my life. Now with BibRave and all the racing my wife, Jess, and I do — it's pretty much all running all the time!”
Right after completing college, Murphy finished his first race. “It was fun but didn't mean a whole lot to me.”
He needed competition. He needed an inspiring race. The Marine Corps Marathon 10K served as his catalyst for dramatic change.
His roommate persuaded Murphy to sign up for the 10K. “The competitive side of me wanted to try to beat him, but I also didn't know if I could run that far,” Murphy remembered. “After the race I saw a lot of older ladies who could have been my grandma wearing the full marathon finisher shirts and I thought, ‘Huh. OK, maybe I should try running longer distances.’ So I signed up for my first half marathon and shortly after, my first full marathon in 2009.”
A 100-mile quest
As time went on, Murphy knocked off more marathons and dabbled in ultras. But he began to lose his passion for road races. “I've been chasing PRs for about five years now, and the prospect of doing another marathon just felt a bit uninspired,” he reflected.
Murphy needed a change. He needed a big goal. He found what he needed in the Leadville 100-mile race in Colorado.
Murphy had paced the Leadville 100 two years ago for 50 miles, “It was the hardest thing I'd ever done (it's not very typical to have one pacer for 50 miles, so I definitely did that one the hard way),” he said. “Matt, the guy I paced, was always pushing me to run it with him, because he also went on to run it the following two years.”
As Murphy began thinking about Leadville, his cousin, Pizza Steve, was also making noise about signing up. “Steve put into the lottery, and Matt was already in, so I decided to put in as well,” he said. “When I realized that, if I DIDN'T get in via the lottery, I knew I'd be really bummed — that was when I knew that I REALLY wanted to run the race. So when I didn't get in, I signed up for the Leadville training camp, which comes with a guaranteed spot.”
On the BibRave podcast, Murphy and others detail his struggles and triumph at Leadville. While his background in wrestling didn’t come up, it certainly made a difference as Murphy slogged through the tough miles.
“To summarize as best I can, I wasn't thinking in a ton of detail,” he remembers. “I was really just trying to keep moving, eat and drink what I could when I could, and trying not to let down my crew and pacers, who were all amazing. There's no chance I finish that race without my pacers and crew, not to mention awesome training and racing buddies like Matt and Pizza Steve.”
A running entrepreneur
As Murphy participated in more races early in his running journey, he saw a need for a resource.
“BibRave came out of Jess and I running a lot of good races and just noticing what makes really good races stand out,” he said. “We wanted to create a place where runners could hear from other runners about what they liked and what races were doing it right. From there, BibRave was born!”
For the uninitiated, BibRave is a community of runners who review races, engage on social media and support each other regardless of running skill or experience. The highlight each week comes at 9 Eastern / 8 Central when BibRave hosts #BibChat on Twitter. A weekly podcast episode comes out on Fridays where Murphy and others discuss all things running — races, training, nutrition, injury care and prevention, and much more.
“If you're considering signing up for a race, definitely check out the event on BibRave to see what other runners say before paying an entry fee, training, traveling, and running a goal race,” Murphy recommended.
Murphy also recommends participating in the weekly #BibChat, when most weeks a sponsor will give out free samples to a few participants.
“#BibChat is where it's at for talking with other runners and hearing about new running related products. There is SO MUCH experience at #BibChat — literally hundreds of runners exchanging tips/ideas/tricks — because so many runners come from so many different perspectives. So, it's really a very positive exchange of ideas about running. It's also super high-energy, and very fast-paced, so definitely in line with how we runners operate.”
Name: Tim Murphy
Hometown: Pewaukee, Wisc.
Number of years running: Racing , 8 years
Weekly mileage: Varies greatly; usually 50-75
Point of pride: Winning a 50-mile race and landing on the podium at a competitive Oregon 50K
Favorite race distance: 50K or 10 mile
Favorite pre-race or training food/drink: COFFEE
Favorite piece of gear: I don’t even know where to begin. Probably a tie between my BUFF and AfterShokz.
Where can other runners contact/follow you: Personal Twitter and Instagram: @tmurph135; Business Twitter and Instagram: @BibRave