Ze Dagher

zedagherWhen did you begin running and why?

I began running, after a soccer ball, when I was 5 years old. I didn’t really realize this until much later but, my best skill in soccer was simply outrunning other players. I only started running miles around 2007 (29 yo) when I decided to run the Boulder Pearl Street Mile: I had a bet with a friend that I can beat the 6 min mark in that race. I trained for 2 weeks, on a treadmill, and ran a 5’32. I was hooked ever since. I migrated rather quickly after that to trail running, with the occasional mile trial every now and then. I first got into road running in 2017.

How did you find out about DCRRC and when did you join?

I moved to the DMV area in 2016, and mainly was running VA trails until an unplanned 10K road race in 2017, when I accidentally discovered that I may have some speed left in these legs. I decided to then train for road races starting in 2018. I looked up running groups in the area and eventually found DCRR in 2019.

What are you training for right now?

What I have been training for all my life, rather poorly: how fast can I really run the mile? On the roads, I normally stick to distances less than 1/2 marathons. On the trails, I just run.

What is the toughest run or race you've ever participated in?

Every 1 mile race. I have run more trails than I remember, in all sort of weather, elevations and conditions. But as I love trail running, I never considered those runs tough, they’re just fun. I hate 1 mile races, but if you know me, you know I can’t shut up about wanting to run the mile under 5 mins. I have failed in every 1 mile race I have run, except the first. But, ultimately, it is those failures that have made this race the most special for me.

What's your favorite part about being a DCRRC member?

The incredible diversity of the group. I have learnt so much, not only about running, but also about life in general, from this special group of running friends. Every run is a lesson. Every person has a unique approach to running, athletics and life. Running has a unique way to connect people from various backgrounds. Trail running teaches me about our connectedness to nature. Road running teaches me about our connectedness to each other.

What's the most important lesson running has taught you?

Knowing how to fail. I am a very competitive person, in life, work and sports. Nothing teaches you failure, more consistently and predictably, than running. How are you going to use that failure? Ready? Go.

What is your favorite route in the area?

The Appalachian Trail in Shenandoah

What race day traditions do you have?

I am still working on that. So I guess I don’t have a tradition yet. As runners we are always told to listen to our bodies. One tradition I am trying to learn on race day is the opposite: ignore what my body is telling me, and tell it to listen to me instead, just for that one event. Paradoxically, the shorter the distance, the harder it is for me to do.

What's your proudest running moment?

…the moment when I will break the 5min mile. See what I mean? I can’t shut up about it.

What's your favorite running book?

Two books changed why, and how, I run. 1) Life as Sport, by Jonathan Fader. 2) Endure: Mind, Body and The Curiously Elastic Limits of Human Performance, by Alex Hutchinson.

What’s your life like outside of running?

Running after the passion of my life: my boy and my girl.

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The DC Road Runners Club is a member of the Road Runners Club of America and is also affiliated with USA Track & Field. We provide a year-round schedule of running events that offer everyone a chance to participate regardless of age, gender, or athletic ability.