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UT scientist set for Boston debut

Brom Hoban
Fred Taylor ran his first marathon at age 58.

Dr. Fred Taylor is a senior research scientist at the University of Texas Institute for Geophysics, where he focuses his attention on things like tectonic shifts and the changes in global climate.

He also likes to run, and next week he'll be running his first Boston Marathon. For Taylor, who is 61 and has been running about 30 years, this is a milestone.Like many runners, he began on the paths around Lady Bird Lake. And, like many, his first real race was the Statesman Capitol 10,000.

"I didn't run a marathon until I was 58," he said. "I ran Austin. It turned out to be completely doable. I ran a 4:10, and wasn't really that tired. I wasn't pushing that hard."

Remarkably, Taylor only trains about 15-20 miles a week -- far less than the typical marathoner. But that may be the secret of his longevity.

"I'd been training with the Austin Fit group," he said. "You're supposed to get in some mileage during the week, but for the most part, I'd just showed up for the weekend long run. I've never been injured, so it seems to be working."

In 2009, he ran the Austin Marathon in 3:59:03, which turned out to meet the qualifying time for Boston, which is the only marathon other than the Olympic trials that requires a time to be met.

Taylor began running for the same reason other runners stop: a knee problem. "My knee used to get off track occasionally, and I'd have to pop it back'" he said. "I actually took up running to help condition it. After I started running, I've never had a problem with it."

If you spot a runner wearing a T-shirt with "Team Beef" emblazoned on it, you might be looking at Taylor. "A fellow runner in Austin Fit was on the Team Beef, a positive promotional campaign on the part of the Texas Beef Council, and my wife, also a marathoner, liked the idea," he said.

Other members of Team Beef going to Boston include Ali Christoph (running her first Boston) and Marlene Hicks of Georgetown, who has run four times.

Taylor says he likes to eat lean beef occasionally. "Sirloin is lean cut, and it's best when grass fed. The right kind will actually have Omega 3 fatty acids in it. I do watch my diet. We use olive oil and canola oil, avoid processed foods, and consume plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grains," said Taylor, who weighs 137 pounds.

"For me, running is a real stress buster. It has amazing affects on your psyche. I'm just glad to be able to still do it. A lot of people get injured -- maybe they try too hard or run marathons too soon. I ran for years before I did a half-marathon. And I went for another 17 years before I ran a marathon," he said.

Austin will be one of the best-represented cities in Boston with 158 runners, including Taylor."I'm excited about Boston," he added. "I kind of wish I've trained more for it, but I've been pretty busy."

Note: In Sunday's Cap 10 race, Team Mizuno took places one (Keith Pierce 30:33) and five (Benny Rodriguez 32:02), while Team Rogue Elite placed two through four (Michael Stanley, 31:07; Darren Brown, 31:20; and Adam Perkins, 31:34). Also competing for Team Rogue Elite was Allison Macsas, who clocked 35:39 for second place.

Upcoming races:

Saturday

KAPS Dragon 5K, 8 a.m. at the Katherine Anne Porter School, Wimberley. See www.runtex.com.

Vern's No Frills 5k, 8 a.m. at Berry Springs Park & Preserve, Georgetown. See www.runtex.com.

Shoes for Austin 5K and Kid's 1K, 8 a.m. at the Austin State School, 2203 W. 35th Street (35th and Exposition), Austin. See www.shoesforaustin.org.

Agape Pregnancy Center Run for Life 5K, 8 a.m. in Round Rock. Call (512) 818-1364.

Blanco 5K River Run, 9 a.m. at Blanco State Park, Blanco. Call (512) 644-7887.