Featured Runner “Joe Galloway” February 2018

Joe Galloway (in his own words): I am one of the slowest ultrarunners you will ever meet.  I refer to organized runs as “events” and not “races.”  But every day seems to revolve around running, trying out new things for running, and getting ready for the next run.  I’m grateful to all of the participants and volunteers for creating such a welcoming community.  The individual with probably the most impact over the years has been Eric Steele, as a race director, aid station worker, and fellow participant, in ultras all over Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma, since I first met him in 2004.  Happy Trails, everyone!!!


Date of Birth:   April 21, 1957.

Place of Birth:   Ottumwa, Iowa.

Currently Residing:  Des Moines, Iowa.

Marital Status:  Married to Amy.

Job(s): Self-employed attorney.

Children:  Carson, fellow ultrarunner, age 27, who can leave me in a cloud of dust!!!

Height: 5’10”

Weight:  160

Shoe Size:  11

Best Physical Feature: Getting so old there really isn’t any at this point!!!

Worst Physical Feature: Right now my left foot which has distal tarsal tunnel pain.

Religion:  Unaffiliated

Political Affiliation:  Don’t seem to fit in any party.

Educational Background:  Law

Personal Strength(s): Never gotten bored or tired of running, all year-round, always looking forward to the next run.

Personal Weakness(es): Poor housekeeper.

Make Of Car You Drive:  Subaru Outback.

Make Of Car You Would Like To Drive:  Subaru Outback.

Pets:  Six cats.  Never a dull moment except during the daily naptime in the afternoon for the kitties.


Favorite Author:  Zach Adams

Favorite Book:  That’s tough, but I can tell you what book has the best ending ever:  “The Wild Blue” by Stephen Ambrose, featuring George McGovern’s experiences as a WWII bomber pilot.

Favorite Non-running Magazine: Backpacker

Favorite Movie:  The Lighthorsemen (about Australian cavalry in WWI).

Favorite TV Show: St. Elsewhere (ended in 1986). Don’t watch TV any more.

Favorite Actor/Actress: Clint Eastwood

Favorite Music:  Moody Blues

Favorite Musical Performer:  Moody Blues Band

Favorite Artist:  Poetry is art, so it’s Polly Choate.

Favorite Spectator Sport:  Vikings football (because as a child I thought vikings were cool).

Favorite Subject in School:  History

Favorite Game:  Pittsburgh Pirates baseball (because as a child I thought pirates were cool).

Favorite Vacation Destination:  The woods and backroads of Union County, Iowa.

Favorite Time Of Day: All times of day and night are good. But nothing really beats a magical night on the run.

Favorite Item Of Clothing:  Rabbit pelts when it’s really cold.  Wrap a pelt around the toes of each foot and shove it into an oversized shoe.  Wear another as a loincloth underneath running clothes.  Then run in comfort knowing essential parts are protected.

Favorite Non-Running Leisure Activity:  Bicycling, very slowly.

Favorite Running Shoe:  I have a different favorite one for each event.

Favorite Food/Drink Before An Ultra:  Coffee

Favorite Food/Drink During An Ultra:  Potatoes; Coconut water (made on the course using powder packets).

Favorite Food/Drink After An Ultra: Coffee

Favorite Crew/Pacer Person(s): Crew – Amy Galloway; Running partner – Carson Galloway.

Favorite Place To Run:  Union County, Iowa gravel roads.

Favorite Type Of Running Surface:  Gravel, grass, dirt.  I generally avoid pavement.

Favorite Famous Quote:  This is famous as far as I’m concerned.  At the Susitna 100 on the second night out, I fell hard, down a steep icy ravine and just lay there motionless, wondering how many broken bones I had, inaccessible in the Alaskan wilderness.   Don Clark was at the top of the far side of the ravine and yelled down to me in the darkness, “You look okay from here.  Let’s get going.”  Well, if you insist…..


Number of Years Running Ultras: 16

Number of Ultras Finished:  33 one-hundred mile finishes; numerous other ultras.

Best Ultra Performance(s):  I usually finish at the very back of the pack, but one year at Bob Risser’s Cameron, Missouri New Year’s Fat Ass, everybody else dropped out because of the cold and snow so technically I was the winner (those rabbit pelts saved the day).

Most Memorable Ultra:  So many to choose from, but my first FlatRock 101K in 2014 stands out.  I was running with Carson and I didn’t think either one of us would make it as darkness fell.  But the night turned out to be magical with encouragement from runners and volunteers, all sorts of nocturnal creatures appeared on the trail, and even the rocks seemed to be easier to see than during the day.  We both finished.

Joe cruising down some rock at the FlatRock 101K!

Typical Training Week(s) Before A Major Race:  100 miles a month, 12 months a year is my basic training for everything.

Injuries: Sore knees (solved with knee bands); distal tarsal tunnel pain in left foot.

Ultrarunning Idol:  Don Clark of St. Paul, Minnesota.

Why Do You Run Ultras:   I started out with marathons, but always finished last and that got kind of old.  So I went into ultras.  I still finish last, but finishing feels like winning.

Advice For Other Ultrarunners:   Maybe this doesn’t apply to “fast” folks, but as a back-of-the-packer, I tell myself not to think about all the miles remaining until the finish, just the miles until the next aid station, and sometimes just to the next landmark or turn.  Easier said than done!


Personal Hero:  Roberto Clemente

Personal Philosophy:  The Serenity Prayer

Short-Term Goal: Limp my way to another 100-mile finish at McNaughton Park (April), and another 50K finish at Afton, Minnesota (July).

Long-Term Goal:  At my age, the Short-Term Goals are my Long-Term Goals.

Most Prized Possession:  Buckle collection.

Most Proud Achievements: 1000-mile club for Heartland; 1000-mile club for McNaughton Park (a/k/a Potawatomi); tied for most Afton 50k finishes (15).

Happiest Memory:  In 2014 I went down to Texas to see Carson graduate from an Air Force advanced school.   I didn’t know anybody and sat in the back of the auditorium, then some individuals with sergeant stripes all the way down to their elbows came in and sat nearby.  I was impressed, and then I overheard one telling somebody else that they had come to see “Galloway”, who was first in his class.  Overhearing that conversation, a thousand miles from home, is my #1 moment.

Secret Ambition/Fantasy:  To keep trudging the trail at 80, 90 years and beyond….

Greatest Adventure:  Helping my wife Amy, who is a veterinary technician, give round-the-clock care to two very thin, very sick kittens from the animal shelter.   I didn’t expect them to survive, but now Sherman and Shiloh are kings of the neighborhood jungle.


Least Liked Subject:  Gym.  As the ultimate non-athlete, I was always picked last for teams.

Least Liked Household Chore:   Cleaning

Pet Peeve(s):  People who think pressing their foot all the way down on a gas pedal makes them tough.  Our pioneer ancestors would not be impressed.

Greatest Fear:  Not being able to run.

Spare Time: Don’t have time for anything else!!!

Proud father, Joe, with his son Carson after both finishing
the 3rd and final leg of the FlatRock Triple Crown in 2016!




2 Responses to “Featured Runner “Joe Galloway” February 2018”

  1. Dave

    One of the best Featured Runner posts I’ve read yet. Thanks so much for your candor and wisdom Joe. And it’s always great to see you out there. From one late-bloomer to another, here’s to many more 1000-mile clubs for you.

  2. B.J. Thomas

    It was great to read about you Joe! As a very slow 60 yr. old Ultra runner I love his story! My problem isn’t finishing last but beating time cutoffs! I would love to run at the back of the pack with Joe sometime! I like his 100 monthly miles x 12 method! May have to adapt to that myself. Right not I usually go with “time on feet” for my long runs.

    Thanks for publishing his story. B.J. Thomas Huntingburg, Indiana

Leave a Reply

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Facebook Iconfacebook like buttonTwitter Icontwitter follow button