The day of the Teton Dam Marathon was no ordinary day for one BYU-Idaho student. The cool temperatures made it a great race day for Aaron Withers, a freshman studying web design and development. Withers competed in the annual Teton Dam Marathon and placed first this year.

Q: What would you say was your first experience with running? What got you started?

A: My first experience? Well I can definitely remember learning to like running because I had always kind of ran here and there before, around 10th grade, but for some reason I, I just fell in love with it because I started running every day, and my dad was a runner too. So I just wanted to see if there was some sense in running every day. That’s what I did, and it just kind of grew on me.

Q: What would you say it is that you love about it?

A: It gives me time to think. I think some of the clearest thinking that I do is when I’m running. Usually, it’s just a great step back from school and just different things that can cause stress as well. So running is just a great outlet.

Q: So you had an average of a little under seven-minute mile pace which is very impressive. What kept you motivated?

A: I didn’t think I would win, but I did want to. I kind of had this when I signed up for the marathon. I think in December I just had this crazy thought that “well if I train hard enough, I can maybe win it.” So it was just kind of funny when that actually happened.

Q: Can you describe what some of your basic workout routines were?

A: So it was kind of a balance between school and running; sometimes I had to kind of squeeze it into the schedule. Most weeks I would run anywhere between 30 and 50 miles, just the combination of longer and shorter runs. Then closer to the race, there were more like interval training workouts where I go run 12 four-hundreds or adrenaline, seven-minute timed race just to see how fast, how my speed was.

Q: When did you start training? I know people say it takes a lot of dedication. Was it three, six months out?

A: It was kind of hit and miss. I started probably, let’s see, maybe four or five months ago, but the first couple of months were kind of sporadic. It was my first semester, and so I was trying to learn how do I balance homework, running and a social life. I guess when I was training the hardest it was just the month right before the race.

Q: Now that you’ve completed the Teton Dam Marathon, what would you say is your next big race?

A: I’ve had that question a lot actually, and I don’t know yet. I would do the Boston Marathon or run in a marathon that qualifies me for the Boston Marathon, but I have to see to make sure that’s not on Sunday. I’ll definitely run this race next year, I think, just for kicks, because I’ll be here. Maybe later in this year, I might think about running a marathon.

Q: Have you ever given any thought in competing in an Ironman competition?

A: That’s another one of those crazy bucket list things. So marathon is off the list now. So, I guess I could start thinking about an Ironman.