5 Questions with 2019 BankNewport 10 Miler Winner Stephen Paddock

On a foggy Newport morning in June, Stephen Paddock lined up at the start of the 2019 BankNewport 10 Miler. From the sound of the starting horn until he broke the tape, Paddock never relented his lead on the pack of runners. After he caught his breath, we caught up with the speedster from Glastonbury, Conn.
Why do you like running the 10-mile distance — and what distance is your absolute favorite?
I like the 10-mile distance because you’re running right around your lactate threshold which allows you to walk the line of pushing just hard enough to remain competitive, but not overextending to die out with a mile or 2 to go. The 10 mile is also great because it is a manageable distance; by the time it starts getting really difficult you only have 20-25 minutes left. My current focus in training and favorite distance is the marathon although my best distance would probably be 30k. I have yet to perfect the marathon and have difficulty closing the final 10k, but I’m getting closer every time!
This was your first year running the BankNewport 10 Miler, was there a part of the course that stood out to you? A favorite, the most challenging, etc? 
I really liked the entire course. The obvious answer is the rocky coastal scenery along Ocean Drive. This year it was very foggy during the race so you couldn’t see much past the shore, but the waves crashing and shooting water out of the fog added a unique and exciting element to the race. After Ocean Drive, you take a left onto Bellevue and I got the unique privilege of running down the center of the road over-arched by trees and with no one in sight. Once you turn onto Ruggles you get some nice rollers that aren’t too aggressive to slow you down but are enough to work through the paces.
When you ran the BankNewport 10 Miler this year, you said you ran most of it alone. Do you prefer running solo and the mental challenge, or the tactical challenge that comes with racing in a pack? Do you prefer different situations when training versus when racing?
I’d consider the ideal race to be one where there is a tight pack of runners upfront all at very similar abilities. This would turn into a tactical, but quick race rather than a sit and kick type of race. I hate sprinting and am not very good at it so n tight races I try to work away from the competition over the course of the last mile or 2, not the last 400m.
What does race prep look like for you, from the day before until the minute before the starting gun? 
Typically the day before I like to get out on the course for an easy 5 miles to get a feel for the course and to visualize how I’ll feel the next day. Unfortunately, our plans worked out so I had to run prior to traveling to Newport this year so I didn’t get to run on the course. I did drive the course in its entirety to gain that same familiarity. From the evening before to the morning of the race I don’t worry or think too much about the race because it isn’t of use. On race morning I like to get up a few hours before the race for some oatmeal. I typically arrive about an hour before the start and about a half-hour to go I do 10 minutes of easy jogging followed by dynamic drills and strides. In the minutes leading up to the race, I close my eyes and tell myself I can push myself more than anyone else there. This isn’t to say that I’m anticipating on crossing the finish line first at every race. I just ingrain in my mind that I will perform to the best of my abilities on that given day because everything else (for example other runners or weather) is out of my control.
 In a movie about your life, who would play you?
This one was a hard one for me. I took a “Buzzfeed” quiz to try and figure out which celebrity I’m most like and the results came up as Scott Wesley. But, I don’t know who that is so I guess I’ll go with Ed Helms. I’m known primarily for my constant (sometimes annoyingly so) sense of humor and Ed Helms is pretty funny. Also, I’m a big fan of “The Office” and I’m not cool enough to be played by John Krasinski.