John Lofthus – Runner’s Profile


John Lofthus – Runner’s Profile

By Gene Deering and Joe Howell

So what is up with this “All Gaucho” term you keep seeing in the media these days? If you Google it, John Lofthus’ photo comes up……seriously, Lofthus is the ultimate All Gaucho. He is a UCSB Triathlon Team alum, is the associate director of the UCSB Alumni Association and created and continues as race director for the Gaucho Gallop (April 26th; GP event and a distance for any and all.) Now in its 7th year, the Gaucho Gallop has grown each year since its inception.

With accomplishments like biking from New Jersey to Seattle and an admitted obsession for black shoes (really…..),  it is easy to understand why 25 degree weather held John to only a 2:37 at last year’s California International Marathon.

Name: John Lofthus

Age: 37

Nicknames: J-Lo, Aloof, Tach, Loft-o, Johnny (OK, I made up Johnny – wish I was called Johnny)

Hometown: Seattle, WA.

Employment: Associate Director, UCSB Alumni Association

Family: Beautiful wife Jenny and almost 3 year old (future runner) Austen

Other sports, hobbies, interests, etc.: Basketball, Watching Princess Shows (OK, that’s my daughter’s hobby but I spend a lot of time doing it)

Most Prized Possession: Would have said my Toyota Tacoma but we sold it.  I now drive a Honda Fit (I’m slowly losing my manhood).

Favorite Food: Thai

Favorite Movie to Run to: Unbreakable – I have watched it while running on the treadmill at least 20 times…

Favorite Spectator Sport: College Football (Go Washington Huskies)

Favorite Song to Run to: “Get the Rhythm” by Johnny Cash

Car I’d Love to be Driving: Toyota FJ Cruiser (but alas, they are being discontinued)

My friends describe me as:  Energetic (I take that as a good thing), Full of ideas, ambitious, cool (OK – I made that up too)

My trademark expression is: Yes (said often to my wife and daughter)

If money were not a consideration, I would love to: Coach XC and pursue my professional running career (I tell my wife that I am a semi-professional runner as I have earned $ while running – $100 for the 2009 SB Marathon…. which was almost the cost of registration but that doesn’t matter, I still got a check based off of my running prowess).

In the next 5 years, I hope to: Travel Overseas with the family, win the lottery, launch a network for UCSB alumni entrepreneurs, and run the Grand Canyon – Rim to Rim to Rim

In the next 20 years, I hope to: Start a charter HS (talk to me about my vision of connecting the students with the business community), cycle across the US with Jenny and Austen, eradicate cancer and hike in Patagonia

Personal accomplishments: Cycled Across the US in 1995 with my dad (Seattle to Asbury Park, NJ), raising $6,000 for cancer research, married Jenny (hey, she’s hot!) completed the North Face 50 Mile Endurance Race (2008), started the Gaucho Gallop benefit race that has already raised nearly $50K for student scholarships.

Personal fact that will surprise my friends: I was once an aspiring Triple Jumper who switched to long distance running when I realized that I wasn’t particularly quick, couldn’t jump that far and lacked basic coordination

Favorite Running Shoes: Black Shoes – doesn’t matter what brand.  You just feel stronger when you lace on black shoes.  Right now I have neon-green running shoes that I bought at a large discount at  While the discount was great, I don’t feel very powerful or manly.  On the positive side, I don’t have to worry about anyone stealing my shoes.

Favorite Distance and PR (post collegiate):  Probably the Half Marathon.  Long enough to get rid of the sprinters but short enough to be able to run hard from the beginning. I ran 1:15:20 at SBIVM in 2012.

Best Race and Why: CIM this past December.  I ran as well as I could have hoped for (2:37) despite the 25 degree starting temps.

Worst Race and Why: SD Rock and Roll Marathon – first of all, I missed the start because I was standing in the porta-potty line, then I completely blew up in the last 6 miles and had to resort to a slow shuffle.

Average Weekly Mileage (last 12 months): 50-60 miles most weeks with a high of 86 miles for my recent marathon training (that was challenging to fit those miles in!)

Favorite Local Race: RUTE – if you haven’t heard about the legendary “FUGAWI” team (we are kind of a big deal), you aren’t a true SB runner.  OK, that’s not really the case but our team has successfully completed 5 RUTE’s and absolutely love it.  Lead by Scott “Coach” Devore, Steve “Rids” Harding, John “Aloof” Lofthus, and whatever women we can convince to spend 7-8 hours with us, we have had everything from projectile vomiting to lost runners to epic battles on leg #10.

Most Memorable Running Experience: North Face 50 Miler – while mile 30-45 was not a pleasurable experience, I did realize that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with Jenny.  I proposed later that month.  Not bad for a $100 entry fee.

Favorite Place to Run: Ellwood at twilight, West Camino Cielo at sunrise.

Glory Days PR: 4:07 for the 1500m (1996), 33:40 for a 10K XC in sloppy conditions (2003)

Realistic Running Goals for this Year: Complete a 50 mile trail race

Wildly Optimistic Running Goals for this year:  Beat Ricky Ho in a race (doesn’t matter if he is running or not)

Lifetime Running Goals: Run until I’m 90, qualify for the Olympics (I’m thinking that once I win the lottery I will be able to focus on my running)

Running Heroes & Why: Robert de Castella, Bruce Denton, Terry Fox, Kilian Jornet

Local Running Heroes: All of the local coaches!  They do a great job whether at the junior, HS, college or professional levels

Personal Training Tips: Have fun and stay consistent

Why I Run: Because it makes life sweeter

I love runners who: Tell you their real times (really, who are we trying to impress by fibbing on our times)

I don’t care for runners who: make up weird segments on Strava just to have the fastest time.

Suggestions for local races: We live in a world class town, with world class weather and people.  It’s time that we put on world class events.  The SBIVM is a definite start!

Suggestions for SBAA:  We need to grow to fully support the three areas/faces of running in Santa Barbara: (1) Youth Development, (2) Social/Lifestyle and (3) Competitive running.  We have incredible base with our junior teams, High School, and college.  I love the formation of the SB Track Club and feel that we need to work to connect all of these groups to create a vibrant and dynamic running community. I also want to better engage the growing trail running community.

Favorite Quote: Persistence by Calvin Coolidge

SBAA Member since: 2003?​

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