Q & A with Mr. 100 Joe Harris

One hundred. Such a round number. Wilt Chamberlain scored 100 points in a basketball game. It’s the perfect test score. You don’t judge things on a scale of one to 99. It’s one to 100.

And on Saturday, Joe Harris of Fairfax, Va., will run his 100th Rock ‘n’ Roll series event, the half marathon at the Rock ‘n’ Roll DC Marathon and ½.

Harris, 65, slowed down enough to sit down with us for a Q&A. We talked running, beer, trails, coffee, monuments and more.

Q:  Your favorite D.C. monument?

A: The Washington Monument. We call it “The Big Pencil.” Architecturally, it’s just beautiful.

Q: The one, can’t miss stop in D.C.?

A: The Smithsonian. I love history, particularly the air and space museum. What a great invention (the plane) and how it changed our lives. To be able to see the Wright Brothers’ plane … people like that were courageous.

Q: Favorite Rock ‘n’ Roll City?

A: Nashville. I like all kinds of music. On the main street you can walk into any bar and listen to music. They pass the hat around. What more could you ask for? From early afternoon until late at night, there’s free music and a year later that group might be a star.

Q: Favorite Rock ‘n’ Roll race?

A: Arizona. Number one, it’s in January. Coming from the East Coast, where it’s cold and miserable in the middle of January, it’s heaven. Plus, it’s a flat course. I set my marathon PR there (4:26).

Q: Favorite D.C.-area run?

A: The Chesapeake and Ohio Canal (a national historical park). It runs along parts of the Potomac River. It’s so scenic and it’s flat. There’s a lot history. Mules used to walk on the path pulling barges.

Q: Let’s get back to food. Favorite burger?

A: Five Guys. They’re big and sloppy.

Q: Favorite D.C. restaurant?

A: Le Pain Quotidien. The food is all organic. There’s a bakery there so all the bread and rolls are very European. I love fresh bread.

Q: Favorite all-time politician?

A: Maybe not a popular choice, but I respected Richard Nixon. He got us out of Vietnam. (Harris was serving in Vietnam when the United States began its withdrawal.)

Q: Favorite running shoe?

A: New Balance. After my first long run 11 years ago I got black toe. I went to a running store. They put me in New Balance and I’ve never switched.

Q: Favorite coffee house?

A: Starbucks. It’s kind of like eating at P.F. Chang’s. You get consistent quality.

Q: You could live in any Rock ‘n’ Roll city. Which one would it be?

A: San Diego. I stay in a hotel that overlooks the San Diego Bay. I could look at it for hours. The Coronado Bridge, Coronado off in the distance. Just beautiful.