Prince of Wales Marathon a Destination Race: Interview with Bill Nowak - P.O.W. Report

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Prince of Wales Marathon a Destination Race: Interview with Bill Nowak

Written by Gretchen Klein and Edited by Arthur Martin

This week we are featuring a highlight from Bill Nowak who participated in the Prince of Wales Marathon in 2011 and we hope it will inspire you to join this year in celebration of the 20th year anniversary on the gorgeous island of Prince of Wales! The Marathon will be on May 25th.

Bill was a seasonal runner as he was engaged in coaching soccer, track and cross country throughout his career.  His life changed in 2009 when he was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. Bill needed to add some cardio exercise to a regimen and improve his eating habits—drastically.  Bill says that having a sweet tooth contributed to his diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes. 

“I decided to do the Prince of Wales Marathon simply because my sister, Jan Bush, made me do it!  I had just completed the Boston Marathon, my son Kurt had just graduated from the University of Notre Dame and we made the race a family affair.”  Kurt Nowak participated in the four-person relay.

“Prince of Wales is Fantastically Organized….Great People…Incredible Scenery…and small enough to make it very personable,” Bill says.  “For now, I am prepping to race the 2019 POW Half Marathon but I won’t rule out the full.  I would have to really work on the training; but a work maintenance shutdown and assisting with coaching track and field interferes with a more extensive training regimen. My diabetic numbers are struggling and need more of my focus and time.  Food is still a weakness!”

Bill loves running when he goes on vacations.  He participated in a cross country run and a half marathon in Ireland.  During this 2012 half marathon the world record was set for running backwards.  “I beat him that race!  And he ran an outstanding pace averaging about 7:30 per mile!”

Some Advice from Bill:

“What would I tell kids today regarding health and fitness?  JUST DO IT!  Running is considered a punishment in some sports, so it brings a challenge to coaching long distance runners.  Try to keep it fun!  Have a goal and keep something in front of you – an event or physical activity – throughout the year.  Always train and be ready for it.”

“Fueling during the race?  Practice, practice, practice.  For marathons I use 4-6 energy gels and hydrate every two miles.  Switch up with water and electrolytes for hydration.”

“Shoes do matter and Saucony for me always!  I do try other shoes but I probably have bought 50 pairs of Saucony.  I will date all my running shoes and try to keep the mileage under 400 miles on each pair.”

Bill is a fan of Christian music and classic rock and roll “but I do not listen to music while running as I claim to be a ‘purist’ and listening to music with a beat that matches your heartbeat is just cheating!”

If you are looking for tips on living with diabetes, Gretchen recommends Rick Mystrom a businessman from Anchorage who is a helpful resource:

The first book is My Wonderful Life with Diabetes. That’s a book best suited for parents of young Type 1 diabetics who continue to give me positive feedback on how inspirational and comforting it is for them to see that their young diabetic kids can live a long, healthy, productive life.

The second book is What Should I Eat to Solve Diabetes, Lose Weight and Live Healthy? That is my first “How to” book that focuses on both Type 1 and Type 2 and that works well for Type 1s in combination with the first book.

The third book, Your Type 2 Diabetes Lifeline, is a wonderful book for Type 2 diabetics, pre-diabetics and borderline diabetics and anyone who would like to lose weight. This has many of the same graphs that are in the second book with quite a few additions but since it is just for Type 2s the message is simpler and very clear.

Your 'umble editor recently signed up to run the marathon in the relay,  join us and support this local community and go for a run or walk as well! 

Sign up for the marathon at

And you may find Accommodations and Transportation at

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