Member Spotlight #4: Gareth Brancato
- Why do you run? How did you first start?
GB: I run to feel free and invigorated, but conversely, peaceful an intuitive. The mental aspect and resultant clarity is mediation for me. Although I loved to do the 30 yard dash races that little kids used to do (hitting the Bronx
neighborhood streets), like many of us, ensuing years brought different roads. I loved basketball and did Spring track, but was basically the guy getting lapped in the 2 mile event and then, wasted time got in the way of athletic potential. But when I was 19, I witnessed my Dad succumbing to a massive heart attack in our home in Rockland. The very next day, I instinctively found a trail in the back woods near our house and just ran-probably a couple of miles, but the hopeful feeling that enveloped me still stays with me to this day.
- What is your most memorable or proud running moment?
GB: I’d like to say that two, somewhat dissimilar events are proud moments for me. One being my son Devin making States in XC as a HS Freshman, and the other when my daughter Sienna recently sent me a run/walk program and asked what I thought. She now routinely takes 2 mile runs (and she being one who never had the interest). Oops, lest I forget-my wife Linda enjoying her solo solitude runs in our neighborhood, and experiencing the stress relieving effects. So to sum up, I’d say my proud moments are what I’d like to think of as what we pass on to others.
- What do you enjoy doing when you are not running? Other hobbies?
GB: Music-love to listen to a wide range, as well as playing my guitars. In my college days I played more, now I just doodle lol I also spent years playing rugby (I know, anyone who’s been on a long run with me has heard this at nauseum lol) Started while in school and well, just stayed with it (family finally had to have “an intervention” when I was 56 or so lol). Was fortunate enough to tour different countries and still love watching International matches.
- Do you have a favorite race/route/distance?
GB: Fave race distance at this point would be the Half Marathon. While I enjoy “the rituals” involved with Marathon training, the Half seems a bit “sharper”
- What is home like? Kids? Pets? Work? And how do you balance daily life, responsibilities and running?
GB: The present Home Life Chapter is wife Linda and myself holding down the fort. Sienna lives in DC and Devin getting ready to embark on his career, moving to Texas shortly. Will have to hit those locales for races! My life’s work is as a Chiropractor. I’ve had a private practice for 37 years I’m GC So. Though owning a small business has its share of challenges for sure, I feel blessed to do what I do. Helping patients to reduce nerve system stress and move towards a fuller expression of their health potential is invaluable to me. I feel like running is fairly easy to incorporate into our lives, as you can just get up and go in the AM—of course if you’d have asked this question when my kids were young I’d have a different response. Big kudos to all of you with young families who get it done!!
- What are your upcoming races, goals and/or dream races you’d like to run?
GB: Re upcoming races—NY Marathon in Nov. Will throw in some events before —as of now signed up for Bronx 10 mi. Oh yeah, possibly Houston 1/2 in Jan—on a visit to son haha Re goals—have to say, though we all have a competitive streak, and like to see decreasing race times, I aim for a smile on my face, in my heart, and in my gut during any endurance length event. Dream destination race likely Eugene, Oregon 1/2. Hey, where better to grow the hair out lol
- Is there a piece of advice you received from a coach or mentor that sticks with you?
GB: Advice from a So Afr rugby coach years ago—“you must be fit” (inflect an Afrikaner accent and tone for full effect), “when everyone else is tired, we finish strong”. More recently, and involving distance running, “the key is in the recovery, make your easy runs really easy, and when doing a workout , do it properly, differentiating your pace as prescribed”. Also “make sure to get a good amount of sleep/rest , especially during training cycles”.
- What is your go-to running song and favorite sneaker?
GB: While I love the camaraderie of group runs, a few days a week I end up running solo with the ear buds in. So hard to pick a fave song. Anyone who has seen some of my Strava run titles knows I dance through a fairly wide terrain of music. Do have to say I had The Byrds “Rock and Roll Star” on the other day….and it was Splendid haha For Marathons of late I’ve employed Nike Next 2% and they’ve been kind to me. For recent Half’s I’ve recruited Saucony Endorphin Pro 2’s which seem to fit that distance well. But I still chuckle when I remember running a strong NY 1/2 some years ago in Brooks Adrenalines (I thought I needed a stability shoe haha—just goes to show….lol)
- What is one thing most people don’t know about you or a guilty pleasure?
GB: a tough question, as anyone who regularly does distance runs knows that after a while “there are no secrets”. OK, I admit I chat a lot. Still laughing about my recent Boston poster the fam made —“Dad, remember this is a running race, not a chatting race”. Classic. Guess I’d say secret guilty pleasures are doing the grocery shopping and doing the laundry (yeah “I’m just a modern guy” to quote an Iggy Pop song—-had to drop some more music here, Tara lol)
- What is your biggest takeaway from being a member of an organized running club like NHP-Mineola?
GB: biggest takeaway from NHP club membership is the atmosphere of family, with the added value of diversity. I absolutely love the variety of backgrounds and ages of those involved, sharing the common bond of running.
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