Member Spotlight #5: Joon Kim
- Why do you run? How did you first start?
JK: I like self-improvement. I like pushing myself. I like toughness. I never feel more alive than that point that comes in every race when you want to die. What a gift. I was into strength training before I was into running and I was always curious if I could do anything with my fitness, so I ran a Spartan Race. I loved doing the obstacles – climbing up ropes, swinging across monkey bars,
carrying buckets filled with rocks, but I found that while I would pass people on the obstacles, I would get passed on the running sections. That led me to looking up local running clubs and finding NHP-Mineola. Those early group runs were rough. I remember running with Marilou and she would have to turn around and run back to check on me and ask if I was ok.
- What is your most memorable or proud running moment?
JK: I can’t say I have any proud race moments, but I do feel a sense of pride right at the peak of a marathon build before the taper, knowing I put in an honest training cycle. That is deeply satisfying. My most memorable running moment was a Spartan Race at Mountain Creek, NJ. I was hiking up the mountain and about 30 feet away from me I saw two black bears. My heart skipped a beat and I thought, if this is it, what a silly way to go. I pictured my wife at my funeral explaining to people that I got killed by a bear doing a Spartan Race and people asking, is that like a Tough Mudder? Thankfully the bears crossed in front of me and went to the other side of the woods. This is when I decided to transition to road running.
- What do you enjoy doing when you are not running? Other hobbies?
JK: I strength train, I serve at my church, I play piano (very poorly).
- Do you have a favorite race/route/distance?
JK: I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I think my favorite race distance is the marathon. I ran
my first marathon (Steamtown) in 2019 the year I turned 40. It was supposed to be a bucket list thing just to say I ran one full and I would go back to halfs. Then in 2021 we had a big group run Philly, so I did that. Then I ran 2 more last year. Now I like the community so much that I feel like I have to keep running to stay a part of it. It’s like the mafia really. I can’t get out.
- What is home like? Kids? Pets? Work? How do you balance daily life, responsibilities and running?
JK: I’m a local kid. I went to Herricks, I met my wife Patty at Herricks and now my two boys (13 and 11) go to Herricks. I work as a project manager at Bloomberg. When I got into running, I wanted to get better at running, but I didn’t know it would give me so much more. One of those things has been time management. My rule of thumb is that my running shouldn’t cut into family time. Most of my weekday runs are done when I drive my kids to practices or lessons, and I run wherever their activity is.
- What are your upcoming races, goals and/or dream races you’d like to run?
JK: I’m running the Wineglass Marathon this October.
- Is there a piece of advice you received from a coach or mentor that sticks with you?
JK: I’ve saved up various running quotes that I come back to for motivation.
“What was the secret, they wanted to know; in a thousand different ways they wanted to know The Secret. And not one of them was prepared, truly prepared to believe that it had not so
much to do with chemicals and zippy mental tricks as with that most unprofound and
sometimes heart-rending process of removing, molecule by molecule, the very tough rubber that comprised the bottoms of his training shoes.”
“A runner is a miser, spending the pennies of his energy with great stinginess, constantly
wanting to know how much he has spent and how much longer he will be expected to pay. He wants to be broke at precisely the moment he no longer needs his coin.” – Once a Runner “Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.” – Haruki Murakami, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running “Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up, it knows it must outrun the fastest lion or it will be killed. Every morning in Africa, a lion wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the slowest gazelle, or it will starve. It doesn’t matter whether you’re the lion or a gazelle – when the sun comes up, you’d better be running.” -Christopher McDougall, Born to Run
- What is your go-to running song and favorite sneaker?
JK: I really like Sia when I’m running – Never Give Up, Unstoppable, The Greatest.
Saucony Endorphin Speed and Nike VaporFly for race day.
- What is one thing most people don’t know about you or a guilty pleasure?
JK: My faith is core to who I am.
Guilty pleasure – I love gummy candy. Sour Patch, Haribo, Trolli. So good!
- What is your biggest takeaway from being a member of an organized running club like NHP-Mineola?
JK: I can say without a doubt, if I didn’t find NHP-Mineola I would have stopped running. The
African proverb “If you want to fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together.” holds true.