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Member Spotlight #8: Nate Wenger

  1. Why do you run? How did you first start?
    NW: I run now to stay fit, stress relief, mental therapy, energy booster and just a way to exercise. Growing up I was an active child and I played multiple sports which required running. Soccer was my main focus, which I was lucky enough to be able to play in college. Running is integral to soccer with players running 5+ miles during a game so the running mindset has been engrained with me since childhood. My freshman year in HS our soccer coach required us to complete the cooper test (2 miles under 12 minutes) or you couldn’t play varsity, that might have started the time targets with running. Also during my junior year in HS I ran spring track (800m and 400m) which was a great experience to practice speed, distance, pace, slow distances, interval training and also introduced me to plyometrics and strength training.

2. What is your most memorable or proud running moment?
NW: The finish line of every race. I’d say a memorable moment was the 2021 Aloha Run to the Brewery 5 mile run in late July 2021 at the Great South Bay Brewery. It was at that race I bumped into a running celebrity “aka Gareth Brancato” and he was wearing his NHP-Mineola singlet and I started asking him questions as I was a local resident in Carle Place. We started chatting and for those that know Gareth well I was doing a lot of listening. We exchanged numbers, got in touch and shortly after and I joined an NHP-M group run the weekend after the Aloha race and I got to meet a lot of the runners in the group. Shortly thereafter I learned there was a group signed up for the Philadelphia Marathon that November (2021) so I signed up a whim (actually peer pressure it was) probably 3 weeks after having met Gareth. I had always wanted to run a marathon and the timing was right. Finishing Philly in 2021 as my first full marathon was a proud moment (before that I had only run a half marathon NYC in 2006).

3. What do you enjoy doing when you are not running? Other hobbies?
NW: Away from running I enjoy going to the gym doing cross training, spin-classes, HIIT classes, strength, to stay healthy and injury free. I also enjoy skiing in the winter months and like to grill a lot (everything goes on my grill). I listen to a lot of 90’s alternative pearl jam, matchbox 20, goo goo dolls, red hot chili peppers, green day, etc.

4. Do you have a favorite race/route/distance?
NW: I would say the marathon is my favorite with the 10K second. You know a marathon will hurt but the pacing is more enjoyable than the half which feels like a sprint compared to the full distance. Similarly, the 10K is distance is one which I feel you can pace at whereas the 5K is an all-out sprint. I like the mental challenge of the marathon and the camaraderie during the race with other runners.
My favorite race/route though is the Ocean to Sound relay. I have participated the past two years and it is just a fun day all around and great to see all the NHP-Mineola runners and other runners in the Long Island community.

5. What is home like? Kids? Pets? Work? And how do you balance daily life, responsibilities and running?
NW: No pets but I have two daughters 10 and 14 that are going into 5th and 10th grade at Carle Place. They are active in extracurriculars with lacrosse being their favorite sport. I am active taking them to practices after school and tournaments on weekends. It is difficult at times but working out and staying fit has always been a priority for me, so you find time for things that are important to you. Marathon training is definitely tough with kids, work, etc. and it can take a mental and physical toll on you so it is important to recovery, relax and keep perspective on life overall.

6. What are your upcoming races, goals and/or dream races you’d like to run?
NW: I am signed up for the NYC marathon this fall. It will be my first NYC and 4th overall marathon. My first goal is to have fun/enjoy the day, 2nd is to finish healthy (uninjured), 3rd not having to stop for a bathroom break during the marathon (that would be a PR). I do have a time goal (sub-3hr) I would like to achieve but I am not fixating on that at this point. I heard running the NYC marathon is the best block party (well I had fun spectating in the past) so that is TBD but I’m looking forward and grateful to be able to participate.
A dream race would be to complete a full ironman one day. I’ve met many triathletes since getting involved in the running community but my real aspirations for that race comes from watching the Kona Ironman on TV throughout the years and the inspirational courage, physical abilities and mental toughness that all the athletes exhibit.

7. Is there a piece of advice you received from a coach or mentor that sticks with you?
NW: It is to an individual to achieve what they want. Coaches and mentors can provide guidance, encouragement and support but you need to put in the work yourself and learn your own strengths and weaknesses to achieve the results you want.

8. What is your go-to running song and favorite sneaker?
NW: Go to song maybe Rearview Mirror by Pearl Jam there are so many good songs. Break My Stride by Max Wilder as well is a fitting one. My favorite running shoe is Saucony Speed it is versatile being able to go long distances but also responsive for speed workouts.

9. What is one thing most people don’t know about you or a guilty pleasure?
NW: I grew up on York, PA so I’m a LI transplant and my guilty pleasure is trail mix (sweet n’ salty). Trail mix to whoever can name the 90’s alternative rock band from York, PA.

10. What is your biggest takeaway from being a member of an organized running club like NHP-Mineola?
NW: The biggest takeaway is the camaraderie, friendships forged and all-around quality group of people. It’s a supportive group and family in many aspects where there is tremendous support whether it is running, life, or whatever it may be and a great way to meet others in the community.

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