Member Spotlight: Nadine Cheung

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If you missed the amazing Huffington Post article “For A First-Time Marathoner, There’s Strength In Numbers” by Nadine, you can read it here by clicking here.

What excites you most about running the 2014 TCS New York City Marathon?
I’m excited to experience the energy of the day. I volunteered at a water station for the 2013 NYC marathon, so I have an idea of what takes place, but to soak it up on the other side of the table as a runner, mile after mile…that just seems amazing to me. I also feel like the NYC marathon is one of the most New York things you can do. I’m proud to be a New Yorker and rep our city in the best race there is.

What is your favorite place to run and why?
I think it’s a toss-up between Central Park and the Williamsburg Bridge. I love the park because you can run a solid 6 miles in one loop and not have to think about streetlights, cars or traffic — well, not as much as you would on the regular city streets. It’s hard for me to get to that “zen” place when I run, but I’ve been able to do so one or two times on the Central Park loop.

I love the Williamsburg Bridge for many reasons. It’s challenging but short, and the views are amazing. I love that there’s a wide running path, and it’s relatively shaded and breezy. Running downhill is the probably the closest I’ll ever get to flying, and when you have an awesome song on and the light is just right, it’s transcendental. The bridge is also a perfect 5 miles from my house, over and back, so I can just run without getting caught up in the distance. Plus, the views get me every time.

If you run with music, what are your favorite artists or songs to listen to?
I have a love/hate relationship with running with music. When I trained for half-marathons, I found that I ran faster without it. I even got to a point where the headphone wires drove me crazy. Now that we’re covering much longer distances, I need the music to keep me company — that is, when I’m not running with my TFK teammates.

My marathon running playlist is currently 50 songs strong, and is made up of a shameless spectrum of up-tempo jams and soaring power ballads. I’ve got everything from Jack White to Sia, The War on Drugs to Drake, Manchester Orchestra to Taylor Swift. I don’t think every song needs to be a club banger. The music should just drive you in some way. Tip: Continue to add to your master marathon playlist and then hit shuffle every time I you go out for a run. This way you won’t memorize the order of the songs and get bored. It’ll be like a new playlist every time.

What is your favorite post-run meal?
Anything I can get my hands on! I love food. Eating is probably my No. 1 hobby. If we’re talking about post-long-run meals, I’m happy with a bagel egg sandwich, pizza or a full brunch. Otherwise, I’m just generally excited to eat after I run.

When did your relationship with running begin and why?
My relationship with running began in April 2013. I broke my wrist two months prior, and even though I was no longer in a cast, it was difficult for me to return to the activities I loved. Running was one of the only things I could do. My fiancé had been running a lot (he’s a natural), so I was also inspired by him. I think my first run that spring was 2 miles long. I used the Nike+ app and started to get competitive with myself, pushing to run a little farther each time. (Who knew bar graphs could be so motivational?) I eventually signed up for the Pride Run (my first race) and was wowed by the whole experience — seeing runners on the train in the early morning, the race shirts, the cheering, the medals — not to mention feeling super accomplished before most people wake up on the weekend. I’ve since run two official half-marathons, as well as many unofficial ones during TFK practices!

Do you have any pre-race rituals or superstitions, if so, please explain?
I don’t really do anything interesting before a race. I lay out all of my clothes, gear and fuel so I don’t have to think about it in the morning, as I generally only wake up 15-20 minutes before I actually have to leave. Then when I get up and it’s still dark outside, I can just grab the pile of clothes and change in the bathroom so as not to wake up my fiancé. I’ll put my fuel, watch, keys, etc. on the kitchen counter so I can grab and go. I never do bag check.

Why 26.2?
I mean, why not?

Tell us a little more about yourself
Running has taught me many things, while training for the marathon has taught me even more. There are so many life lessons to be learned by simply putting on your sneakers and getting out there. Truthfully, though, every run is hard for me. I am not at the point where I feel like I have to run, and it’s very difficult for me to lose myself while I’m doing it. I’m always in my head and thinking about this or that. However, since I never know what to expect, running has kept me engaged longer than any workout craze. As I’ve said before, you never feel bad after a run, and that’s usually what gets me out the door. I’m hoping I can keep it up after the big race, but no matter what happens, I’ll have these life lessons in my heart forever.

Member Spotlight: Terrence W. Liverpool

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What excites you most about running the 2014 TCS New York City Marathon?
Running through all 5 boroughs, hearing the crowds, meeting people, and accomplishing a goal I have been pushing towards for 3 years now, completing that 26.2!

What is your favorite place to run and why?
I love running the Summer Streets because you are jogging right through the heart of New York. When we do it as a team its everything in one doing it with the folks you train with, touching the NYC streets, and enjoying the vibe of whats happening on each block rather than being confined to a particular area or park.

If you run with music, what are your favorite artists or songs to listen to?
I have a mix of everything on my running playlist but here are a few of the songs I have been getting some good miles in with lately.

* Nico & Vinz – Am I Wrong (Really gets the blood flowing)
* Chris Brown & Usher – New Flame (great to just tune out and put in some road work
* Zedd – Clarity

Also a good bit of songs from Jay-Z, Fabolous, and Kendrick Lamar.

What is your favorite post-run meal?
Baked Chicken with rice and salad

When did your relationship with running begin and why?
Well I first ran cross country in high school but I didn’t run again after high school until I started building up to run the Brooklyn Half Marathon in 2012. I hadn’t run in over a decade and I wanted to get in shape and also do something to honor my cousin that was killed at a very young age, running is a way to honor him and his sports career that was cut short way too soon.

Do you have any pre-race rituals or superstitions, if so, please explain?
When I was training for the marathon in 2012 I got a foot injury. After physical therapy and a lot of RICE I got back out running and ran with my foot taped to prevent injury. Ever since then, even though my foot heeled, I still tape my foot any time I run. I guess its a mental thing. I feel like I run stronger and maintain better form when I’m taped up!

Why 26.2?
My ultimate motivation to get out and run was to honor my little cousin, he was a great high school basketball player when he was killed and it left a big void in me and my family. I wanted to do something athletic and notable to honor him and also to really challenge myself. I started off with a 5K and built up to a half marathon training on my own. After reading about this 100 year old marathoner who ran multiple marathons, I figured if he’s 100 and can do dozens of marathonsf I have no excuse as to why I can’t complete one. So, I looked into running the Marathon, checked out a few charities and the Team for Kids charity really hit close to home for me. I made it through training in 2012 when the marathon was cancelled, severely sprained my ankle in 2013 playing flag football, and now I am back in 2014 to handle some unfinished business and run the NYC Marathon.

Tell us a little more about yourself
I am a New Yorker born and raised. I grew up in Brooklyn and currently live in Queens. The cause of Team for Kids really hits home for me because it works with kids from neighborhoods and situations very similar to the one I grew up in. So when I run the marathon, I run for me and the family members on the back of my jersey and also for all the kids TFK helps and the mission behind the TFK logo on the front of my jersey.

Outside of running, I work in Digital Marketing for Options Exchange in the Financial District. I mentor high school kids, enjoy traveling, cooking and making music. The countdown is on to the Marathon and on November 2nd, We Run New York!

Alumni Spotlight: Maria E. Gutierrez

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What past events have you run with Team for Kids and are you running any this year?
I’m running the 2014 TCS New York City Marathon this year and ran the marathon last year as well!!! 🙂

Where is your favorite place to run and why?
The bridal path in Central Park before 7:00 AM. Its perfection at its best, it’s quiet, peaceful, birds singing all over the place and sometimes I even meditate while running here. Over time, I have noticed that it’s always the same runners running this path; I like to think that those runners and I have similar personalities and belong to the same pack of runners.

If you run with music, what are your favorite artists or songs to listen to?
Techno is my favorite for running, I LOVE DJ Tiesto; I remember listing to his mix as a child. However, this year I stopped listening to music while running to better listen to my body. I miss it sometimes, but l have found that with no music, I connect better with the course in which I’m running. Everyone has a special rhythm while running, sort of like a dance.

What is your favorite post-run meal?
Oh boy, this is a hard one. It depends if the run was in the morning or after work. In the mornings, I love OJ and Spinach followed by Oatmeal with Cereal and Almonds and a cup of black coffee. If it’s a run after work, all I can say is hide your fridge if I am visiting 🙂

When did your relationship with running begin and why?
While studying, the stress of taking classes and studying for the CPA was driving me crazy and the gym wasn’t doing it. But I will only jog maximum 4 miles per week. I fell in love with running after doing my race, the NYC Half in 2013.

Do you have any pre-race rituals or superstitions, if so, please explain?
Sort of, it’s more of a superstition. If my bib has a “7” in it, I know it’s going to be a good race 🙂

Why did you choose to run this event?
Because I don’t give up. I ran the marathon last year for my first time and although it was one of the best experiences of my life, I left some unresolved issues with mile 21 that I had to come back and solve. We’ll see how mile 21 feels about it this time 🙂

Tell us a little more about yourself
My name is Maria 🙂 I can say I am all over the place, I believe I have been given a lot of energy to use by making others happy, so I try doing that and I love it. I was born in El Salvador and was raised by my grandmother, who is my role model. I work as an Auditor and really enjoy the field of accounting. I like being involve helping organizations that help kids and love networking and meeting new people. I love to dance, try out new restaurants and really enjoy a drink or two of Honey Jack with a splash of ginger. My mother and little brother are my world and my close friends keep me going. I can’t live without Honey, Cinnamon, ginger and mustard.

What excites you most about running your event with Team for Kids?
The Bright Green Singlets!!! It’s like magic on the course. Every time I spot a TFK’er we salute one another; in the best way runners can salute – Screaming: looking good, keep going! This is what TFK is all about.

Alumni Spotlight: Katrine Pertsovski

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What past events have you run with Team for Kids and are you running any this year?
I ran the marathon last year and am running the 2014 TCS New York City Marathon this year with Team for Kids!

What excites you most about running the 2014 TCS New York City Marathon?
I ran my first marathon in NYC last year. I still think it was the best day of my life so far! The energy of the participants and the crowds was so high that I seriously had no other option than to finish that race! It was amazing to see my family and friends at various points of the route who came out to support me despite the cold and windy day. I’m still so thankful to my mom who actually made it to 4 different points of the course to waive at me, take pictures and to make sure I was ok. Running through all the different neighborhoods of NYC, each bringing up different memories in my head was like running through different times of my life. From the start in Staten Island a few blocks away from my parents’ house to passing by my alma mater Brooklyn Tech High School to the quick and easy trek up 1st avenue and the less quick and definitely much more difficult journey down 5th avenue, it was amazing to have a chance to run through the streets of my home town. Given my amazing experience in 2013, I can’t wait to do it all again this year and to have another best day of my life!

Where is your favorite place to run and why?
As long as there is a running path and a pretty view, I’m willing to run anywhere. However, when you define the criteria this way, there is a myriad of places to choose from in NYC! I often run on the running path along the West Side Highway/ Henry Hudson Parkway. It’s convenient for me to get to from my apartment in Chelsea and it has amazing views of the Hudson and the GW Bridge, especially at sunset. However, I also love running on the boardwalk in Staten Island with a gorgeous view of the Verrazano Bridge when I visit my parents or in Jersey City with the mesmerizing view of the skyline of Manhattan when I run right after work or at lunch.

If you run with music, what are your favorite artists or songs to listen to?
I don’t run with music. During the first TFK practice I attended, Coaches Sid and Asteria were very clear that they would prefer it if I didn’t listen to music and their demand stuck with me ever since.

What is your favorite post-run meal?
Right after finishing my run, I celebrate with a cup or two of Gatorade. On the way home after the run, I usually stop by Jamba Juice and get myself an Apples ‘n Greens smoothie. Finally, when I make it home, I follow up all of this with a huge bowl of pasta with some veggies on the side or lasagna.

When did your relationship with running begin and why?
I only picked up running in 2013. After Hurricane Sandy hit, my parents’ house in the Midland Beach neighborhood of Staten Island was very badly damaged, as the water rose to 9 feet in the area where it’s located. While it was definitely hard to come back after that disaster, the running community was an immense help! When the marathon was canceled after Hurricane Sandy, there were a number of runners who chose to come to Staten Island to help out the affected people. I was astonished by that the sense of altruism and desire to help people in need that pervaded the running community. After my initial shock and admiration, I realized that I wanted to join. Hence, I made the decision to come to TFK and to train for my first race (which happened to be the marathon 🙂

Do you have any pre-race rituals or superstitions, if so, please explain?
Like a lot of runners, I’m very organized. That extends to my pre-race routine. I love to lay out all the clothes and gear that I will need for the race the night before to make sure I’m ready. I always stay in the night before the race. I usually order a bowl of pasta and watch some romantic comedy while eating it before going to sleep.

Why 26.2?
Because 27.0 seemed too long!

But in all seriousness, I signed up to run my first marathon last year, without ever running more than a continuous mile in my life. I wanted to challenge myself and I wanted to start big, hence the decision to run a full marathon. I’m definitely so grateful to TFK for getting me ready for it! While I was determined to try hard and persevere, having the amazing TFK coaches and mentors by my side throughout the training season made it so much easier for me to become a runner and to get me ready for my first marathon!

After completing my first marathon, I absolutely loved the sense of achievement that I felt and right away decided that I wanted to do it again! Of course, it helped that because of my great training, I wasn’t in too much pain right after the race! My goal right now is to try to run marathons in the cities that I decide to travel to. My first such experience was in Paris in April 2014. I’m now trying to run in London and/or Berlin in 2015. However, nothing feels as awesome as running in your home town – hence, I want to keep running the NYC marathon every year as well. I can’t even express how excited I am about this year’s TCS NYC marathon – I can’t wait to experience that energy again and to hopefully achieve a new PR!

Tell us a little more about yourself
While I was born in Minsk, Belarus, I spent most of my life in New York and love the fact that I get to run my second marathon in my home town! It’s awesome that the marathon course goes right by the high school that I attended – Brooklyn Tech! And while the route doesn’t go by my college Alma mater, it’s great that there are so many fellow Columbia graduates that run the race!

I work as an actuary for an insurance consulting company, so yes, I can probably calculate the probability of any one of you finishing the marathon (of course it’s going to be 100% for all of you – you trained with TFK!).

I love to travel! I spent half a year studying in France while in college and I love to go back to that country any chance I get. I ran my second marathon in Paris last April and it was amazing to be back in that city to run a race!

I love soccer and hockey. This year, I got a chance to travel to Brazil to support Team USA during the World Cup. What an incredible experience that was! Everyone in Brazil is obsessed with soccer, so watching the games was a lot of fun! I also had a chance to travel to Sochi to support Team USA in the hockey tournament (and other sports) during the Olympics in February. Watching all these events live was definitely really special!

Finally, this year, I got a puppy Cocker Spaniel named Teddy. I’m sure he can’t wait for me to complete the NYC marathon so that he could proudly wear my/ to-be-his new medal!

Member Spotlight: Darren McBurnett

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What excites you most about running the 2014 TCS New York City Marathon?
I have always wanted to run the NYC Marathon but what excites me the most is that I am running for a charity that I believe in.

What is your favorite place to run and why?
I love running in the morning. Doesn’t matter where as long as it’s in the morning.

If you run with music, what are your favorite artists or songs to listen to?
AC/DC, 90’s, Newsboys, 80’s when I am in the mood.

What is your favorite post-run meal?
Chocolate milk, Protein shake and Pop-Tarts….Brown Sugar kind.

When did your relationship with running begin and why?
I started running at age 11. In the 6th grade we would run around the field and I always came in first (don’t know why but it always felt good and I was comfortable (kind of like I was meant to do it).

Do you have any pre-race rituals or superstitions, if so, please explain?
I never wear the race t-shirt before the race that I do. I always thought it was bad luck and I never wanted to jinx myself……weird.

Why 26.2?
As you stroll through life, I believe you have to always challenge yourself at least once a year to let yourself know you are alive.

Tell us a little more about yourself
I started running in the sixth grade but finally went out for track in the 7th and 8th grade. I was naturally good at it and that led to running Cross Country when I went to High school. I ran Cross Country, Track, Indoor Track and Swim Team and went to State my senior year in Cross Country. Also during my High School years I started doing Triathlons out of curiosity then I got really good at them. Did my First Ironman at age 17 in Massachusetts in 1988 (it was the Cape Cod endurance Triathlon at that time). Turned pro at 18 and was nationally ranked. I loved it. At that time there was nothing I wanted to do but run and do Triathlons. I went to college and Graduated from Purdue. I had a good college life but never got fast enough to make a difference in any sports. I joined the Navy to pay back student loans and that is where my life got interesting.

I went to Basic Underwater Demolition SEAL Training in 1996 and went to SEAL TEAM TWO in 1997. Well now I am 43 years old and I have had a busy Navy Career. I went to SEAL TEAM 2, 4, 8 and now currently at SEAL TEAM 3. I have deployed to every Theater and been in every conflict that the U.S. has been involved with since 1999 to include Kosovo, Bosnia, Afghanistan, Iraq and other nasty places in the Middle east. As I come to the end of my Naval Career I found myself going back to where I started in life, running. All the drive and lessons I have learned when I was running resonated through my career. I have more time to run now and I want to give back to the sport that forged me to what I am today. I believe if you give the youth of today a chance, you never know where they will end up. Sometimes all they need is a chance.

Member Spotlight: Melissa Barnetche

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What excites you most about running the 2014 TCS New York City Marathon?

Well, IT IS THE NYC MARATHON! That’s enough to be so thrilled! Besides, my brother is coming all the way from Brazil, where he lives, to run the marathon together. My mom and my stepdad will be coming to cheer us up from Mexico, where we’re from. And my sister in law and my favorite little rockstar dude, my nephew (he’s 2.5 years old and loves rock n’ roll, he plays air guitar and headbangs whenever a rock song comes up, his favorite being TNT by AC/DC and everything Elvis), are coming, too. And my friends who have been supportive all these months of training and fundraising will certainly be there, too; they’re all really excited! Besides, November second is my birthday! Can’t wait for the millions of people that come watch the marathon to shout a “happy birthday” while I run! In 2008 which was the last time the NYC marathon was held on November 2nd, I promised myself to run the marathon next time it landed on my birthday. And here I am six years later!

What is your favorite place to run and why?
In nature. I feel transported, out of this world, I completely lose myself, it is very relaxing and exhilarating at the same time.

If you run with music, what are your favorite artists or songs to listen to?
For a long time, I was unable to run without music. It was almost as important as my running shoes! I asked friends to fill my ipod shuffle with music so it was always a surprise. For the last four years I’ve been running with the last playlist my friends did for me with metal, heavy metal, punk, rock, hardcore, and one or two funky surprises mixed in. Lately, I’ve been enjoying the quietness of long runs in nature without music, just listening to my steps and the sounds of nature.

What is your favorite post-run meal?
EVERYTHING! I run to eat! And I love beer. Need those carbs to run, right?

When did your relationship with running begin and why?
We’ve been into sports our whole lives. I was an active kid and have never stopped taking up new activities. I did classic ballet for 7 years, played tennis and paddle tennis, professional waterskiing and raced jetskis, played basketball in school, turned to yoga and rock-climbing later, played golf for a while, boxing, biking and spinning (love SoulCycle!), etc. I still do most of these things at least once in a while. My mom used to run, too (she still works out every day), and during weekends we would go with her to the woods in the outskirts of Mexico City to have a fun family run with her. My dad would go too, but he was more of a sponsor and supporter than a distance runner, hahaha! He would jog for a while and then he would just wander off, but he would always be waiting with refreshments or had already found a spot at the nearest quesadillas stand. My mom taught us to breathe and pace ourselves since, being kids, we liked running fast. Also, at that time, I had a couple of friends whose parents ran marathons (the early 1970’s and 1980’s marathons) and I always saw the posters and photographs at their homes and thought they were superhuman, 26.2 miles is a lot of miles! I fantasized of running a marathon one day the same way I wished I could fly, I thought it was impossible! And many years later I went to Chicago, it was 2007, to watch my brother run the marathon. It was his first. I couldn’t really catch him throughout the course, I ran all over Chicago to try and get a glimpse of my brother running in the crowd but I couldn’t find him, not until the very end, less than half a mile before the finish line, and he made this face, he looked sooooooo exhausted and yet so happy and proud, and right there I knew I had to run a marathon; I wanted to feel that. We ran Philadelphia the following year.

Do you have any pre-race rituals or superstitions, if so, please explain?
No. I just enjoy the loading up on carbs!

Why 26.2?
Why not?!?!?!

Tell us a little more about yourself
I was born the Day of the Dead the year Elvis died. I’m a Mexican gal living in Brooklyn. I love music, I paint, I do interior design and set decoration, I read a lot, I change the color and style of my hair often, I like dancing and drinking and eating, I’m a great hostess, I love having people around and cooking for them, I enjoy an occasional cigarette, I enjoy riding the subway, I have a vivid imagination, I love movies and documentaries, I enjoy traveling. This is my first time doing fundraising and it has been a wonderful experience, it will definitively not be the last one!