Member Spotlight: Noa Kupfer

What event are you running with Team for Kids?
The 2015 United Airlines NYC Half!

What is your favorite place to run and why?
I love to run in parks and along the water. It is so relaxing and there is so much to see. When I was living in Boston, I ran alongside the Charles River so here in NYC, I run through Riverside a lot and in Central Park. It’s also nice to be around other runners and be surrounded by so many people who enjoy the art of running.

If you run with music, what are your favorite artists or songs to listen to?
I listen to the Top Hits of 2014 on Pandora or the country and pop music I have on my Ipod.

What is your favorite post-run meal?
My favorite meal is anything with protein in it. I try to drink a nice big glass of chocolate milk, which is good for recovery. Plus, it’s chocolate and good! I do like my pastas, and salad with fish or chicken; something that is hearty, but healthy at the same time.

When did your relationship with running begin and why?
I started running in 8th grade when I joined my middle school track team. My dad has been an avid runner and participated in the Boston Marathon four times when I was growing up. That definitely sparked my interest and my freshman year of high school, I wanted to join cross country. My dad had to literally push me out of the car the week before school started for preseason runs. I was very scared that I wouldn’t be able to keep up and not get to be as fast as the other runners. Flash forward 9 years and I am now a graduate student. In undergrad, I competed for my university in cross country and track, ran at NCAA Regionals and won my conference two times. Competing was an amazing experience, but now that I am out of college, I have been learning that running is a life long passion and activity I can do, but not focus solely on having every run or race go perfectly. Now, I am running for myself and only myself.

Do you have any pre-race rituals or superstitions, if so, please explain?
Competing in college, I had the same thing for dinner every week before a race, typically pasta, bread and salad. And the morning of the race, I would have a Cliff Chocolate Chip Protein Bar (that flavor every single week, for basically 4 years. That is a lot of races, both cross country and track).

I have to lay out my racing clothes the night before and do some deep relaxation and go through the race plan. My main concern is making sure my things are together and ready for the next day. Also, I always listen to a few specific songs, but I cant remember them at the moment as this is the first race I have done in a while!

Why did you choose to run this event?
I am doing this half marathon because I recently graduated from undergrad where I predominantly ran cross country and indoor/outdoor track (5k and 3k). Outside of college, I have done a few 10k and 5k road races here and there, but not yet a half marathon. I know I am beyond capable of doing well and running a gutsy, fast race. I think I needed time to reflect on myself as a runner after graduating and finding myself within the crazy city of NYC. The half marathon is a great distance and will help me prep for an eventual marathon!

Tell us a little more about yourself
I am a 2nd year graduate student at Columbia University School of Social Work. I graduate in May 2015, soon after the half marathon.

I am a huge fan of professional runners (Kara Goucher and Shalane Flanagen) and follow almost every race they run.

I have worked at the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp for 4 summers. It is a camp founded by Paul Newman, which provides a summer camp experience for children 7-16 who have chronic/terminal illness. Those experiences have driven me to get my masters and hopefully work with pediatric cancer patients. I have a strong passion of giving back and immersing myself in community work that benefits the lives of children of all ages and backgrounds. That is why I am very excited to run the United NYC Half as a member of Team for Kids!

What excites you most about running your event with Team for Kids?
I am excited to be able to do something I love that not only benefits myself, but others too. To have the opportunity to raise money for such a great organization, gives me the strength to get through every training run and to motivate myself on rainy and snowy days. I am really excited to run with Team for Kids for the first time for this half marathon. In addition, I am excited to run throughout Manhattan and Times Square, and have the cheering crowd back me up the entire way and serve as extra motivation.

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