Member Spotlight: Priya Seshan

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Where do you live?
I’m originally from Cleveland, Ohio, but have resided in NYC (Williamsburg, Brooklyn) since 1997.

What event are you running with Team for Kids?
The Bank of America Chicago Marathon, my 13th marathon and 4th Chicago Marathon. It’s my first time running for TFK.

What excites you most about running your event with Team for Kids?
Having been a Young Runners Coach at Henry Street School for International Studies from 2004-2007, I saw firsthand the positives that resulted from young people being involved in a running program. Many of the young people I had on our team had never been on a team before, and they learned how to not only work with one another, but set goals, pursue them, and accomplish them. They also learned how to persevere when things got tough, and I saw their self concept change positively over the course of being on the team. In the end, it was a very close knit group. The things they learned while running translated to the big picture of life, and they carried those lessons with them, even years later. I want other students to have the same opportunity. As a public school employee, I’ve seen first-hand how having a positive and physical outlet for youth is so important, especially in Title 1 schools and schools with little extra resources.

Where is your favorite place to run and why?
My usual run is from the Williamsburg Bridge to over the Pulaski Bridge and back. There’s something so nice about being able to see the city from those bridges. For a long run, I really like to run over the Williamsburg Bridge, then across the Brooklyn Bridge, then run to the Manhattan Bridge and go over and back; I then run along the Brooklyn Navy Yard back to Williamsburg. It’s about 10 miles.

What is your favorite post-run meal?
Veggie burritos, chocolate milk, ice cream. The best part of a long run is being able to eat whatever suits me that day.

When did your relationship with running begin and why?
I started running at age 12, when I was in 7th grade. I ran the 800 and came in second to last in a track meet and swore that I would never run again. Then at the start of 9th grade, when I was 14, I tried out for every sport and activity imaginable and got cut. I joined the school cross country team with a friend as a last resort because they didn’t cut. My friend ended up quitting after a few weeks, but I was hooked. I ended up being good at it and went to the Ohio high school state cross country meet a few times. I ran a semester in college competitively for a D1 school, but then I took a break from running until I was 29 years old. I’ve been running since then, just for fun. I’ve focused mostly on marathons and half marathons, although I did run a 50 mile race (JFK 50 mile) when I turned 40 years old.  I’m proud to say that I am a masters age group runner and still running after all these years.

Do you have any pre-race rituals or superstitions, if so, please explain?
I had so many superstitions as a kid when I was competitive, so now I keep it simple. For marathons, I just wear a sign that has my name stitched on it in shiny silver sequins. It’s a bit self indulgent, but I wore it for my first marathon, so I wear it in each one. I figure marathon day is the day that one can go all out and wear something out of the ordinary!

Why did you choose to run this event?
In the fall of 2015, I received an email from a former student I coached on a Young Runners team. He was graduating with his AA degree and was now n his twenties. He wrote to tell me that the lessons I had taught him on the running team when he was in sixth grade had stuck with him throughout his high school and college years, and he had utilized them in pursuing his goals. He said that he remembered an experience at a practice, when he and several team members could not run 200 meters without stopping and wanted to quit.   I had talked to them about mental toughness: to not give up and tell yourself that you can’t do it;  if you continue and persevere, you will accomplish what you set out to do. He said that he had adopted that thinking for all he does in life. When I read that, I felt so happy and felt so gratified. I knew I had to run for TFK to make sure that other young people were exposed to running programs and could have the same experience of being on a team and growing as young people. Also, it was a way to do something to honor the kids that I had coached.

Tell us a little more about yourself
I’m a school social worker for Pathways to Graduation, a public high school equivalency program for young people ages 17 to 21. Most of the young people I work with have been formerly incarcerated and/or court involved. I also work on a very part time basis for YCS at NYRR, and  am a run pacer for New York City’s Nike+ NRC.  I’ve run one 50 miler (JFK 50 Mile) and survived, and really enjoy the camaraderie of marathons and NYRR races. My PR for the half is 1:48:27 and for the marathon it is 3:59:26. I’m coming back from being injured, but despite that I hope to smash my marathon PR in Chicago this year!

Connect with Priya via the links below:
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/pseshan/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pseshan1

Member Spotlight: Chad Mooney

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Where do you live?
Amherst, New Hampshire. Recently moved from Medford, Massachusetts outside of Boston

What event are you running with Team for Kids?
The 2016 BMW Berlin Marathon

What excites you most about running your event with Team for Kids?
My wife and I have been running marathons and fundraising for the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp for many years now. We take great pride in raising money to help seriously ill children attend summer camp for a week and act ‘normal’. As I’ve run and watched many marathons over the years, I always noticed the TFK runners, but never did research to see how the charity supported children. When looking at the Berlin Marathon official charities, I noticed TFK and did research on the charity. I found the mission to be inspiring and a fantastic way to educate children on the benefits of living an active lifestyle. I’m excited to be a part of the team and excited to be fundraising for such an important mission.

Where is your favorite place to run and why?
With just having moved from an urban environment to a fairly rural environment, I’m now getting used to much different runs (no sidewalks, trails instead of roads, dodging angry turkeys, wearing bright colors so not to be mistaken for a deer, etc). It’s been a fairly difficult running transition and one I’m a bit nervous about as I start ramping up the mileage. Still my favorite runs were from Medford, MA to Boston and down the Charles River and back. I ran it so many times, it was easy to get lost in thought and let the miles easily pass by.

If you run with music, what are your favorite artists or songs to listen to?
I run with music during training, but never during big races. I’m a big fan of mixing it up and don’t like specific playlists. Generally I’ll have: Pearl Jam, Eminem, Tom Petty, Mumford & Sons, Fishbone, Imagine Dragons, etc. The one song that I will always have in rotation for long training runs is Queen’s Under Pressure.

What is your favorite post-run meal?
Beer after long races. After long races its time to celebrate the months of training and hard work with a few beers. For long runs during training periods leading up to races….tacos!

When did your relationship with running begin and why?
When I moved to the Boston area in 2000, my wife and I both wanted to lose weight and started running on a treadmill just 1-2 miles. Then we ran our first 5k, then we decided to run the 1/2 marathon in Indianapolis (we both grew up in the Midwest), then from that we decided to run the 2006 NYC marathon. And we’re both still running and its become a big part of our life.    

Do you have any pre-race rituals or superstitions, if so, please explain?
No, I always feel like I should though.

Why did you choose to run this event?
This will be the 5th of the World Marathon Majors for me (with only Tokyo to go after). I chose the event as it is one of my life goals (bucket list items if you will) to complete all the world marathon majors. Half the time during training, I wonder why. After doing research on TFK I’m excited and inspired to support this great mission while getting closer to achieving my personal goal. I believe running has changed my life and helped me, and subsequently my children, live a healthy and active lifestyle. Breaking the habit, and generally problematic idea, of ‘dieting’ and replacing it with a healthy lifestyle is something that should be instilled in children as early as possible.

Tell us a little more about yourself
I grew up in Indiana and graduated college from Indiana University. After school my girlfriend (now wife) and I decided a 9-5 job wasn’t an enjoyable thing at that time and moved to Ireland for 6 months. After returning from Ireland, we moved to where we wanted to live (Boston) and found jobs. We lived in Boston for the next 15 years and have recently moved to New Hampshire (and am loving it!). I love to travel, run, eat good food, drink good wine and spend time with my family (2 young and growing girls and 1 dog). Berlin will be my 6th marathon and gets me oh so close to completing all the World Majors.

Connect with Chad via the links below:
Instagram: https://instagram.com/chadmooney
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/chadmooney
Twitter: https://twitter.com/chadmooney
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/chad-mooney-1a42b02

TFK Testimonial: Diane

“Running the TCS New York City Marathon with New York Road Runners Team for Kids was an amazing experience, better than I could have ever imagined. Not only was I running, but I was running while supporting a wonderful organization, raising critical funds for youth running programs across the nation. The course is incredible, the invaluable crowds that loudly & vivaciously cheered you along, plus TFK coaches joining you on the course to keep you motivated, everything contributed to creating such a memorable experience. To top it off, Team for Kids helps with training plans, motivation and coaching as needed. I found all the information TFK provided to be invaluable as I prepared for the TCS New York City Marathon. Once I arrived in NYC for the marathon; from packet pickup, to the breakfast the day before, to the bus ride to Staten Island, and even after the marathon, Team for Kids had everything planned out with precision! I can’t wait to have another opportunity to not only run the TCS New York City Marathon again, but to run while supporting Team for Kids!” – Diane Katzdorn

Feeling inspired to run the TCS New York City Marathon with NYRR Team for Kids? Sign up today at runwithtfk.org!

As a reminder, general entry to the NYRR Five-Borough Series: Queens 10K has sold out, but you can still get a spot when you register to run with New York Road Runners Team for Kids! Sign up today at runwithtfk.org!

Member Spotlight: Andy Fenack

Where are you from?
Astoria, NY

What event are you running with Team for Kids?
Airbnb Brooklyn Half Marathon!

What excites you most about running your event with Team for Kids?
The fact that Team for Kids runners have raised over $500,000 through this race alone motivates me the most. It will be awesome to run the streets of Brooklyn with a unifying cause. And I can’t wait to hear “GO TFK!” while I’m out there.

Where is your favorite place to run and why?
In the city…Central Park. I love the variety of hills, flats and bridle path trails for any type of training that I want to do. Out of the city…any trail that I can find!

If you run with music, what are your favorite artists or songs to listen to?
I’m old school….no music! I can’t imagine running with music during a race….what other time am I going to have that many people cheering for me?!?!

What is your favorite post-run meal?
Day to day…pretty healthy and boring but after a race…pizza or hamburgers and few cold IPAs. I may go for Joey Chestnut’s hot dog eating record on the Coney Island boardwalk after the BK half….

When did your relationship with running begin and why?
I’ve been running since high school, joining the cross country team in 9th grade on a whim. I was running trails around my high school to get in shape for baseball and some members of the cross country team asked if I wanted to join. I didn’t even know cross country was a sport but quickly fell in love with distance running, especially on the trails in south Texas where we trained and raced.

Do you have any pre-race rituals or superstitions, if so, please explain?
I’ve got a pair of socks that must be worn for my key races. Really denying the fact that they’re losing elasticity…. I also get to races ridiculously early, usually passing people that are still out partying along the way.

Why did you choose to run this event with TFK?
I had the pleasure of joining Team for Kids as an assistant coach for the United Airlines NYC Half Marathon, meeting a group of people working together for a great cause. As I wasn’t coaching for the Brooklyn Half, I decided it’d be great to get the TFK experience as a runner. I’ve always been motivated to change young lives, from working with homeless children and at-risk youth in high school and undergrad to programs that combat childhood obesity through nutrition and exercise in Physical Therapy school. The Team for Kids mission has been a perfect fit for me.

Tell us a little more about yourself
I’m a Physical Therapist at Finish Line Physical Therapy, specializing in treating runners and endurance athletes. I grew up in Texas, went to UT (hook ’em!) and moved to NYC with my wife 7 years ago. She and I met at UT and have been together for 14 years! Endurance sports have long been a part of my life…I’ve completed 2 Ironman triathlons, 3 marathons, 10 Half Ironman triathlons, and numerous half marathons, Olympic and sprint distance triathlons.

Member Spotlight: Manoj Budidha

What event are you running with Team for Kids?
The Airbnb Brooklyn Half!

Where is your favorite place to run and why?
My favorite route starts in Long Island City, crosses into Brooklyn, then goes across the Williamsburg Bridge, and finally wraps up along the East River Park in Manhattan. There’s a ferry around 34th street that takes me back into Long Island City if I time everything just right.  I love this route because it’s usually not crowded and the views are stunning. Plus, there’s definitely an additional sense of accomplishment knowing you’ve ran in 3 boroughs and across a river.

If you run with music, what are your favorite artists or songs to listen to?
Generally, on my runs I listen to 90s grunge and recent hip-hop with the occasional Eye of the Tiger tossed in the mix. The White Panda also has upbeat and fast tempo mixes which are great for running.

What is your favorite post-run meal?
Pierogis. This may be the best part about finishing a long run.

When did your relationship with running begin and why?
After college, I started running during work trips because it was a great way to get outside and usually the easiest workout while on the road. In the last couple years, after watching my mom battle with multiple strokes, I became inspired to take more ownership over my own health.

Do you have any pre-race rituals or superstitions, if so, please explain?
My first race was in March of this year, so I don’t have many, but I do believe in eating a slice of toast with peanut butter and honey prior to going out.

Why did you choose to run this event?
It’s an iconic race, so it seemed like a good one to start with.

Tell us a little more about yourself
I moved to New York City a couple years ago from Wisconsin. Going from living next to a cornfield to endless skyscrapers was definitely a bit jarring, but a welcome change. As a native Pittsburgher, I’m often found clad in black and yellow and providing unsolicited reasons on why Pittsburgh is awesome.

What excites you most about running your event with Team for Kids?
I spent a summer teaching middle school students in the Mississippi Delta, and I grew to deeply appreciate fitness and nutrition as a precursor for kids to become successful in the classroom. TFK’s programs also enable kids to understand the struggles and triumphs of pursuing ambitious goals, which is such an important life experience. I’m pumped to be joining many others in supporting Team for Kids on May 21 in Brooklyn.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mbudidha
Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/mbudidha
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/bornreddy87/

TFK Testimonial: Laura

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“Training with New York Road Runners Team for Kids brought me to the start line relaxed, strong, confident, and happy. My biggest fear initially was fundraising, but I quickly realized how I underestimated the incredible amount of support we have out there. Each donation just further reinforced my decision to run with Team for Kids. Fundraising for over 215,000 children fueled my fire, and turned a decision I initially made for myself into an experience that truly gives back. ” — Laura

Feeling inspired to run the TCS New York City Marathon with NYRR Team for Kids? Sign up today at runwithtfk.org!

As a reminder, general entry to the NYRR Five-Borough Series: Queens 10K has sold out, but you can still get a spot when you register to run with New York Road Runners Team for Kids! Sign up today at runwithtfk.org!

Member Spotlight: Jessie Chung


What event are you running with Team for Kids?
The Airbnb Brooklyn Half!

What excites you most about running your event with Team for Kids?
Everything! This is my first running race; I’m super excited and looking forward to it.

If you run with music, what are your favorite artists or songs to listen to?
I especially enjoy “It’s Time” by Imagine Dragons during a long run.

What is your favorite post-run meal?
Almonds! I have them handy in my workout bag, so I can refuel quickly after my runs. Sometimes I like to stop by for a fresh fruit smoothie on my way home.

When did your relationship with running begin and why?
When I used to be on the lacrosse team in high school, I ran for strength and endurance during practice. And I stopped exercising all together in college. I want to feel strong and healthy again, so I signed up for the Airbnb Brooklyn Half to motivate myself to exercise. While training is tough, nothing feels more liberating than post-run.

Why did you choose to run this event with TFK?
I want kids to grow up active and enjoy sports the way I did when I was young. It’s the best way to stay healthy and grow up strong.

Connect with Jessie via the links below:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/chungjessie
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jessiewingg/
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jessiechung