TFK Alumni Training

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New York Road Runners Team for Kids is thrilled to offer this free opportunity for our alumni to continue running with us. See details below to join us for our Thursday night TFK alumni weekly group run!

TFK Alumni Speed Series
Every Thursday at 6:30 p.m.
NYRR RUNCENTER Featuring the New Balance Run Hub

Stay fit, have fun and build speed and strength with Team for Kids! Coaches Asteria, Sid and Glen will alternate leading standalone speed workouts on Thursday nights for TFK alumni separate from other TFK event practices and training schedules. These workouts are not event specific and will positively benefit any runner training for all race distances, especially those planning a full or half-marathon. Interested runners should meet at 6:15 p.m. on Thursdays at the Run Center: lockers are available to store bags. Please note, unlike Open Run, this opportunity is exclusively for TFK alumni. Remember to check TFK social media for practice cancellations due to weather.

* Waiver: If you plan to participate in the TFK Alumni Speed Series, please complete the waiver linked here http://bit.ly/TFKWaiver

We look forward to staying connected and continuing to run with our alumni at these exciting sessions! If you have any questions, please contact us at teamforkids@nyrr.org.

Alumni Spotlight: Benjamin Vaschetti

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What events have you run with Team for Kids?
2015 TCS New York City Marathon and this year I will run the Airbnb Brooklyn Half and Bank of America Chicago Marathon with Team for Kids!

What excites you most about running your event with Team for Kids?
All the training prior the race that TFK coaches provide, running as a group with others TFK members and most importantly knowing that we’re raising critical funds to help kids in need.

Where is your favorite place to run and why?
Central Park! It’s such an amazing place right in the middle of the city, especially in spring and fall. It has some nice little hills so it’s perfect to vary your training and, for the most part, its traffic free!

If you run with music, what are your favorite artists or songs to listen to?
I like to run with quite fast beats and I enjoy deep house music… it gives me some kind of “superpower” when I need it. My favorite artists are actually DJs like Lexer a young man from Germany and also DJ Redg’ice from France who is actually a friend of mine.

What is your favorite post-run meal?
Waffles & Bacon with maple syrup. A good cold beer is always welcome too!

When did your relationship with running begin and why?
I started to run regularly back in 2005. At the time I was living in China and a colleague challenged me to run the Shanghai half marathon and I thought he was crazy! I ended up running it and it was a very nice experience and while I thought I reached my maximum with 13.1 miles, somehow 10 years later I ran a full marathon in New York City!

Do you have any pre-race rituals or superstitions, if so, please explain?
I make sure I have some food (brown pitta bread with my homemade almond butter and banana) and a super strong coffee. Other than that I’m not very superstitious and every race is a different approach for me.

Why did you choose to run with Team for Kids?
For my first marathon I wanted to do special and I thought about running for a cause that supported youth fitness and nutrition…Naturally I joined Team for Kids!

Tell us a little more about yourself
I’m originally from France, I have traveled all across the world for my career with New York City being my most recent stop. I love the energy and fast pace of New York and I think it suits me. I work as Chef which can make it a challenge to train after a 12 hour work day, but I still manage to go as much as possible. Running is beneficial for my mental well-being, so I always welcome my training runs after a long day at work! Outside of working and running, I like all what New York has to offer and I also envoy visiting new places and meeting new people.

Are you currently training for any events with TFK or do you plan to run any in the future, if so which events?
I’m currently training for the 2016 Airbnb Brooklyn Half and the 2016 Bank of America Chicago Marathon with Team for Kids!

What would you tell someone who was considering running with Team for Kids
Honestly, all great things! I would strongly encourage singing up to run with Team for Kids! The support you get from everyone (TFK staff, TFK coaches, TFK mentors, and other TFK runners) from the moment you sign up for your event is amazing! Everyone at TFK is really really nice and running and fundraising to support of over 200,000 students across the nation with free youth running programs is incredibly rewarding. You can’t beat that! 🙂

Connect with Ben via the site below:
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/Cookingmachine/

Alumni Spotlight: Christie Crowl

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What events have you ran with Team for Kids?
The 2015 TCS New York City Marathon!

Where is your favorite place to run and why?
My favorite place to run is the Lafayette Reservoir, close to my home in Walnut Creek, California, which is about 25 miles outside of San Francisco. There is a 3-mile paved loop just around the water as well as a 5-mile trail with significant inclines and amazing views of the east bay.  And plenty of other dogs for our yellow lab, Posey, to meet along the way!

If you run with music, what are your favorite artists or songs to listen to?
I am a big country music fan, so I use my running time to listen to my favorite country songs.  A lot of people like to change up their workout music frequently, but for me there is something comforting about knowing exactly where I am in my run once I hear Tim McGraw start to play!

What is your favorite post-run meal?
I always try to have a good mix of carbs and protein after I run, and since I do most of my weekday runs after work, I generally have dinner post-run.  But I for my long runs on the weekends, I have been known to park my car close to a local doughnut shop so that I can look forward to a maple old-fashioned when I return!  Sometimes my husband will even run with me for a bit and turn around early so that it’s waiting for me when I get there!

When did your relationship with running begin and why?
My mom has been a P.E. teacher at our local elementary school for almost 23 years and has dedicated her career to instilling a love for running, fitness, and healthy habits in thousands of students, including me!  She helped me start running and playing sports at a young age, so daily movement has always been part of my life.  I think that one of my dad’s proudest moments was when I was the fastest kid — girl or boy! — in a timed run at our city’s youth baseball league tryouts.  Fast-forward about 20 years and my mom and I are still running together, and she was there waiting for me at Miles 12, 18, and 23 in NYC!

Do you have any pre-race rituals or superstitions, if so, please explain?
I don’t have any real superstitions, but I always like my shoes to match my race outfit — it’s an excuse to have way too many pairs of running shoes!

Why did you choose to run this event with Team for Kids?
I was thrilled to be fulfilling a lifelong goal to run the New York City Marathon, and I am so proud to have run with Team for Kids.  To get the chance to run through all five boroughs with a million people cheering you on is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Tell us a little more about yourself
I was born and raised in Walnut Creek, moved to Los Angeles for college (go Bruins!), and came back to San Francisco for law school.  After living in San Francisco for a few years, my husband and I moved back to Walnut Creek, so I’ve really come full circle!  And now I can join my mom on runs again and get to enjoy her company as well as the company of my family’s adorable yellow lab, Posey, who loves to head out for a run just as much as we do.

What excited you most about running your event with Team for Kids?
As I said earlier, my mom is a P.E. teacher and two of my best friends are teachers as well, one of whom actually teaches in the Bronx (shout out to Bronx Success Academy 1!).  All of those educators have stressed the importance of their students’ health and fitness, and have also indicated that students’ academics and confidence levels directly benefit from the types of programs provided by NYRR and Team for Kids.  Being an athlete and having access to sports programs when I was younger has made me who I am today, and I know that the funds that I have raised will help build after-school running programs and enrich the lives of students in New York City and around the country.

Are you currently training for any events with TFK or do you plan to run any in the future, if so which events?
I am not currently training for any events, but I spent some time in London last summer and I would absolutely love to do the London Marathon someday!

What would you tell someone who was considering running with Team for Kids?
Running with Team for Kids will absolutely make your marathon experience incredible.  From the training plans to the coaches’ advice to the team huddle before the start gun, you always have someone encouraging you.  And knowing your fundraising efforts are helping to produce some amazing tiny athletes will keep you going when those runs get tough!

Alumni Spotlight: Noah Lam

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What events have you run with Team for Kids?
I ran the 2008 New York City Marathon, 2009 New York City Marathon, 2015 TCS New York City Marathon with Team for Kids.

What excites you most about running your event with Team for Kids?
Knowing that my running is bigger than just me. The excitement and cheering spectators gets the blood flowing, but getting to know and becoming friends with real solid people like Irapaul Turner, Jackie Gossip, Wolfgang Wander, Bruce Stark, Asteria/Sid Howard, Vincent Corso, Joseph Kolisky, Drew Swiss, Sandra Cotuna, and so many more!

Where is your favorite place to run and why?
My favorite place to run is where ever my wife or kids are running. It’s because of them that I am running!

If you run with music, what are your favorite artists or songs to listen to?
Sans music for 7 years. During my first marathon, my friend ran with me for a little bit, so in order to talk to him, I pulled out my ear buds and that was the last time I ever listened to music. I now listen to my body and stay in tune with it. Plus I want to hear my wife or kids or friends if they want to have a conversation, because I think we don’t talk enough in this electronic society that we live in.

What is your favorite post-run meal?
Simple: Burger, Fries, Onion Rings and a Vanilla Milk Shake!

When did your relationship with running begin and why?
After watching Forrest Gump run across America, I thought, heck, I should be able to do a marathon, so I chose the 2008 NYC Marathon and Team for Kids to make sure I did not back out!

I remember all of the promises that I made to take care of myself and I eventually ballooned to 245 pounds. My integrity was important so I stuck with it and now I have done 11 marathons and 1 Ironman, and I am back for more!!! So far I am down to 185.

Do you have any pre-race rituals or superstitions, if so, please explain?
The only thing that has been consistent has been Pasta and Meat Sauce. The other thing seems to be missing my scheduled bedtime for more sleep and that is because I am way to excited for the next day to begin.

Why did you choose to run with Team for Kids?
Because I wanted to live longer for my kids, what better way to honor my children then by supporting other kids, because I know if I was not around that I would want my kids to have every opportunity to be healthier!

Tell us a little more about yourself
I am a happy Father of 3 wonderful kids, and married to an amazing wife. We all have done at least 5k and triathlons and live on Long Island. I love to laugh at the stupidest things and always looking for something strange and funny to break up the levity of any tense situation, because life is to short to be taking so seriously. Having said that I do have a goal of qualifying for the Boston Marathon and Ironman World Championships in Kona. Both goals at one time seemed impossible, but with the support of Team for Kids and my family, it’s getting closer!

What would you tell someone who was considering running with Team for Kids?
Always follow your heart in choosing a Charity to support, otherwise it won’t be as meaningful. If you choose to support Team for Kids, hundreds of thousands of kids will get a running head start for a healthier life!

Connect with Noah via the links below:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/noah.lam.5
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/RunWithNoah
Twitter: https://twitter.com/runwithnoah
Instagram: https://instagram.com/runwithnoah
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/noahlam
Blog: http://www.runwithnoah.com/

Alumni Spotlight: Melissa Pranzo

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What events have you run with Team for Kids?
United Airlines NYC Half, TCS New York City Marathon 2014, and I am running the TCS New York City Marathon 2015. I always wear my TFK singlet, whether I’m officially running with TFK or not, I’m proud to promote this amazing group.

What excites you most about running your event with Team for Kids?
My son is s Young Runner at his elementary school, so I’ve seen first-hand how valuable the dollars TFK runners are to the kids…and the teacher/coaches who train them. I attended several of the Youth Running events this year, and it literally brings me to tears watching hundreds upon hundreds of kids run like the wind — literally! Some of these kids are running 6 minute miles, all the while holding hands with their best friends. It’s amazing. My son’s favorite is the Run of Champions, where he got to meet some of the elite runners in town before the NYC Marathon last Fall. All in all, I highly recommend attending one of these events to everyone…you really see why people return again and again to TFK (beyond the amazing people, coaches, and training!!)

Where is your favorite place to run and why?
Believe it or not, the FDR to West Side Hwy path. I love New York, and running around Manhattan, literally, is not only really cathartic for me, but I like to see the sights from Queens to Brooklyn, to Jersey. Plus the bridges are amazing (as much as I am terrified of running over them!)

If you run with music, what are your favorite artists or songs to listen to?
If I run alone, I bring music…sometimes I turn it on, sometimes I don’t. It’s a mood thing. But, I run to Melissa Etheridge, Daughtry (Waiting for Superman gets me going for some reason), Imagine Dragons, and the like. Inspirational, emotional songs motivate me to keep going when I want to stop.

What is your favorite post-run meal?
I have celiac (gluten-free), so my choices are more limited. However, a banana and chocolate almond milk does me right most of the time!

When did your relationship with running begin and why?
I’ve been an athlete my entire life. I can’t remember a time when I did not run, but in December 2013, right around Christmas Eve, my son was at his father’s and I watched a re-run of a Biggest Loser episode. In it, this young woman, who at 300 pounds, ran a marathon. I’d always wanted to run one, so I figured I’d start with a Half Marathon. I had no clue how to train for it, so I signed up for the 2014 NYC Half with TFK, and wound up running pretty much every race I could that year, right up to the NYC Marathon. It’s been quite a journey.

Do you have any pre-race rituals or superstitions, if so, please explain?
I go to bed by 8PM. Yes, 8PM….before my son does! I lay out my clothing for race day, pin my bib on my singlet, and pack my stuff for bagcheck (if I’m checking a bag.) Oh and sushi. Every night before a race, I binge on sushi. If I don’t, the race is awful for me. No clue why, but I figure I should stick with it!

Why did you choose to run with Team for Kids?
Originally, it was for the training, and I liked the idea of my miles having more meaning then just a notch on my PR belt. I have to say though, I’ve met some pretty amazing people…made great friends, and I love that our miles matter for more than just our own health and personal prowess.

Tell us a little more about yourself
I’ve lived in the tri-state area most of my life. I’m a single mom, and live here in Manhattan with the coolest 9-year old in town. We’re super-active and love being outdoors; beyond running, we play baseball, basketball, snowboard and more. Those who ran with me last year will recall I have a bit of a bridge-phobia…ok, a BIG bridge phobia. My running partner got me over every bridge last year, and I plan to conquer the GWB sometime soon as well!

Are you currently training for any events with TFK or do you plan to run any in the future, if so which events?
I’m a Mentor for the Class of 2015 for the TCS NYC Marathon! I struggled with training in the heat last year, and learned so much from the Coaches about nutrition and in-race fuel, so I’m very excited to share what I learned with the new crew!

What would you tell someone who was considering running with Team for Kids?
I would tell them to do it…period. The friends, the support, the experience are unrivaled. At the end of the day, it’s really tough training for races on your own, and meeting new running buddies, getting to know people in the running community, it’s a great way to expand your horizons while helping some truly amazing kids achieve more than they ever imagined.

Connect with Melissa on the sites below:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/melissa.pranzo
Twitter: https://twitter.com/melissapnyc
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/melissapranzo
Instagram: https://instagram.com/i_am_melissapnyc

Alumni Spotlight: Karen & Lowell Cloete

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What events have you run with Team for Kids?
We run the TCS New York City Marathon for TFK, but consider every race we participate in a race for TFK. We proudly wear our TFK singlets in all our races and have met a lot of current and former TFK members at non-NYRR races.

What excites you most about running your event with Team for Kids?

Simply two things:

  1. Our efforts help impact over 200,000 students in the NYRR Youth Programs
  2. The TFK camaraderie and watching teammates evolve and change their lives through running

Where is your favorite place to run and why?
Lowell – No specific place, anywhere I can run is a favorite.
Karen – I love to run anywhere, particularly new places – I always pack my running kit when I travel!

If you run with music, what are your favorite artists or songs to listen to?
We run without music

What is your favorite post-run meal?
Lowell – eggs and bacon, a tortilla, and lots of coffee
Karen – eggs, tortillas, coffee, and water

When did your relationship with running begin and why?
Lowell – In my 30’s, I was not able to continue to commit the time needed to practice and play field hockey. We lived right next to Central Park so I started testing out running and the bug bit! Karen has been running since a toddler!

Do you have any pre-race rituals or superstitions, if so, please explain?
Lowell – Other than making sure I do not upset Karen’s rituals, I have none (Oh and gladly accepting the kiss from Karen).

Karen – wishing Lowell a good race, giving him a kiss and then telling him to just “let me settle into my pace!”

Why did you choose to run with Team for Kids?
Lowell – At the 2006 New York City Marathon expo I saw the TFK booth, and chatted with Lydia Delman about fundraising, and signed up to do last minute fundraising. The rest they say is history. I have run every NYC Marathon since then with TFK.

Karen – Having observed Lowell’s experience and believing in the mission with all my heart…it was a no brainer.

Tell us a little more about yourself
Lowell – I am married to my soul mate, Karen and a proud dad to twin 13 year old young women, Isabella and Susan.

Karen – ditto Lowell and we live in Bucks Co., PA.  I am very fortunate to work in the field of human rights, another great passion of mine.

Are you currently training for any events with TFK or do you plan to run any in the future, if so which events?
Lowell – Trying to train for this year’s TCS New York City Marathon.

Karen – TCS New York City for sure!

What would you tell someone who was considering running with Team for Kids?
Incredible cause, top-notch coaches and fantastic teammates. Do it!

Alumni Spotlight: Bruce Stark

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What events have you run with Team for Kids?
The 2012 training, 2013 NYC Marathon, 2014 Brooklyn Half, and a number of other small races- Poland Spring, Japan Run, Giants Stadium 5K, Scotland Run as well as almost 3 years of training runs.

What excites you most about running your event with Team for Kids?
My teammates. Without a doubt, I have the most supportive and friendliest teammates ever. I think if everyone from the United Nations was forced to run together on our team, we would have world peace in no time. Except if they have to do hill repeats, then all bets are off. Running with a coach or a mentor is a special treat. I have never met a teammate, coach, or mentor, I didn’t like.

Where is your favorite place to run and why?
Brooklyn. I had never been to Brooklyn, but have now had 7 runs there, including the half. I did surprisingly well in almost every run. I ran over the bridges in 100 degree temperature like it was nothing. I love Brooklyn.

If you run with music, what are your favorite artists or songs to listen to?
I have never run with music. I don’t believe in it. I am out there to run, not to enjoy myself. The fun starts as soon as I can start talking about the run.

What is your favorite post-run meal?
Chocolate Milk. Coach Scott says it helps, and since it’s always 50-50, whether I survive a long run, I’ll drink anything that brings me back to life.

When did your relationship with running begin and why?
I thought it was good exercise, and liked the idea of pushing myself. I was never a good athlete and always was picked last-if at all. Once I was the captain and I didn’t even pick myself. I would run 1 or 2 miles when I was in my 30’s, but I was 55 the first year I started training for the Marathon (2012).

I thought the Marathon was all about pushing yourself. I never expected there would be so much running involved. And when you sign up, they don’t tell you about hill repeats, or tempo runs, or track work or time trials. Oh, at times, the relationship is complicated.

Do you have any pre-race rituals or superstitions, if so, please explain?
In my rookie year, I would watch the 3 Stooges from 4:30 -5:00am before a Saturday long run. That was a sure sign I would have a good run. Also, I was once late on a Monday Night Run, so I took a cab, 3 blocks to the park. Because I had a good run, I would take a cab the 3 blocks to the park for every training run, the rest of the year.

Why did you choose to run with Team for Kids?
Team for Kids chose me (suckers). I tried to get in via the lottery, but didn’t. I received an email from TFK, offering me a guaranteed spot. The email was like one of those the police send to criminals, saying they won tickets to the Super Bowl, and then they get arrested when they go to claim the tickets. I decided to take a chance. I have thought many times, of turning myself in. Seriously, it was the best decision of my life.

Tell us a little more about yourself
At 58, I am getting married for the first time, this year. I own a family-run Paint and Hardware store on the Upper West Side that has been in business for 115 years. I work there with my brother and sister. I was a volunteer with the Muscular Dystrophy Association for 27 years, the last 10 as studio chief for the Jerry Lewis Telethon.  I was also a volunteer for the Xeroderma Pigmentosum Society for 10 years. I sponsored a Walkathon for 15 years, the last 10 for the benefit of Guiding Eyes for the Blind. This year the walk will be Saturday Night, May 2nd (Yes that’s a plug, but it is for a charity, and it is fun for everyone. We even have a doggies in costume contest!).

5 years ago, I was 250 pounds, not only have I lost 50 pounds and gotten in shape, but  I ran a Marathon! I am a die-hard Mets fan, and have taken a lot of abuse, because of it, but I will have the last laugh, as my Mets are going all the way this year. My turn ons are romantic comedies, running, and anyone willing to share their Gatorade. My turn offs are Hill repeats, track work, tempo runs, fartlets, & column runs.

Are you currently training for any events with TFK or do you plan to run any in the future, if so which events?
I wish.  I am out with an injury, and will miss the entire year. I do plan on staying a part of the team, by going out and cheering them on whenever I can. I will be back in ’16, and will run with TFK.

What would you tell someone who was considering running with Team for Kids?
We have private bathrooms at the TCS New York City Marathon! And a private bus, with a bathroom! And a heated tent! And private bathrooms! But mostly the best coaches and teammates you will ever find.