Life has a way of surprising you.
Yes I know that is a cliche but growing up in rural Warren, Pa where hunting and snowboarding was all I thought about I never would have imagined I would find happiness in running. But that is exactly what happened.
I was a decent mile runner in high school…never broke a 4:40…but it was never something I loved. I had thought about running a marathon my senior year but it never became more than a fleeting thought. Snowboarding on the other hand was all I thought about year round and in 2008 I started school at the University of Vermont where snowboarding and partying were much higher on my list than running. However during that freshman year I told a few of my friends I had thought about running a marathon and like a lot of people they thought I was crazy and bet I wouldn’t. So I did the most logical thing…signed up for a marathon.
Skip over the winter and spring were not very much running was done and on May 17th, 2009 I was at the starting line of the Run for the Red Marathon in Stroudsburg PA. It was a tough race…under trained, not fueling or hydrating properly, and generally no f***ing clue what I was doing. But after crashing at mile 18 and run-walking the remainder I finished in a 3:16:43 and thought “That’s done, time for something new”. However once I started running again I inevitably started looking at other marathons and that is when I found out about Boston. I figured 6 minutes wouldn’t be too hard to drop (qualifying times were 5 minutes slower at that time) so I figured I’d qualify, run Boston and call it a day. My second go round at the Run for the Red I did qualify for Boston in a 3:10:49 (the minute “grace period” was still in play), ran it in 2011, and had the time of my life. By this time it was pretty clear to me and everyone else that running and racing had become my new obsession.
I graduated in late 2011 and moved to Fripp Island in early 2012 to work as their Naturalist and after a few years went to work for a non-profit focused on local marine preservation: the Port Royal Sound Foundation. However a very successful race season in 2014-2015 would ensure a short tenure there. After winning the Hilton Head Marathon (and subsequent Runner’s World article), Gasparilla Distance Classic Michelob Ultra Challenge, and Tomoka Marathon all in under two months I decided a change of pace was needed. I got in touch with a good friend and owner of Palmetto Running Company, Rob Fyfe, and left everything I had known in wildlife biology to follow my running obsession.
And that is were you will find me now: working in a sport and industry that has truly become a huge part of who I am and what I love.