The Starting Line of a Lifelong Runner

By Marc Almanzan, FHR member since October 2012

I entered the world of running in 2008 by lining up at a charity 5k on a supremely sticky summer evening.  I was pretty much out of shape, having not regularly exercised since middle school and then a brief period in high school.  The race was horrible; it was self-prescribed hell...and yet, it was exciting.  There was something wonderful about the collective chaos and the shared push to reach the finish line.

As I regained consciousness and filtered through the post race snacks, all around me I saw a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and ages of those involved. It seemed very different to me than any other group activities I’d come across.  I’m sorry, but at 26 when you are absolutely dusted by a 55 year old, you can’t help but be intrigued.

And with that, the first 5k was done. What next?

A little more running of course!  I continued to run lightly, one to two times a week probably for the next few months or so.  (I would have cocked my head to the side like a puppy if you asked me about speed-work.)  It was then that I came across a small 5k in Watertown and decided to sign up.  Lo and behold, even with a huge hill, I knocked out a much faster time and felt much better than I did after my first race.  

You could have told me 1,000 times that running is an incredibly rewarding way to develop physical and mental strength; a way to push yourself to become a better version of yourself. I wouldn’t have believed you until after that second finish line.

I stumbled upon Forest Hills Runners about four years later in the fall of 2012, and I can honestly say that it was exactly what I needed at that point.  I didn’t know it when I joined, but the next two years would bring about a sea of change, and it turned out that FHR was the best anchor I could have asked for.  Great, like-minded people, the good kind of peer pressure, and an excuse to get sweaty and have ice cream at 10am on a Saturday morning.  

Whether your goals are increased confidence, weight loss, more stamina, dropping bad habits, or familiarizing yourself with a new city and your new neighbors, running is a skeleton key.

Running opened a door for me, and I haven’t looked back.


- Starting in the end of November 2014, each week we will be updating this blog with personal stories from fellow runners, race recaps, training tips, recipes, and more! If you are interested in becoming a blog contributor, please contact Katie Merrill at for more information. And remember, as Owen says, Be Amazing! -

Posted on November 24, 2014 .