Until September 2016, Ryan Pattie hadn’t run a mile since middle school. Then a friend told him how much running had helped her—she described it as “free therapy.” So Ryan laced up some sneakers, and squeezed out “a 12-minute-plus mile during which I'm sure I stopped once or twice before dry heaving at the end,” he says.
Although he joined the NBR Google Group soon afterward, it took another year before he got over his “stage fright” enough to actually meet up for a group run. Today, he remembers what it felt like to be brand new, so makes a point of reaching out to new faces. He’s also become NBR’s co-treasurer (along with Natalie Gleed), has volunteered at multiple races and sometimes jumps in as a substitute run leader for the Wednesday Night Beginner’s Run.
He tackled his first marathon—the Kentucky Derby Festival—in April and keeps scoring new PRs. “I've come a pretty long way, and that's awesome to reflect on.”
What he does when not running: “My wife, Ilona, and I love to travel, cook and EAT. We got married in Spain this summer and ate all of the pintxos—and then we spent a few days in Lisbon and ate all of the pasteis. We're hoping to visit her family in Poland this summer and that means pierogis, kielbasa and pączki. One of these days, I may run enough miles per week to justify all of it. I also love watching English and European soccer and I won't say no to a 9 am kick-off pint or two.”
Favorite race distance: “I don't think I've found it just yet but I definitely prefer running anything in cold weather. Anything over 80 degrees is just straight-up evil.”
Best running memory: “This year's Fifth Ave mile. I was coming off a bad foot sprain that I got in Portugal and hadn't been running at all for a few weeks. I was basically going to go through the motions to get the 9+1 credit. Ilona kept telling me, ‘Don't get hurt worse, just take it easy.’
“I arrived late and was in the back of the pack. It was so crowded that we were all still walking for a few seconds after passing the starting line. Frustrated with the traffic, I weaved around and finally got some space (side note: it boggles my mind how the fast people can run so close together). For the first quarter-mile, I was going entirely too hard for someone trying to ‘take it easy’ but it just felt so great to actually be running again. At the halfway point, it still felt good and the crowd noise was getting me pumped to keep up the pace. After the 3/4 mark, everything went fuzzy and sour-tasting and I hit the wall as other guys were passing me left and right, but I knew from prior races and training with NBR that I had enough in the tank to hang on. Even with the injury and the lack of conditioning, I threw everything that I had down for that race and I was just as pleased after that mile as I was after my first marathon...and I got a 20+ second PR to boot!”
Favorite running route in NYC: “I ran my first couple of races in Prospect Park so I still think of it as home (along with McCarren).”
Running-related superstitions: “I have to check that the stove is off and the door is locked behind me about 3-4 times before a run. I swear it's not OCD! Also, I have to say goodbye to our cats, not that they give a damn.”
Favorite post-race food: “Chocolate milk.”
Song that makes him want to run: "‘Sabotage’ by Beastie Boys.”
Favorite running social media account: “Eliud Kipchoge's Instagram because he is a fellow Tottenham Hotspur fan. He's also pretty decent at running.”
Worst part about being a runner: “It's petty as hell but my poor toenails have seen better days. I lost three after my first marathon and Ilona just experienced her first casualty. If that's the only downer I can really think of, we're doing alright (although she took it *much* harder than I did).”
Best advice to running newbies? “Don't be intimidated out there. Make some running buddies and ask lots of questions—the more you're connected, the harder it is to drop off the face of the planet. Finally, do yourself a favor and leave the headphones at home (at least from time to time). I never realized how hard I was pounding the pavement until I forgot them once and my knees have thanked me ever since.”
Current running goal: “My wife and I are both doing NYC this year—first time for me and it's her first ever marathon. I got hurt during training so I'm doing my best to catch up now. I don't really think I have a PR in me right now so I think I'll just enjoy the race as much as I possibly can. After that, I would love to do Chicago because I lived there for 10 years before moving to Brooklyn. I don't think any of my Chicago friends would have ever guessed that I'd be into running marathons.”