Kaitlyn DiBello started running 17 years ago, first as a mid-distance runner/long jumper, then a steeplechaser in high school and a 5k/10k and cross country runner in college. Before moving to Brooklyn she was a head cross country and track coach.
So when she arrived in the neighborhood in July 2017, she was looking for a team to run with, and fell right in with NBR. “Most of my best running memories have come from being a part of this team,” she says. “Even though we’re competitive, at the end of the day we celebrate each other’s successes no matter how big or little they are.”
Today, as the coordinator for NBR’s women’s local competitive team, Kaitlyn is currently aiming to break 3 hours in the NYC marathon. But she’s not the kind of person who feels like one goal is enough: “I’d also love to break 19 minutes in the 5K, break 40 minutes in the 10k and run a sub 1:25 in the half.” Oh, and she dreams of one day qualifying for the Olympic trials in either the marathon or 10k. Her strategy for getting there? Training crazy hard with NBR. “I honestly I wouldn’t be half the runner I am without this team.”
Favorite race distance: Marathons and half marathons! I love the feel of pushing myself and doing something I love for miles upon miles. But I’ll always have a special place in my heart for a good 5k or 10k, especially on the track.
Favorite race: The NYC Marathon and the NYC Half. The fact that the whole city is out there cheering you on is such a surreal feeling. It is always an honor to represent both NBR and Brooklyn in those races on the streets we train on every day.
Favorite NBR run: Either Tuesday Night Tempo or Thursday night track. I love pushing myself with the team and the promise of pizza afterwards is always great. But in summer Narwhals and local competitive definitely become favorites, especially when we get to hit summer streets.
Best running memory: Finishing the 2018 NYC marathon. It was my second marathon and I set out to qualify for Boston. I had trained on and knew the course. As I passed my co-workers and teammates on Bedford Ave, I knew I was in a good position. With my parents cheering me on when I hit 1st Ave I knew I had to keep pushing. Having teammates throughout the whole city, especially on 5th Ave, helped me overcome the tougher pieces. I really knew I had a chance when I passed mile 24 and saw my mom jumping up and down and my dad yelling at me to keep going. As I rounded to the finish I could feel the excitement build, and had tears in my eyes when I crossed the finish line in 3:06. I immediately thought of my grandfather. He was one of my biggest supporters and had cheered me on at every single race. Once that medal was placed around my neck I dedicated it and my race to him knowing how happy he would have been for me. The best part of the race was checking my phone and seeing how many teammates, friends and family members had texted me either during the race or after with congratulations. Knowing that they had been with me the whole time made the accomplishment that much sweeter.
What running’s taught her: That anything is possible. If you told my 10-year-old self that I’d be a marathoner, I would have thought you were crazy. But now I know that no dream is to big. Knowing that every ounce of work I put in allows me to get better pushes me to work hard. It has also reminded me to stay humble, to keep dreaming and setting new goals.
Favorite post-race food: Anything with chocolate, and a good cup of Irish breakfast tea! I have a big sweet tooth. I also love having a superhero muffin from Shalane Flanagan’s cookbook on hand.
Favorite piece of running gear: My garmin. It feels weird to not have it there. I’m also a huge Asics fan and can’t go wrong with either my GT-2000s or DS trainers which have seen their fair share of blood, sweat and tears. Those who really know me know that I’m never seen without a pair of shorts and a tank top on—regardless of the weather.
Favorite songs to run to: I have a whole playlist that I will gladly share with anyone who wants it! I always have to start with either “The Champion” or “Good Girl,” both by Carrie Underwood, “Miami 2017” by Billy Joel, “Heartland” by Celtic Thunder or “Land of Hope and Dreams,” “Hard to Be a Saint in the City” by Bruce Springsteen or “I Want It All” by Queen.
Favorite pro runners: Shalane Flanagan, Deena Kastor and Paula Radcliffe. Having watched these ladies over the years I have learned how to not only be a better runner but also how to train smarter and how to pick myself up after I fall. Seeing how they have collected themselves after a downfall and remained true to who they are and celebrated their successes just proves to me that if you dream it and work hard, you can achieve it.
Favorite running social media account: Brooklyn Running Company. Though I may be biased since I work there part-time.
Best advice to running newbies: Don’t quit! Running is all about being patient and sticking with it. Continue to work hard, and find a running partner. Also sign up for a race or set a goal. I have found that when I have a targeted goal in mind, I train smarter. One thing I was always told is that if you’re not enjoying it, then you need to fix something. Make sure you find the fun of it.
Want to nominate an NBR member as Runner of the Month? Send the board nominees along with a brief description. The dimensions looked for are: performance, improvement, participation, volunteering and support. A runner does not need to fulfill all of those categories, but it’s a good starting point. We will feature runners from any pace, showcasing the breadth of our team—from our inspiring top scorers with incredible performances to brand new runners hitting significant running milestones.