If you’ve been running with NBR for any length of time, chances are, you’ve run with Jennifer Herr. Formerly NBR’s board president, she leads the Tuesday Just Central Run, Saturday Bridge Run and Sunday Funday Long Run, and is a regular at Wednesday Morning Doves and Thursday Night Track.
She joined NBR five years ago when, after a year of running by herself, a safety incident convinced her to find a group to train with. “At the finish line of the Brooklyn Half Marathon I saw a pack of NBR members having fun in Coney Island,” she says. “I attended my first Narwhals Run the following weekend.”
The camaraderie of the club has kept her coming back ever since. “We go above and beyond to encourage and cheer each other on at every race, workout and event, and definitely have each others' backs! I love being a part of that.”
What she does when she’s not running: I'm a Construction Manager for WeWork, and have been involved in design and construction in NYC over the past 15 years. Some projects I've worked on are Bushwick Inlet Park, affordable housing along Bushwick Ave, and the NYRR Run Center at Hearst Tower. I'm also a devoted partner, step-mom and cat-mom.
How she initially got into running: In 2013 I signed up to run the McCarren 5K with a couple friends. Our goal was to run the whole thing at 10 min/mile pace, but after treadmill training for a few weeks, I exceeded our goal by running a 27 minute race and was hooked! I started training outdoors in Bed-Stuy, gradually tackling longer race distances, including the NYC Marathon that year.
Favorite race distance: I love to race middle-distances: anything from 4 miles to half marathon. My least favorite distance is the marathon, but it's a love-hate relationship—I can't seem to stop running them.
Favorite NBR run: That's tough. I love different ones for different reasons: Just Central for allowing me to run with my neighbors at the crack of dawn; Doves for helping me improve my speed by chasing a great crew of NBR regulars; Thursday Night Track for being my hardest weekly workout with the reward of pizza and beer, Saturday Bridge Run for being the best start to every weekend with old and new friends; and Sunday Funday for being my most constant and fulfilling weekly adventure with NBR over the past 5 years.
Best running memory: The Salzburg Austria Marathon was the most gorgeous setting I've ever run in, along the base of mountains, through farmlands, woodlands, estates and old world cityscape. Finishing the Copenhagen marathon in 80 degree temperatures with my boyfriend and friends screaming and blowing kisses to me for my final kick was also memorable. And at the Berlin Marathon weekend Breakfast Run, I felt a profound sense of pride and inspiration running alongside NBR teammates Alisa, Gregg, HJ and Bev through the streets of Berlin, into the Olympic Stadium, seeing Jesse Owens' name and records inscribed on the stadium walls near the relic of Hitler's spectator box, and enjoying the German pastries at the end. I will also never forget racing in costume as a Runaway Bride and Roller Derby Queen with the all-girl "Hood to Philly"/"Hood to Haven" relay teams; many laughs were shared over two great weekends with NBR teammates.
Favorite running route in NYC: Long run to Highland and Forest Hills Parks—we've only done the full route twice with the Sunday Funday crew, but it's very adventurous and scenic. We should run it more.
What running has changed about her: Running's given me balance and peace. In my youth and college years, I was heavily involved in organized sports (gymnastics, tennis, basketball, tae kwon do and lacrosse) but I struggled in young adulthood once that participation ended. For several years, I filled the void with a lot of unhealthy things. When I started running in my early thirties, it quickly restored the discipline, purpose, pride, competition and sense of community that other sports had given me. Running has also taught me that age is not a deterrent to athletic success. My speed is only improving as I approach age 40, and I'm inspired by my NBR masters peers who also continue to excel. I aim to run for the rest of my life.
Favorite post-race food: Dim Sum! After a half or full marathon, I usually camp out in Chinatown or Flushing to gorge on soup dumplings, rice rolls, turnip cake and bok choy.
Favorite piece of running gear: I'm a sneakerhead, so it's gotta be the shoes! I train in Adidas Energy Boosts, race in Nike 4% Flyknits, and enjoy shopping far and wide for the best and most unique color ways of those shoes. (Ask me about the three pairs of watercolor style Adidas Energy Boosts I once had shipped from Japan—I will proudly show you their glamour shots.)
Favorite songs to run to: "Unstoppable" & "The Greatest" by Sia
Favorite pro runner: Usain Bolt for his swagger
Favorite running social media account: Darcy Budworth's Instagram (founder of the Take The Bridge race series, coach at Mile High Run Club). Darcy and I are work colleagues and collaborated on NBR's participation in the Williamsburg Bridge Take The Bridge race; I'm amazed by the array of things she accomplishes professionally and within the running community on any given day, and how well she documents it all.
Best advice to running newbies: The rewards of running go beyond pace, race times or how you compare to others. Give yourself a chance to find out how much running benefits your physical and mental wellness. The running community is also the greatest, most supportive network to be a part of, so don't be intimidated.
Current running goals: To run the Brooklyn Half marathon at a sub-8 min/mile pace, and the 2019 Marine Corp. Marathon in less than 4 hours.
Fun fact: I came in 3rd place at the 2016 Bed-Stuy 5K and the 2018 Bed-Stuy Turkey Trot, where I won a Sweet Potato Pie!