NYC Marathon Team Spot Check In: Hunter Underwood


1. Tell us a little bit about how you came to be involved with NBR. What was your first run? How long have you been involved?  

I moved to Williamsburg in December 2018 and actually had immediate plans to run with NBR. I had run with a few of the Manhattan-based running clubs without establishing a real connection while jealously eyeing the NBR singlets from afar. My first run was January 1, 2018, with an early, hungover edition of MNER where I met Anna McCusker, Caitlin Shu and Seth Pompan whom I am still friends with. As we struggled and burped our way down Kent Avenue, I knew that I had found my people. 

2. How is marathon training going? Are there any specific workouts that are really moving things along for you? Tell the world a good NBR long run story. 

It's...going. My work schedule makes it really hard to consistently follow a training plan, but I have been progressively increasing my weekly mileage and long runs. I also bike quite a bit to work, which I think helps.  In a way, I think the freedom and flexibility of no official plan has been good for me because I tend to be very hard on myself at baseline. I knew that if a had a very specific plan I would miss days and workouts and become too frustrated with the process. Mentally, I am telling myself that this is already a thousand times better than my plan for my last marathon, which was absolutely zero training.

My favorite workout, although not tailored specifically to the marathon, will always be Canova K's.  I also utilize the Mile High Run Club classes quite a bit. The hardest part of any track/tempo workout for me is the mental focus required to hold onto your paces. I find that Mile High helps me get some work in after a long day while simultaneously mentally checking out and relaxing my brain.  I also am a huge fan of Flywheel for cross-training (which has helped a lot for shorter distance)

Kev Grev and Caitlin Shu are the most familiar with my best NBR long run story that happened last weekend and have been sworn to secrecy. Let's just say that unfortunate gastrointestinal mishaps require creative solutions.

3. Which NBR runs are you attending regularly to train? Are there any NBR members who inspire you to train hard(er)? 

It is hard for me to make the NBR runs in general these days, but I am trying to show up to Narwhals when I can.

Kiana Hamzehdoost (my partner a.k.a. my roommate) inspires me to train harder every single day! She approaches her own training plans with so much thought and executes them with such discipline. She helps me get through my long runs and often talks me out of bailing. She encourages me to lace up my shoes and get out the door when I am trying to make every excuse to skip a run. Until recently, she would carry water and gels for me on long runs but I am slowly warming up to the idea of doing it myself.  There truly is no way I could make it to the starting line of the marathon ready to go without her support.

James Gray-King horrifies me more than inspires me with his love for the marathon, but maybe (hopefully not) this will change after I run NYC.

4. What does it mean to be chosen by your peers for a coveted NBR  marathon team spot?  

It means a lot! Getting a team spot basically gave me the only chance I'd ever have to run the marathon as I work too many weekends to effectively do 9+1. Furthermore, the fact that I have an NBR spot holds me accountable on those days when even Kiana couldn't convince me to run. If you dream it, you can do it!

5. What do you plan on eating post-marathon? What about the night before?

I will be on an all beer diet after the marathon. If my math is correct, I will need at least 11 standard beers to replete the calories burned. The night before will either be Italian out with NBR friends if I'm feeling it. If I'm not feeling it then we will proudly continue our traditional pre-race Annie's mac & cheese at home on the couch while watching trash TV.

6. What inspires and motivates you to run this year's NYC marathon?

Although I've run this distance before, this will be my first marathon under the NBR banner. Despite not enjoying the training at times, I do overall enjoy the satisfaction that comes from finishing something that's difficult. While cheering for Kiana last year I thought it was amazing that the entire city of New York had a completely different vibe on marathon day. With the cogs of NYC ever moving, it is nice to think that just for one day, even if just for a few hours, the city shuts down for us all to show up and give it our all. I'm looking most forward to that instant catharsis that can only come from running 26.2 miles and not a moment before.

7. In your head, what animal (real or fictional) do you think you most resemble when you're running?

Does Steve Buscemi count as an animal? :(