February Runner of the Month: Seth Pompan

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Seth Pompan showed up to his first NBR run in November 2016, the day after that year’s New York City Marathon. Having completed a couple of marathons in 2012 and 2013, he’d caught an itch to attempt another. But he’d only do it if he could train with a group.

Today, Seth loves the sense of community he’s found through NBR. “I love the support we provide each other, because out there on the road, we’re all in the thick of it trying to do our best,” he says. As a kid whose gym teacher once informed his mom that he’d never be able to run a mile, Seth appreciates that the club helps him both attain his running goals and give back to the community through volunteering at races and places like the food bank. “Even though I ran on my own for years, I don’t think I considered myself a ‘runner’ until I joined NBR.” 

Favorite race distance: The half marathon. “It’s a distance that you have to dedicate yourself to training for, but you can still walk to brunch or the bar afterwards. You’ll find me at both most likely.”

Favorite NBR run: Monday Night Easy Run (he’s one of the run leaders). “It was my first run with NBR, and I always like how there’s a mix of experienced runners just looking for a shakeout run and a lot of beginners who are just starting out. Also, our paces are usually pretty conversational, so I treat it as a social run. I also have to make special mention of Saturday Narwhals with the Caboose Crew we formed. I always say I don’t love the actual marathon, but I do enjoy the training, and part of that was hanging out all summer with the 10min/mi group getting into those double-digit long runs.”  

Favorite race: Liverpool Half Marathon. “It was awesome to run down Penny Lane and past Strawberry Fields, by all these places referenced in Beatles songs.” 

Showing off the medal after the Liverpool Half Marathon

Showing off the medal after the Liverpool Half Marathon

Best running memory: “There really is no better memory than finishing your first marathon and realizing you’re allowed to stop moving, but recently there was another time where everything mostly came together.  Two weeks after the Chicago marathon, my friends James, Natalie, Liz and Anthony convinced me over drinks to sign up for the NYC Runs Brooklyn Half as an experiment to see if I could turn slower distance training into speed. Day of the race, I put everything I had into it and ran great until the last 5K which were the hills of Prospect Park. I’m struggling up the big hill, and all of a sudden, Caitlin finds me in the park and starts pacing me.  When I get to the top of the hill, Carrie is there cheering. Literally half a mile from the finish my hamstring locks up, I have to stop and stretch on Caitlin, and hobble to the finish. I missed beating a five year PR by 44 seconds, but it was okay. It was a special experience realizing I had the confidence to push myself, and that my friends and teammates were there for me and had my back.” 

What running’s taught him: “It reinforces the notion that if you put time and effort into something, you’ll see results. I’ve also used running as another way to get out of my comfort zone. Whether it’s a race or a different type of run or distance, there’s always a way to challenge yourself.”  

Favorite post-race food: “There hasn’t been anything better than eating Chicago-style hot dogs after PRing the Chicago Marathon.”  

Favorite piece of running gear: The NBR singlets made for the Naragansett Beer Running Festival. “It has a running beer can on it, which sums up that trip and my running philosophy perfectly.”

Favorite music to get pumped up for a run: LCD Soundsystem. “I grew up playing drums and guitar, so my running playlist is a lot of ‘90s rock to which I subtly (or sometimes not so subtly) air drum or guitar to.”

Favorite pro runner: “I don’t follow the pro scene that much, but I was in Berlin cheering on some NBR friends when Eliud Kipchoge broke the marathon world record. He ran by us in a blur, but you couldn’t not be excited to see him live.”

Favorite running social media account: Peter Ciacca’s Instagram. “I entered NYRR races soon after I started running, and up until a few months ago, he was always the voice going over race instructions before the start gun. I had no idea he was this tatted up former music manager. Now he’s retired, but it’s fun seeing his adventures around the world.”

Advice for running newbies: “Just keep at it and it literally doesn’t matter how fast you get there. It could take a while to get to a groove where you don’t need to stop or to get to your desired pace. You have to allow it to happen over time. Oh, also, don’t forget the body glide. #chafingisreal”

Current running goals: To PR at the NYC Half, go for sub-2 at the Brooklyn Half, and then PR at the Chicago Marathon again in October. “Maybe have some fun, too. I’ve rarely had time or speed goals, but I’ve decided this will be my year to set some ambitious goals for myself.” 

Fun fact: “I grew up a very heavy kid and was not very active. In like 6th grade, my gym teacher gave me a bad grade because I basically couldn’t do laps around the soccer field and said something to my mom like, ‘He’ll never be able to run a mile.’ I always dedicate a mile in my races to him. Living well is the best revenge. Also, full disclosure, I started running just so I could impress a girl who had recently run a marathon. That never worked out, but I obviously kept up with the running.”