While he’s been an athlete his entire life, Jason Syman, 39, didn’t really embrace running in his younger days. Now, the father of two is a high school coach (soccer and baseball) and running has evolved from a training practice into a sport of its own. Staying fit has added importance for Syman.
“I really have gotten addicted to running,” says Syman. “My family’s medical history also has a big part of it. My father had a heart attack, his first of two… possibly 3… when he was 45 and had to have triple-bypass. After he recovered, we went for a run together. There was an older couple walking and the guy was clutching a pillow. My father turned to ask if he had open heart and the gentleman said yes. My father lifted his shirt to show him the scar and told him he’ll be OK. I’ll never forget that… my inspiration. I need to stay ahead of the health issues in my family to be there for my kids in the future.”
Jason prefers 5Ks and shorter training runs — just enough to get moving, clear his head and set a benchmark to improve upon with later runs.
“When coaching the high school soccer team, most days, I have them start with a 2 mile run and often I will do the run with them,” explains Jason. “If I don’t run with the team, when I get home, I get in a quick run. Again, part of this is the enjoyment and part of it is staying healthy. I run, for the most part, an 8min/mi. So a quick 2 mile run takes me 16 minutes. Really no excuse not to squeeze that in 3 or 4 times a week.”
“I enjoy 5K’s a lot. Not really ever being “trained” as a runner, it will take me work to really condition for more,” says Syman. “The 5K is one I know I can do at anytime. I also love the Manchester Road Race. Only the Boston Marathon is older in the eastern US. This year is it’s 78th year. It’s a 4.7 mile race on Thanksgiving morning with 15,000 runners. It really is a major event.”
Running has become just one facet of fitness for Jason, who is also an avid hiker, kayaker, cyclist and backpacker. While running is one of his many sports, he is just as competitive with it. And in the future, he has a few goals that he’d like to achieve.
“For a 5K, I would love to break a 7:30/mi pace,” says Jason. “I have been saying for a few years I want to do a marathon by the time I’m 40. I’ll be 40 next Sept. So, I give myself a little under 2 years to do that.”
Like many of us, Jason is a runner that gets enjoyment from the sheer act of movement. While running isn’t the center of his universe, it has found a solid place in the roster of sports this busy dad enjoys on a daily basis.