Q&A with Connecticut Runner Jason Syman

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New Balance and RootsRated have teamed up to profile runners making a difference in their communities. We asked each of our runners a series of questions to learn a little more about what running means to them, where they like to run and what are some of their running goals.

Jason Syman is a busy guy — dad to two boys, high school coach and of course, a runner. RootsRated caught up with him to learn to be manages to keep on running in the midst of a full life!

How did you get involved in running?
I played sports all my life. In high school I played soccer for 4 years, baseball for 2, and track & field for 2.  Running was always part of the conditioning.  I never considered myself a “runner”.  With my family health history, a few years ago I pushed myself to run to “get in (better) shape”.  Now I really enjoy it.

What are your favorite aspects of running?
Hard to say.  I’m competitive, so I’m always trying to beat my time or my pace.  Depending where I run, if it’s a more “country” setting rather then city, it can just be relaxing.

What are some of your favorite events or competitions?
I enjoy 5K’s a lot.  Not really ever being “trained” as a runner, it will take me work to really condition for more.  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.

Do you prefer trail, track or road? Or a combination of them all?
Road when it’s purely for running.  I do some track work, but more as a soccer conditioning.  Have not really run any trails, usually reserve that for hiking, my might try some local ones, including the one Kaynor’s (high school) cross country team uses at Black Rock (a 5K course).

You seem like a busy guy — between coaching, family and sports. How does running fit into such a full schedule?
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. 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.

Future goals for running (events, records, etc?)
For a 5K, I would love to break a 7:30/mi pace.  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.

What keeps you inspired to stay running?
I really have gotten addicted to running.  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.

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