Member Spotlight Monday: James Neaylon

Member Spotlight Monday: James Neaylon

Q: How long have you been a runner?

James: About 6-7 years now. In middle school and early high school I dabbled with running/triathlon for very brief periods although I was never a good endurance athlete. After that, I did a lot of running on my high school lacrosse team. I basically took a good +20 year break from any type running due to bouts of drinking, gluttony, smoking, with endurance exercise being for other “strange people.” Now I’m one of those strange people.

Q: Why did you start running?

James: Short answer, was overweight and out of shape for far too long. Long Answer:

My inspirations were from my Uncle who did marathons and triathlons in the mid/late-80’s when it was still cotton and iPod free. At that time I also once every year found myself captivated by the TV coverage of the Hawaii Ironman race. I found all the athletes (fast and less fast), their stories, and the challenge itself totally awe-inspiring. Much later I found inspiration from ole buddies who had received the running bug (to various degrees, even if briefly) who showed that our old habits could be dropped and better ones adopted.

My motivations were that by early 2012 I’d been smoke-free 3 years and I felt it time to try out some refurbished lungs. However, I also grew to 220lbs and had developed 250 cholesterol at 34 years young and my doctor hot on my case. Yikes. My illusion as a slightly overweight ex-athlete on extended exercise-free holiday finally was officially done when put in the “obese category”. I reevaluated that maybe the slow 15-year slide down physical mediocrity wasn’t as fated and natural as I once thought.

As a result of those motivators in early ’12 I did one of the many walk/run programs from the internet and after some initial hiccups, 3 months later and 30lbs lighter, I ran 4miles straight for the first time one late autumn night. I was pretty blown-away at that and I remember it as well as any of race I’ve ever done. It was that night I first ran 4miles I think I was “hooked” and I didn’t want to lose that capability again anytime soon.

The next spring I bought a cheap bike and a swim pass to see how far I could go with this new found endurance thing…

Q: How did you find BWRC and why did you join?

James: I think it was through a Strava search or Instagram. It was by far the most worthwhile social media ball to bounce my way. It was this February and I was looking for some good peeps to run with during my marathon training and where I didn’t have to travel so far. I went to Nickol Knoll on a cold Tuesday night and immediately there was a nice size group which was welcoming. I knew I’d be back.

Q: Why do you run?

James: To see what my ceiling is when I consistently put in the time and miles. Also to eat and drink without the fuss originally (and still). Now it’s as much if not more the camaraderie and the friendships. It has also added consistency and dependability to my life. I am left feeling healthy, productive, and fortunate after workouts. For me, running gets more fulfilling the longer you do it.

Q: Do you have any upcoming races or goals we should know about?

James: Biking and running as much as I can before it gets cold again! Nothing concrete for the fall though I’m mulling a number of options. Maybe I’ll focus on some shorter races (5k/13.1) which I’ve never really done. Whatever run or bike races I do I would like to hopefully go a bit farther or faster doing them. More important than that is I want to enjoy the process in the attempt and hang out with awesome people along the way, which I happily am.

Q: What does BWRC mean to you?

James: Support. Solidarity. Dedication. Friendship. It’s fun to see mates also achieve their goals given the hard work they put in to get there. The crew is awesome, dedicated, no-fuss, and very supportive. These are amazing attributegiven how large the group is; great runners and better people.

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