Cadet: Allie Cook
Age: 27 | City: Farmingdale, N.Y.
Allie Cook ran the Long Island Half Marathon this spring, her first half. “It was one of the best experiences I’ve encountered,” she says. “I decided I wanted to run further because I loved the challenge and I loved to see how far I could go.” Allie ran in high school, but became more involved in the sport after college when she started working at the Runner’s Edge running store. “I would always run for fitness,” she says. “But in the past year I have started training and racing longer distances. It just clicked.”
She’s shooting to break four hours in her first marathon—New York City. “Working in the running community and seeing so many people run these distances has made me feel inspired to run that long,” she says “I also love how it makes me feel that I just accomplished something each time I go out for a run and I love the challenge it gives me everyday.”
Vet: Sal Nastasi
Age: 33 | City: Massapequa Park, N.Y.
Sal started running in 9th grade, thanks to an interesting bargain. “I was not the greatest student in the world and always got in a lot of trouble,” he says. “My math teacher happened to be the track coach and made me a deal: I run track, and he’ll make sure I get good grades…I fell in love with the sport and the rest is history.”
For Sal, who ran the Boston Marathon this spring, likes that he can push himself through running. “I am the type of person that needs a constant challenge and is always looking to do better,” he says. “Running gives me opportunity to fill that need every day. Running is also a way of life. I relate everything in my life to my running—the ups and downs of training have always helped me get through some tough times, and also help to keep a level head while things are going well. It’s an amazing thing.”