Meet Our Runners ...

by HMRRC Members

This is the first in a column that will let you know more about the members of our running community who you see plying the streets and trails of the Albany area and running in races locally, nationally and globally. We will interview 5 people each month and hope you enjoy their varied responses.

Michelle Merlis

Why do you run? I run because I love the way it allows me to explore the world on my own two feet. And day-to-day, I think it makes me the best version of myself.

What runner inspires you? Clare Gallagher

What was your worst run? I guess the one where I pulled my hamstring and had to get an Uber back home; which until that moment was one of my best runs ever.

What was your best run? Rim to Rim to Rim in 2015 was amazing

What race are you currently training for? I'll run a bunch of races along the way, but my goal race for the year is the Superior 50 Miler

What race is #1 on your bucket list? Western States

                                                   Joe on left with friends


Joe Sullivan

Why do I run?

Running is my therapy. Life is always clearer after a run.

What runner inspires me?

Des Linden because her methodical approach to training and racing is what makes her so successful.

What was your worst run?

The Whiteface Uphill Footrace. My first attempt was the morning after a double-header baseball game. I crawled to a stop and had to get a ride to the top.

What was your Best Run?

My best run was The Boston Marathon 2014. The year after the bombings, the city showed that they were Boston strong. It was impossible to have a bad run that year, regardless of finishing time or place.

What race are you currently training for?

Currently training for Boston and Ironman Lake Placid.

What race is #1 on your bucket list?

The Barkley Marathons. It is such a crazy and unique race that I find myself drawn to it.

Kristen Garzone

Why do you run? Running has become my anchor and is a form of therapy for me; at the best times and through some of the hardest times. It has helped me through anxiety-stricken days and has taught me to never give up; reminding me to keep putting one foot in front of the other. It’s my therapy, it’s my constant, and it’s the one thing I have control of; it’s always there for me.

What runner inspires you? Allie Kieffer! She is SO real and I love her passion. After being able to spend some time with her at the 2018 Freihofer's Run for Women, she has been someone I really look up to.

What was your worst run? Maine Coast Marathon 2019 -- after the strongest training cycle yet, I almost dropped out at mile 7! Instead, I ran/walked the marathon and focused on just finishing and remembering the funds I raised for Every Mother Counts leading up to that race.

What was your best run? Wineglass Marathon 2018 where I had a 10+ min PR and finished with my current marathon PR of 4:05. I ran strong, felt untouchable, and felt free; it was all of a sudden attainable to me that I could run FAST for the marathon distance.

What race are you currently training for? New Jersey Half Marathon in the Spring before Chicago Marathon with Every Mother Counts this fall.

What race is #1 on your bucket list? London Marathon

John Kinnicut

Why do you run?

Why doesn't everybody run?

What runner inspires you?

Anyone that sets a goal, develops and sticks to a plan, and achieves the desired results.

What was your worst run?

My last HS XC race. I should have easily qualified for States but had strep throat. Ended up finishing last.

What was your best run?

2006 Boilermaker. Broke my foot 4.5 miles in. Walked to the finish with Bill Rogers :-) 

What race are you currently training for?

I don't train, I just run

What race is #1 on your bucket list?

No single race is on a bucket list. But I would like to complete a marathon in every state. I'm currently at 35.

Kristen Hislop

Why do you run?

I started running because I could not afford a health club membership in NYC post college to swim. I keep running for the health, mental well being and competitive opportunities.

What runner inspires you? That's easy my boys! I love that they now share one of my passions. Their commitment and dedication is inspiring.

What was your worst run? Wow - that is tough. I've had lots of crappy runs, but then there is always something good inside of each.

What was your best run? One was definitely the Good Karma 5K a couple of years ago where Alex was the first guy and I was the first woman. That was pretty special. I have a great memory of Wineglass marathon yelling to my boys and husband that I would never do another marathon and not to let me sign up again! I cramped up at the end and they were there to help and listen to me bitch and moan. None of them complained when I signed up for Boston after hitting the mark! I had no expectations for that Boston run and it was so fun, so that would be another that ranks up high. I swore off marathons after that.

What race are you currently training for? After I swore off marathons I got into NYC off a qualifying time, so went and had a blast with friends. Managed to hit my Boston time again, so will be there. Printing this might just get me serious about the training!

What race is #1 on your bucket list? There are a lot of races around the country that I would love to do. Not sure I have a number 1 right now.

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