Meet Our Runners


                                Josh and Michelle

Josh Merlis

Why do you run? 

In simple terms, I run because it makes me happy. Not every moment is pure bliss, but on the whole, the ability to run reaps never-ending rewards and joy. 

What runner inspires you?

My wife, Michelle. She embodies, in the truest sense, what it means to be dedicated to one's running. She does all the "little things" to be the best she can be, and I am lucky to have that example set for me on a daily basis.

What was your worst run?

This certainly makes me think, as there's so many ways to categorize it. I suppose one of my worst runs was when I had to drop out of running across the Grand Canyon in 2007. What made it the worst is that I had no ID, no cell phone, barely any clothes on, and only a few dollars. Due to the logistics of my trip, I ended up having to hitchhike from the south rim of the Grand Canyon to Las Vegas. It turned into perhaps the craziest 30 hours of my life - so while the running part was really bad, it also was among the most amazingly raw and visceral experiences of my life - namely being homeless and broke in Vegas for a day, covered in the dirt and sweat of 30 hot July miles.

What was your best run?  

That same run. ;) Actually, it would probably be when, 8 years later, I was able to fully do that run again, Rim-to-Rim-to-Rim of the Grand Canyon. Michelle and I did it in October of 2015. It was a much cooler day and a far more enjoyable experience.

What race is #1 on your bucket list?

Any, at this point.

What shoes do you train in and race in?

I train in the New Balance 1080s. I race in the Adidas Boston

What is your fastest mile?

My fastest mile is 4:40.

Any race day charms or rituals?

I do have a series of stretches that I primarily only do before a race, but otherwise, if it's a marathon or longer, I do like to make sure that I really really take care of any bathroom needs before the start. :)

What was the strangest thing you saw on the side of the road while running?

What a question! Gosh, it tickles my brain in that I know I've seen some crazy things - I recall that feeling- but I can't recall the cause! One memory I have, which probably doesn't fall into "strangest" but was pretty neat, occurred at the 1996 Run for Peace, a 20 mile run from the original United Nations building in Lake Success to the permanent one in Manhattan. I joined dozens of others for the run, which brought together people from numerous countries, all running the entire 20 miles holding a mini-flag in their hand. A few miles into the run, we passed a McDonalds, with a stray ball in the gutter from the kids’ playground "ball pit." Our group, for which there wasn't all that much conversation, began to kick the ball to keep it going with us. Without saying a word, we worked together to continue its forward roll for at least a mile. Everyone became invested in ensuring that it stayed with us, as though its continued presence was tacit encouragement and support of the entire purpose of the run in the first place. While not strange, it definitely was memorable how a "stupid little ball" that otherwise would have immediately been thrown out became a symbol of teamwork.

Is there a snack you crave after runs?

Any run/race over 30K deserves a Chipwich as a post-run reward.

Article on Josh’s wife Michelle in ImmersionPT


                            Dallas with his wife Kristin

Dallas DeVries

Why do you run?

There are almost too many reasons to list. I love the physical & mental challenges it can provide with races and other goals.  I love exploring new places (heatmapping).  I love the social aspect of running with existing friends and meeting new ones.  I love being able to eat what I want.   I love enjoying nature (trail running). I love staying fit.

What runner inspires you?

No specific runner inspires me. I love seeing what my friends accomplish though.

What was your worst run?

I ran a 5-hour Marine Corp Marathon with pretty much no training when I was younger. I did everything wrong and I was a complete mess during and after. Even on the long car ride back my legs spasmed so bad I had to have my brother pull over.

What was your best run?

I was on vacation in London and basically did a sight-seeing tour by doing a 15-mile-long run. It happened to be a holiday there, so the streets were largely clear of cars and it was an awesome way to see the landmarks of the city.

What race is #1 on your bucket list?

Honestly, I don't have a bucket list race. It might be neat to do a race overseas, but I don't have my mind set on anything in particular.

What shoes do you train in and race in?

Brooks Ghost

What is your fastest mile?

5:24

Any race day charms or rituals?

I'm usually not very stressed on race day. No real rituals, for 5k's I usually run the course before and after as a warmup/cooldown and chance to see what I got myself into.

21-DallasHMFinal.jpgWhat was the strangest thing you saw on the side of the road while running?

I saw a horse and buggy carriage at the end of a road in Guilderland, Every Single Street in the Capital District and I saw a dying fawn on the side of a trail in Schenectady.   I called a ranger who came and sadly had to put it down.

Is there a snack you crave after runs?

Chipotle after a marathon


Shelby Sayre

Why do you run?

Running clears my head and gives me a feeling of accomplishment regardless of what else happens in my day.

What runner inspires you?

I love Des Linden and Amelia Boone. Both runners are unapologetically themselves and focus on the process. I love Des's quote “'Keep showing up.”

What was your worst run?

My worst run was the second time I ran the Palio in Saratoga. I went out way too fast on a hot day and had to death march into the final miles. There is a picture of me slouched on the sidewalk afterwards, looking like “what just happened?”

What was your best run?

Running on the beach first thing in the morning on Dewey Beach in Delaware is heaven. Dolphins. Ocean water. What could be better?

What race is #1 on your bucket list?

I would love to run the NYC marathon if I could have a race concierge guide me through the whole process. The logistics of a race like that would terrify me.

What shoes do you train in and race in?

I buy the cheapest ASICS on Amazon I can find!

What is your fastest mile?

7:15

Any race day charms or rituals?

Whatever race I run I make sure I have a killer post-race meal planned!

What was the strangest thing you saw on the side of the road while running?

I think I would have to say a full bottle of Tito's Vodka!  Might have picked it up if I wasn't 10 miles from home!

Is there a snack you crave after runs?

Peanut butter pretzels and Diet Coke make everything better.


Stephen Hallgren

Why do you run?

I originally started running to stay in shape, but it morphed into an obsession. I run for competition, fun, fitness, and friends!

What runner inspires you?

There are two friends and local runners that have really inspired me over the past few years, Jon Hentrich and Gideon Oyibo. Jon got me into racing my first two marathons and Gideon introduced me to what formal coaching and running with others could look like. Both of these events have really leveled up my love and fitness for running and the community surrounding it.

What was your worst run?

I’d put my first marathon as my worst run. I was unsure about my pacing, but I had put in a good 13-14 miles at a pace that I thought was working for me. The only issue is that shortly after the halfway mark there were a couple tiny, but very steep hills. I ran down these hills FAST, because why not? Within a mile or two of bombing those hills, I felt the side of my knee tightening up a bit. I was a bit annoyed by this development, but I was determined to push through. At around the 18-19 mile mark the tightness in my knee turned to pain, nothing that I couldn’t push through I told myself. Well I was severely wrong, and the pain became so excruciating that it was impossible to run. Around this time, it started to rain. I ended up walking close to 6 miles, in the rain, wishing to put an end to my misery, but determined to finish regardless.

What was your best run?

I ran a 50-mile ultramarathon last year, and while it was the most brutal thing I’ve ever put my body through, the pride that I feel for that accomplishment is beyond words.

What race is #1 on your bucket list?

I’m all about the experience and adventure of the race. I don’t have a particular race that I want to accomplish at all costs, but I would love to run a West Coast ultramarathon and turn the journey into a more epic adventure.

What shoes do you train in and race in?

I used to exclusively train in the ASICS GT-X000 shoes because I’m frugal and I could buy them cheap. I started experiencing heel issues earlier this year and ended up switching my normal training shoe to the Adidas Ultraboost 19. I also have a pair of Nike Zoom Pegasus Turbo 2 that I use for speed training and road races.

What is your fastest mile?

I don’t know the answer to this question. I’ve never tried to run a single mile as fast as I can.

Any race day charms or rituals?

I start my morning pre-race ritual off with a bowl of steel cut oats mixed with peanut butter, brown sugar and dried cherries. I also have a cup of coffee on the side. I’ve never had a “lucky charm” for races, but I did realize that I always run with a hat on my head. I don’t recall when this became a habit but running without one feel as strange as running without shoes.

What was the strangest thing you saw on the side of the road while running?

Something that I experienced once, but still very much remember, was getting hit on and then chased after by a drunk woman. I have no idea why I felt afraid, but I definitely cranked up the pace and outran her. This was while I was out running in the early morning.

Is there a snack you crave after runs?

I don’t like eating solid food immediately after runs, but find I crave anything fruity and sweet.


                  Shannon with Frank Woods

Why do you run?

Because I love it. It keeps me healthy, fit, and allows me to decompress and or escape from daily stressors.

What runner inspires you?

All runners do honestly. Runners are very diversified.

What was your worst run?

Probably my first Ragnar, where it was raining and cold the entire time. My bones were cold. Everything was wet.

What was your best run?

Another one of my Ragnar’s

What race is #1 on your bucket list?

Disney marathon

What shoes do you train in and race in?

Varies. Mostly brooks for training. Nike for some racing.

What is your fastest mile?

6:24

Any race day charms or rituals?

I eat a homemade banana oatmeal protein muffin the night before and morning of the race.

What was the strangest thing you saw on the side of the road while running?

As I ran by, I had an older man in a cervical collar bark at me!

Is there a snack you crave after runs?

No. Honestly most of the time I’m not hungry for many hours after a run but I will often replenish with a protein shake.


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