Josh Merlis: June 2004 Profile of a Runner

by Jess Spatz

State your age, occupation, background, hobbies and other sports/interests

I am 22 years old and a student at SUNY-Albany or the University at Albany as they like to call it. I just graduated with a major in mathematics and a computer science minor and am beginning work on a Master’s degree in secondary school math education. Ironically enough, I’ve had nearly a handful of former HMRRC Presidents and officers as my professors.

I am originally from New Hyde Park in Nassau County, NY, 18 miles east of Manhattan. I graduated from Great Neck South HS in June of 2000, and as of this summer consider myself a permanent resident of Albany…

Besides running, I enjoy biking and camping and would like to get more into swimming, although I currently have trouble swimming one length of a pool. I also like to dance and play the piano.

When and how did you get interested in running?

At three years old, on a track in Bayside Queens just out of diapers…

Nearing his mid-forties, my father was trying to return to formidable shape, so my year younger brother and I often found ourselves with him at the local track on weekends. I didn’t really want to run all that much but I absolutely loved racing. We started attending Sri Chinmoy kids’ races on Sunday mornings and occasionally we’d see people in the weeklong races running the same mile loop over and over.

When I was six, I ran my first 5k race in 26:25, I was dubbed the “runner” by my fellow three and a half feet tall friends, although by most standards I was simply a weekend warrior. Nonetheless, I enjoyed the challenge of longer races and at eleven, I experienced my first wall in the Long Island Half Marathon. My first marathon was in Philadelphia, November 2002.


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