5run8 is 518's Local Podcast for Runners

by Michael "Dino" DeNicola

When I was in elementary school, my friends and I were inspired by Dr. Demento. This was a radio show broadcast every Sunday night for an hour. It featured mock interviews with fictitious and funny characters along with bogus songs that would make fun of what was on the news at the time. (Google Ronnie’s Rap – those who remember the late president Ronald Regan will like this.) Our inspiration encouraged us to make our own radio station that was kind of a spin-off of “Weird Al” Yankovic’s UHF. The show was called W.A.K.O or, simply, wacko radio (never broadcast – only recorded on cassettes for us to enjoy).  As I entered high school I started to run and thus hang with a different crowd and W.A.K.O radio had no place in my life if I wanted a prom date. Therefore, it was put on a shelf to gather dust with other cassettes like Vanilla Ice and MC Hammer.

In 2018, my wife and I moved to Ballston Spa, which is a bit more sparsely populated than Albany. I started listening to music on most of my runs. I then became interested in podcasts -- eventually podcasts featuring other runners, and eventually elite runners. I thought that it was a great way to gather training advice and the training secrets of other people who were trying to improve like I was.

When the pandemic hit in 2020, I was home indefinitely and had more time on my hands than I had ever imagined possible. I thought about resurrecting W.A.K.O radio, but that was voted down by my wife (she told me she would have me assessed – whatever that means). I became inspired again by some podcasts that were put out by Matt Chittim, Ali Feller and Olympian Carrie Tollefson. When I noticed the SENS Fitness podcast interviewed Karen Hughes and Josh Merlis, I thought, “Why not create something special for all runners in the local area?” Our area code of 518 had a nice ring to it, and so “5run8” was born.

Matt Chittim has a commercial for the Anchor app on his podcast. During the seclusion of 2020, I taught myself how to use the app. Since everyone on earth was a prisoner of COVID like I was I figured I would have no problem finding some folks to help me kick it off. I wanted the inaugural episode to be special, so I reach out to Theresa DeLorenzo. To this date, her podcast has the most plays out of all the 5run8 episodes at 259 plays. The app has options to add music, but the choices are limited. One has a lot more freedom on the music end if the exclusive rights are owned in some way. Therefore, I reached out to a very talented former student of mine from when I taught middle school in Albany to see if he would like to donate some music. “Mikey Phin” responded positively and sent me some tracks I could use for the intro and conclusion. The Anchor app is free and can be easily downloaded from the app store. It comes with preloaded sound effects (the bongo drums for example) to help break up the rhythm of an episode. I’ve always wanted to be a radio show host and the year 2020 gave me the time and the tools to make it happen.

The 5run8 podcast is meant to foster a sense of community among runners in the Capital Region. It’s a place where runners can freely share their training and other things pertaining directly and indirectly to the sport. Stay tuned because I am thinking of a few spin-off podcasts. “Legends of 5run8” has a nice ring to it…

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If you should have a suggestion of whom Dino should interview next, click here.

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