John and Kari Deer: New Directors of HMRRC Tawasentha XC 5K Summer Series

Questions by Chris Bishop

Do you both like trail running? If so, do you have any favorite races or trails?

Yes, we both like trail running. Kari likes it more than John does. We've done this race (Tawasentha) many times in the past along with the Indian Ladder 15K and the Thacher Park Trail Running Festival in the past. We are more road runners than trail runners but we do enjoy it when we can. It reminds us both of cross country which we both ran in high school and college. As a matter of fact, we met each other on the College of Saint Rose cross country team.

When the HMRRC needed someone to head the Tawasentha XC races, what made you agree?

Well, Ravi reached out to us at one of the Winter Series races and we talked about it and said yes! We've run the race in the past and have always wanted to branch out more into the local running community as more than just racers and coaches. We are both teachers and thought that the summer would be the best time to jump into race directing. We were a little nervous at first because we've never done it before and we had a family vacation planned for the beginning of summer. But we amended our plans and reached out to John Kinicutt and John Parisella and got a LOT of help from them in organizing and getting the race up and running.

How did you get into running? Is this a family pastime?

Kari - I started running in 7th grade for Columbia HS. I ran a little half mile race in sixth grade for field day and won! The next day the coach came to talk to me about joining the team. I was hooked ever since! I ran cross country, indoor and outdoor track for 6 years at Columbia before running cross country at UAlbany. After my freshman season I found out I had chronic compartment syndrome and needed to have surgery on my legs if I ever wanted to run again. So I did! I ran one more cross country season with UAlbany then transferred to the College of Saint Rose and ran cross country for 2 years as well. (They didn't have a track team at that time). My final racing year I became the first woman from Saint Rose to qualify for NCAA Division II Nationals! 
John - I started running competitively in high school at Bishop Maginn. I did a few small races with my dad before that as both my parents were runners. After high school, I ran at the College of Saint Rose. I was not nearly as good as Kari was in high school or college!
Family - Ever since we got to know each other in college, we've been running together. Our kids are runners now although they are too cool and fast to run with us (teenagers, am I right?!). They started running in 2nd grade with Delmar Track and Field, a club that we both now coach, and have run ever since. They are both on the Bethlehem High School teams (girls and boys).

Due to heavy rains this summer, the stream crossing was more adventurous than usual

What are your weekly training schedules in the summer?

We are both teachers, so we love summer training because there is more flexibility! We can get up a little later than during the school year and enjoy longer runs. It can be a struggle in the summer heat, but it beats running super early in the dark. We are typically training for a fall marathon during the summer, so we like to log the miles. We almost always do the Firecracker 4 and the Boilermaker so our marathon training usually starts after that. We jump into some summer races just for fun and have run Tawasentha many times in the past as part of our fun summer runs.

Do you belong to a running club other than the HMRRC?

Kari is a member of Willow Street Athletic Club and is one of the captains. John is a member of the Wild Rovers Racing Team. We are both members and on the board for USATF Adirondack. We both coach Delmar Track and Field and modified cross country and track and field for Bethlehem.

What advice do you give to those who want to try trail running?

Trail running is so much fun! Always look down, laugh at yourself when you fall, try to get as muddy as possible, and don't expect the same pace as a road race. We're not experts in trail running but enjoy doing it as a break from road racing. Everyone should give it a try!

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