Ben Amsler | New York | Runner
I always have my eyes open for any running or outdoor adventures going on. So, I was really excited when I stumbled across the post from Tanglewood Nature Center introducing Run For The Hills! Even better than that was reading about a fellow runner that was excited about the same trails I was and was trying to make an impact to help support our local nature center through Ben’s Long Run.
I am not the kind of person that finds it easy to meet new people or is comfortable meeting new people. But, there is always something a little special about meeting a fellow runner. You know that no matter your experiences in running there will always be something to connect with each other through.
I immediately reached out to connect and see if I could get involved in some way. I’ve spent most of this month writing about Tanglewood and trying to help support them. Staff at Tanglewood also connected me with Ben.
Ben’s Running Story
Ben has a similar story to many runners. As in was not really a runner early in life. He started to do some running in college at West Point but only did what he really had to. His focus was on weight lifting. This was his story of running throughout his time in the Army. His longest run was a very slow 10 miles.
Turns out Ben had friends like many of us runners do where we all decide to do something dumb. For him it was the Nashville marathon. In his last year in the Army a group of fellow officers all decided to run it. A terrible idea, Ben notes. Like many of us in our first events, Ben didn’t train much and didn’t put any thought into race strategy. How many of you out there can relate? Ben ran the first half of the marathon in 1:30 and the second half in 2:29.
After that experience Ben swore off running forever. Once again I think many of us can relate to this. How many times have you sworn off running?
Six months after vowing never to run again, Ben had his interest in running rekindled by reading Born To Run. (That book seems to do it to everyone. I have a copy on my shelf.) After leaving the Army and starting grad school Ben read Ultra Marathon Man. Ben knew that was the path for him. He ran 3-4 marathons and one 50k in 2 years.
After grad school Ben took on his first 100 mile race. He finished despite having to walk the last 30 miles and being disappointed with his time. Even after a 100 mile finish he still didn’t really feel like a runner.
2019 shifted things into a whole new gear for Ben. He started running a lot. Ben also added in biking and swimming, and did them a lot. Ben conquered his second 100 mile race. Now he felt more like a real runner.
Now Ben runs every day.
Questions and Answers
Q: Do you prefer roads or trails?
A: My answer has changed over time. Currently I am at a 50/50 split. I enjoy both and both serve a different purpose. If you made me pick, I would pick trails!
Q: What do you like most about running?
A: Running serves multiple purposes for me. First, it provides a daily reset. After a good long run my head is clear, my body loose/warm, and I am mentally ready to take on the world. Second, I believe that it is important to do something difficult every day. If I complete a 10 mile run in the morning prior to the sun rising then I have already won that day. Anything after that is icing on the cake. Running gets you outside and active, you can do it anywhere, it is the best way to explore new areas, and is an awesome way to meet other people on their own running journey.
Q: Do you run alone or with others?
A: For the last 2 years I have run with a partner every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Other than those three days I run alone. I enjoy both.
Q: Do you listen to music while you run?
A: I have tried everything. Early on I needed music to keep me going. Now I prefer audible books and podcasts.
Q: Where are some of your favorite places to run?
A: I currently spend a lot of time running on Steege Hill. I enjoy the roads and the trails. I also really enjoy getting out in Oil Creek State Park when I am visiting NW PA. My running journey started on the Mountains to Seas Trail in NC where I logged hundreds of miles. I would love to get back on there!
Q: What is your favorite type of running event to participate in?
A: I prefer any and all trail races. Trial races have a different feel than road races. Especially races that are over extreme terrain or in extreme weather. There is a shared comradery and people will bend over backwards to help each other. One of my favorite races over the past two years has been the “Frozen Snot”. Very cold, lots of elevation, and filled with lots of crazy people!
Q: It was noted you ran the Oil Creek 100, How many 100 mile races have you run?
A: I have run one 30 mile race and two 100 mile races. I also tried a triathlon last year as a way to cross train for Oil Creek.
Q: What shoes do you run in most?
A: I am not loyal to any brand or type of shoe. I really enjoy Hoka’s for both road and trail.
For Ben’s Long Run, Ben will be running 1 lap of the Red Trail for every $500 donated.
Currently the donation total is at $3,300 which would send Ben out to run 6 laps of the Red Trail and 18 miles. This is great, but lets see if we can’t get been out there to run more miles by donating more to support all the hard work that the staff at Tanglewood puts in for our community. It would be great to see him running 100 miles on the Red Trail.
Support everything Tanglewood has to offer through Run For The Hills! or Ben’s Long Run.
If you enjoy nature and want to see more of my experiences and adventures with nature sign up below to connect and share in the fun. Join my email list. Join my email list.