Name: Susan Pereles
Self-described age group: 50-54
Residence: Potomac, Md.
Occupation: Director, Field Development, Autism Speaks (creator & race director for July 4 Autism Speaks 5k in Potomac for last 17 years)
Why I run: I run for two primary reasons—because it feels so good when I’m done and it pretty much allows me to eat whatever I want…and I do LOVE to eat!!
When did you get started running: I started running around the age of 13 when I was in 8th grade. My older brother, Mark, got me into the sport. He was a varsity XC and track runner in HS and ran XC for Duke University.
Have you taken a break from running: My big breaks from running have come during my pregnancies which were high risk. However, during my first pregnancy, I ran until my 35th week. Other big breaks have come from injuries and those time periods have been crushing!
Training shoe: Always Asics Nimbus, probably for the last 20 years…and ran in Tigers in HS but with my recent Achilles tendinosis , I’ve switched to Brooks Ghost and alternated with Hoka shoe and having some success.
Coach or training group: My coach & training group is a group of one, my husband, Dan Pereles. We’ve been running together since 1983 and have run most of our races/marathons together. I’ll return to volunteer assistant coaching at Winston Churchill HS this fall after taking a break last fall. This will be my 9th season working with the girls team. Once again, I’ll be training with the girls from August-November.
The hardest race you’ve ever run: I’ve run the Boston Marathon four times but the most difficult was my first in 2002. I took out the first 10 miles in 70 minutes, forgetting that it’s mostly downhill. Initially, I felt great. Then, I paid for the naïve move of a rookie for the next 16.2 miles
Most adventurous decision you’ve made with your running: My husband loves to do triathlons and I’d never done one before. I decided to do the NYC in 2008 and not being a swimmer, this was a HUGE challenge, adding this to my running training schedule. Training for the three elements of the race really added to my running fitness. Made for some interesting results: For my age group-149th after the swim, 79th after the bike, ninth after the run!
Running mentors: My older brother Mark was my first running mentor. I owe my interest in running to him. He ran marathons before it was ever “cool” to do them and he was fast. He was a great long distance runner. Now, unfortunately, he has a son with severe autism and running must take a back seat.
My husband, Dan always inspires me and keeps me focused on the positive when my injuries derail me. He’s been able to get me back to running every single time.
Dave Warren, Assistant Track Coach at Winston Churchill – I’ve had the pleasure of working with Dave for several years and observing him coach the team. I admire how he overcomes his own personal injury but also how patient he is as a coach and how dedicated he is to his own training routines.
My favorite place to run in the D.C. area is: I love running along the Mall downtown or doing the bridge to bridge loop (Memorial Bridge-14th Street). I also enjoy running in Rock Creek Park when it’s closed on the weekends.
Favorite local trail: C & O Canal (along any stretch but we love running at Swaines, Old Anglers, Pennyfield or Violets Locke), or Bethesda Trolley Trail
My best race was: 2004 Chicago Marathon – PR’d J
Favorite local race: Besides the July 4 Autism Speaks 5K in Potomac???
I really enjoy the Bethesda Turkey Chase (or Trot)…we’ve done that one a lot when we have family in town for Thanksgiving. It’s well run and lots of fun. Another small but fun local race is the Bullis Gives Back 5K in May. Great race because they use the school XC course and the race benefits the special needs community. It’s a race that feels really good and I do love a good XC course.
Ideal post-run meal: Anything Italian
Favorite flavor of gel, gu, etc: Triberry Gu
Pet peeve: Don’t really have any but if I had to identify one, it would have to be slower people starting at the front of a race.
Goals: I would love to be healthy again. I have had achilles tendinosis since last May 2016 and have had 2 cortisone shots, PRP, bone marrow aspiration, been booted for several weeks, taken time off etc and am now back, albeit, running very easy. Feels great. I would love to run 1 more marathon with my daughter someday. For now, a 5K or 10K is just fine.
Your advice for a new runner: Just start, be consistent, & don’t set grandiose goals.
Favorite running book: Born to Run
Song in your head during a run: I’m a Jersey girl so we always ran to Bruce – Born to Run, Running on Empty, Ready to Run…
Have you dealt with a major injury: see above, still recovering from a major injury and just coming back…very slowly.
Running quote: “If you fail to prepare, you prepare to fail” Ben Franklin “Love the hill” Coach Pereles’s mantra with girls during XC season
Why is the D.C. area a great place to be a runner: Big running clubs e.g. MCRRC, lots of people run together, lots of great trails and scenic places to run, great weather…