How does a self-described “casual neighborhood runner” become a Six Start World Marathon Majors finisher? Many, many miles, convergence, and the support of friends along the way.
When Nick Pinto set out to run the 2009 Chicago Marathon, his longest run in training was 15.4 miles. He was unprepared for how satisfying an accomplishment crossing the marathon finish line truly would be. From that first finish (in 4:07:40), Nick charted a “bucket list” course through the six races that comprise the Abbott World Marathon Majors: Boston, Berlin, New York, Tokyo, and London, besides our hometown race. It took luck, patience and—bear with us here—staying the course. From subsequent Chicago starts, Nick’s pursuit took him to Boston in 2013, the same year the bombs went off, to Berlin and New York in 2014, Tokyo in 2016, and the completion of his audacious goal in London on April 23, 2017. Of the 18 marathons he has completed, his fastest and personal best was Berlin in 2014 in 3:26:18.
What was your favorite moment?
“While I loved running through all the iconic cities of the circuit, running through the Brandenburg Gate at Berlin’s finish was probably my favorite moment,” Nick says. “To be able to pass through this piece of history was monumental.”
What was the toughest part of your journey?
“I almost didn’t make it to the start line in Boston in 2013. I’d had a lot of knee pain as a result of a meniscus tear and, as a last-ditch effort before the race, my doctor gave me a cortisone shot. It was as if he had sprinkled fairy dust on my knee. Not only did I run the race, I ran it fast enough that I was across the line in 3:48:35, just under 12 minutes before the bombs went off. Many others didn’t finish the race that day.”
What was crucial to your training success?
“Following a training plan incorporating 5-6 days of running as well as cross-training and strength work is key. I also join up with other local runners, especially Bill Latourette and Renee Burke, who are two of my closest friends and also training partners. Knowing I have to meet up with them for early morning runs instead of hitting the snooze on my alarm has helped me to be more consistent with my training.” Nick is also a co-founder of the AMP’D Athletic Association, which is helping many area runners push towards bigger goals.
What’s next on your bucket list?
“When I complete the 2017 Chicago Marathon, I will have run in 100 timed races since 2008—races of all distances,” Nick says. “My longest run was the Des Plaines River Trail 50 miler, which I ran in 8:32:42 in 2012. I’m now working towards running at least a half marathon distance in all every state—I’ve completed 18 so far. I have also qualified for the 2018 Boston Marathon and am hoping to run the New York Marathon one more time in the near future as well.”
What advice or inspiration can you offer to other runners?
“My outlook is ‘can do.’ When I hear someone say ‘I’ll never be able to do that’, my response is simply ‘yes, you can.’ I also feel it’s important to find a running buddy who has similar running goals (whether it’s running just to stay fit and/or races). The support and camaraderie makes the training miles go by so much faster.”
Catch up with Nick Pinto at Saturday AMP’D runs and Wednesday night AMP’D speed workouts.