One of the things I love most about running is meeting and being inspired by other runners. Meet Pete Hynd, who has made an incredible journey over the past few years. Pete overcame addiction to become an accomplished runner and an all around inspiring guy, finishing the NYC Marathon this past November and raising an impressive $4,633.00 for the Melanoma Foundation. Here is the transcripts from our online chat:
Run Beet: First, tell us a little bit about yourself, where you’re from, what you do?
Pete: I was born and raised in Peabody, MA. However , I have lived in Plaistow, NH for the last 4 years, after 10 years in Haverhill, MA. I’ve been married 12 1/2 years, no kids, 3 dogs, two cats and a horse (well it’s my wife’s horse!).
I work for EBSCO Information Services and will be coming up on 22 years! It was my only job right out of college so I’m real fortunate and grateful. I’ve held various positions but for the last 6 1/2 years I have been a Lead Software as a Service Operations Specialist setting up customer’s single sign on authentication services to our on-line products amongst various other lead type duties.
Run Beet: I should mention for our readers that this is how we met. I worked for EBSCO for two years while I was getting my MLIS. So, Pete, what got you into running? Was it a gradual decision or a sudden inspiration?
Pete: It was more a gradual decision. Long story short, I battled alcoholism for a good part of my 30’s until enough was enough and got sober at 36 on February 15, 2008 with a lot of help. So basically for the next two years after that was just getting used to not drinking and handling any and all circumstances without reaching for the bottle.
Once I started getting my feet and mind more stable in that regard, I started to get the urge to do something, anything that was physical. In my younger days I played sports and was pretty athletic. I loved to be physically and mentally challenged. I also went to a Military college so I wanted to start living up to that standard as well. Through one of my college friends, he suggested to just shoot for a 5k and keyed me in to the Couch to 5k three month program.
Run Beet: Congratulations on 8 years sober TODAY! How was it the first 6 months of running? What was your first race like?
Pete: I will always remember that first workout, I could barely run a 1/4 mile but I felt alive after! For the first time in a long time, I felt alive! So I continued to grind out that program and on Thanksgiving day of 2010 I ran my very first 5k. It was tough but so amazing! It showed me you can overcome anything. I was hooked!
So after that I just kept running and running kind of like Forrest Gump! 5ks led to 5 miles which lead to 10ks then 10 miles and onto my first Half marathon in 2012. I kept running. Then I did a Spartan endurance Sprint at Fenway Park in November 2014 which was over 3 miles and 20 plus obstacles. That upped the ante but I finished!
Then last February I did a military style endurance team challenge called GoRuck tough which is run by some of our finest special forces operators. That was over 15 hours overnight in Boston. This one really put me to the test and I had to rely on my team-mates to get me through. The feeling when this one was over was unbelievable. It really proved I could go to a certain mental and physical place and push through. Then came the NYC marathon this past November 1st! 26.2 miles!
Run Beet: What keeps you motivated? Do you ever struggle with motivation?
Pete: I think the biggest thing that keeps me motivated is that I kind of know what rock bottom is so anything I do running/endurance wise, while that can be tough at times, nothing was harder than getting sober.
Because of my recovery I now have the good fortune of giving back whether its visiting Alcohol and Drug Detox/Rehab hospitals, jails or other recovery groups to share my story. I found that by sharing my story it gives hope to some of the hopeless and who are battling just like I did. That they can overcome their struggles and succeed. That’s enough to keep me motivated. I still have good and bad days training but I don’t think I have ever struggled since I started this with motivation.
Run Beet: I love that you are so open about your story. Nothing helps someone struggling more than to know that there is a legit path OUT. On that note, let’s go back to a previous comment… You just ran the New York City Marathon! How amazing was THAT?
Pete: I can’t even do justice how amazing this was. It was epic and emotional. It was like I finally arrived to the big leagues. Actually, a guy I was sitting next to on the bus on our way to the start line said, “Welcome to the big leagues!” to me when I told him this was my first marathon. To have millions of people screaming your name while you run by was absolutely incredible. It made all the hard work worthwhile and made me thirsty for more! Anything is possible now! But I think the biggest satisfaction and joy I got was seeing all my friends and family get excited for it and for me. They all followed me on the marathon app and I felt them the whole way!
Run Beet: I know! I was one of those people! It was amazing to watch. My husband (a non runner) was totally baffled. Side topic, you’re the most awesome dog owner I have ever seen. Your dogs are literally in dog heaven. Do you train with them a lot?
Pete: HAHA! My dogs love to run/walk/hike, being Australian Shepherds. They come along for training runs every now and then. We just welcomed a new puppy into the mix so I am thinking about starting from scratch with him to be a legit training dog with me. That would be fun!
Run Beet: I completely agree. He is adorable. Also, training would be very fun! What are your running goals for 2016 and beyond?
Pete: Right now I’m preparing for a half marathon March 6 and a 26.2 mile Tough Ruck trail hike/walk on April 16. We have 9 hours to complete it. That should be fun because a couple good friends will be doing it with me. Its to support various veteran organizations but the team I am on is to help raise awareness on veteran suicides. There are just way too many. 22 a month which is really sad. After that, I will be targeting another marathon in 2017! I would really love to improve my time!