Despite some occasional flurries, spring is finally here. Sunshine and warming temperatures are on their way to Rockland County. It’s the time of year when many individuals are motivated to wake up and go outside for a run.

For some people, seeing the light is not so easy. Several factors, whether they are time constraints or health issues, limit an individual’s ability to be active. Motivation takes a lot of personal drive and discipline. Sometimes, an individual needs to hit rock bottom or be encouraged by others to get active and stay active.

As our spring races approach, we are launching our “Members on the Run” blog series. Over the next four weeks, we will share stories from our members about how they overcame unique struggles to earn the title of “runner.” We hope their stories fuel strength in those who may be experiencing similar challenges. We hope their stories show it is possible for anyone to start running and witness the benefits of it.

Our third member story comes from Pam Mullen-Vinci, who is inspired by her father who took up running at a later stage in life.

Pam Mullen-Vinci

Pam Mullen-Vinci

Age: 50
What prompted you to start running?
The question is who prompted me to start running and the answer is my dad. He was an avid runner who started running around my age. He ran over 55 races and logged his times for all of them! Although I can’t beat his times, he inspires me. I will never forget watching him run the New York City Marathon in 1979. He recently turned 80 and hopefully one day he can watch me do the same.

How did you start running?
My first race was the Bill Fortune 10K Run & 5K Run/Walk in 2014. Bill Fortune was the father of my best friend. It was an honor to run in his race. I never imagined that his race would be the beginning of my running career. Soon after it, I ran the Turkey Trot. After completing over a dozen 5Ks, I am now able to run 10Ks.

Describe your regular workout routine.
I usually will run three to four times a week. Saturday mornings are spent with my friends running around at Rockland Lake. We have been increasing our distance each weekend.

What was the biggest hurdle to running and how did you get over it?
At the age of 22, I had a benign brain tumor. Although it was successfully removed, it left me with hearing loss and minor disabilities. I don’t view it as a loss, but as a second chance in life. That inspired me and I went on to receive my master’s degree at New York University.

Today, my hurdles are finding the time, raising four kids and working two jobs. I make the time to get my runs in each week. The physical benefits of running that I’ve seen have made it worth it. I have more energy and feel great.

What is the most rewarding part of your running life?
Inspiring my children. Seeing my family at the finish line. Also, spending time with my friends and motivating each other to finish each race is an accomplishment that is rewarding in itself.

What advice would you give to a beginner or someone just starting out?
Start slowly. I started by just walking. I added a little run in between and soon enough my walk turned into a 5K. Also, eating healthy should be a very big part of your life. I am a registered dietitian. Eating a balanced diet always came easy to me. Adding the exercise into my routine was the part I was missing.

What are your favorite motivational quotes or ways to motivate yourself?
The only person you need to be better than is the person you were yesterday!

What is your favorite piece of gear?
I love my music and my running apps. My running apps allows me to compare my times and track all my runs. Also, I love sporting my Rockland Road Runners’ tank top!

What is your long-term goal?
I want to complete a half marathon.* Who knows, maybe I will run the New York City Marathon one day! I want to continue on this journey of running for as long as I can!

*Pam completed her first half marathon at the George Wodicka Hook Mountain Half Marathon, which took place on Sunday April 19, 2015, in 2:47:30. This interview was conducted prior to the race.