Athlete Spotlight

Chris Zuerner

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Not too far off, it’s marathon crusher, Chris Zuerner. Fresh off his 2:34:03 Boston Marathon PR, New York City Marathon, and Charlotte Marathon (Pacing), Chris shares some personal insights that will help you get to know the man behind the speed.

Where are you from? Charlotte, NC.. they call me a unicorn 

Favourite Sports Team? Avid sports guy so I root for the hometown teams. Tottenham fan for those EPL folks out there #goonyouspurs. Former NC State soccer player, always support the Wolfpack 

Hobbies outside of running? Officiate college soccer keeps me super busy in the fall. Hope to get back to traveling/vacationing soon. 

How did you get into running? Natural segue from my college soccer days.

What do you enjoy about running? Sharing miles with friends, constantly pushing myself, chasing goals. Relaxing and a great way to spend time outdoors. 

What does your pre-run routine look like on a normal day? Lace em’ up and get out the door, about that simple (coach gonna be upset I don’t stretch!)

What music/podcasts do you listen to on your run? Spotify for life. Listen to it all. Can’t trust those Pandora peeps. 

What race are you working toward and what is your goal? 2022 Wilmington half marathon and Boston Marathon. Hoping to go sub 2:32 and the 2022 Berlin marathon with the ultimate goal of going sub 2:30. 

What race or performance are you most proud of and why? While the 2021 Boston marathon might be more of an obvious/recent choice (I am super proud of my 2:34 PR), I’d say I’m most proud of the very first marathon I ever ran in Feb 2019 at Hilton Head. With little knowledge of the distance, no formal training plan, and no crowd support, I ran a BQ time of 2:55, which ultimately got me to my first Boston this past October. Something special about tackling a distance for the first time and overcoming that physical and mental challenge. 

Describe your worst race/long run experience? 2019 CLT Racefest Half was by far my worst running experience. Completely fell apart after 6 miles, weather sucked, CMPD officer directed me off course, my worst half I’ve ever run. Was a bad day. You learn from those right?!

Favorite race you’d recommend to others? Any marathon major. Locally, Around the Crown 10k.

The secret to your success? A There’s no short cuts. Put in the work and invest the time and quality into your running and it will pay dividends. Running is as much mental as it is physical so be sure to work on that side of it too. Your attitude determines your latitude!

Any funny/embarrassing stories that involve running? Only one that comes to mind is tripping and falling running down Stonewall on an easy run. My phone flew out of my hand and the front shattered (hello $200 replacement). 

Favorite place/route to run? Rail trail for life. You’ll often find me running tempo work on the Dilworth speed loop. Long runs all over CLT but primarily LSC greenway. 

Favorite Workout? Anything tempo, like to go fast!

What run clubs do you attend? Triple C, Flying Biscuit, NoDa

What’s your shoe of choice for long runs? Nike Pegasus (wore Brooks Adrenaline and New Balance Fresh Foam Beacons in the past)

What’s your shoe of choice for speed work? Nike Pegasus. Nike Vaporfly Next % for races

What’s your meal of choice the night before a big race? Classic pasta with meat sauce and bread 

What’s your fuel of choice the morning of race day? Cliff bar and a little coffee (I perform better on an emptier stomach)

Amount of times you’ll hit snooze before going for an early morning run? What are early morning runs?

Chances of you pausing your watch at a traffic stop to earn more kudos from average pace on Strava? 💯.. who doesn’t??

Guilty habit that you don’t want the coach to know about? Dr Pepper as the dinner beverage of choice the night before a race (and yes I had one the night before Boston!)

What mantra do you use to push you during races or workouts? What a blessing and gift it is to be able to run. 

Often remind myself, ‘I get to’, not ‘I have to’. 

Take advantage of the time you have now, you won’t be able to do this forever. 

Didn’t train for 16 grueling weeks to give out the last two miles!

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