More than 1,000 runners from 26 states, the District of Columbia, and Israel will take part in the Princeton Half Marathon Sunday, Nov. 3. Planet Princeton is running profiles of several runners. The youngest runner is 13. Several “teams” are participating in the race, with the largest being Team U from Princeton University. On race day we will also run event photos, so check back at PlanetPrinceton.com for all the latest half marathon news.
JACQUELYN KOETTING PILLSBURY
Profession: Freelance writer and photographer
Family: Husband and 11 year old daughter
Years Running: 3 1/2
What made you start running? On my 40th birthday I was at Disneyland during half marathon weekend. I started talking to a woman who was there for the race. Although she never met me, she convinced me that I, too, could run a half marathon. Two years later, I ran my first half marathon at Disneyland.
What made you decide to participate in the Princeton Half Marathon this year? I am also running next weekend in Trenton. I wanted the challenge of doing two half marathons so close together, both just a town away.
Running Philosophy: End with enough strength to smile in the finish line photo.
Thoughts on Sunday’s Race: The more I think about the hills, the more I want to finish before they kick me off the course.
Profession: Student at John Witherspoon Middle School
Family: 10 year old brother, Mom and Dad
Years Running: 4
What made you start running? My friend’s Mom made him do a school sport in sixth grade, so I did track with him for fun. I ran the mile and after several meets of doing pretty well, even as a one of the younger runners, I got more and more into distance running.
What made you decide to participate in the Princeton Half Marathon this year? I was going to do it last year, however it was canceled. I want to represent my school in an event where not many people my age would do.
Running Philosophy: If there is gas left in the tank after the race, you’re doing something wrong.
Thoughts on Sunday’s Race: I have been training for a long time and I can’t wait to do well!
Profession: Student, Princeton University, Chemical and Biological Engineering, Class of 2015
Family: Parents-Renita and Mike, Sister Hannah (18)
Years Running: 4
What made you start running? I wanted to be faster than my sister. After meeting that goal, I got hooked.
What made you decide to participate in the Princeton Half Marathon this year? Half marathons are my favorite distance and Princeton is a great place to be! Having more than 70 of my friends from Team U running with me is icing on the cake.
Running Philosophy: It feels good. If it doesn’t, keep going, it will soon.
Thoughts on Sunday’s Race: I’ve run around Princeton for all of my three years going to school here, but I’ve never run a big race here. Looking forward to a great route!
Town: Princeton, NJ
Profession: EVP and Chief Legal Officer at PTC Therapeutics, a life sciences company working on treatments for rare diseases, cancer, and infectious disease.
Family: Wife Kathy Taylor, daughters Ellie, Livia and Grace, two cats, one very large dog.
Years Running: 4 years since I started up again – although I ran track in high school and kept running through my 20s, I had pretty much stopped running regularly by my early 30s.
What made you start running? I was at a café and picked up a copy of Runner’s World. The lead article was “You CAN Start Running Again.” So I did.
What made you decide to participate in the Princeton Half Marathon this year? Elizabeth Casparian (Executive Director of HiTOPS) posted about the 2012 Princeton Half early in that year. I signed up for it because I wanted to challenge myself to run my first half-marathon, and because it was for a good cause. I signed up again this year because the 2012 race was cancelled due to Hurricane Sandy.
Running Philosophy: Outdoors is always better. I run outside year round, usually in the mornings, which means running in the dark, the cold and the wet. As my track coach in high school used to yell at us, “You’re not going to melt!”
Thoughts on Sunday’s Race: I’ve been training on the course, and am really looking forward to running it in the race. It’s beautiful course, and quite challenging in terms of hills. This will be my second half-marathon, and I am hoping to improve my time by at least a couple minutes.
Town: Rocky Hill, NJ
Profession: General Manager, Princeton Record Exchange
Family: Cynthia (spouse)
Years Running: 15
What made you start running? To get fit, physically and, more importantly, mentally.
What made you decide to participate in the Princeton Half Marathon this year? Living, working and playing in the area, I have grown to love its beauty. I felt it would be fun to push myself to a longer distance and join in with others who share my love for running and appreciate what a special place Princeton is.
Running Philosophy: Nothing fancy. I stretch a lot, make sure I have good shoes, and hydrate before heading out. That’s about it. I don’t like to carry anything, and I don’t wear a watch. On very long runs I listen to music (it is one of my other passions of course), but anything under 6 miles or so I just like being out there with nature and my thoughts.
Thoughts on Sunday’s Race: I’m psyched! My training has gone well (fully recovered from a tendon injury in the spring), the weather looks good, and the gorgeous foliage promises a great backdrop for my first half-marathon.
Family: 2 teenage daughters
Years Running: 3
What made you start running? A new challenge trying distance running.
What made you decide to participate in the Princeton Half Marathon this year? I had signed up last year but it got cancelled because of Hurricane Sandy.
Running Philosophy: You can do it. Do not stop!
Thoughts on Sunday’s Race: I know it will be cold, but I hope the sun shines warmly.
Family: Wife: Cheryl, Daughter: Gwyneth, Son: Tristan
Years Running: 10
What made you start running? An 80-year-old former marathoner named Jack Pennington pulled me off a treadmill at the gym one day and said “Son, you’ve got talent! Come to the track tomorrow at 6 a.m.!” The next thing I knew, I was running longer and faster, and looking to qualify eventually for something called the “Boston Marathon”. It took a couple of years, but he got me there – four times. Jack left us recently, but I will keep running.
What made you decide to participate in the Princeton Half Marathon this year? Princeton has needed a race like this for a long time. I couldn’t pass up this opportunity to participate in the inaugural running of an event that will no doubt become a local fixture.
Running Philosophy: Work hard. Give it your best. Have fun.
Thoughts on Sunday’s Race: The course looks fantastic. The organizers have put together a really excellent snapshot of Princeton, including the town itself, some prominent educational institutions, historic sites, and even some woods and trails. I can’t wait to experience it all.