NEW BALANCE IS HELPING FOUR AMATEUR RUNNERS REALISE THEIR NYC MARATHON DREAMS — RUN YOUR WAY
Editor’s note: Nima Mirzarazi is one of four amateur runners who New Balance is supporting to run the 2023 TCS New York City Marathon. Tempo is partnering with New Balance as we follow these four aspiring runners to the finish line and beyond. Along the way, we’ll also shine a light on some of the inclusive run crews and communities helping them reach their highest goals.
We're celebrating the message that each person has their own story and their own way of running. Because the only right way to run is your way.
Nima Mirzarazi freely admits he used to hate running. The only time the 26-year-old Sydney media executive would lace up a pair of trainers was to stay fit for soccer. Though he would never call it “soccer”.
“Like a lot of people, I got into running during the lockdown. I was playing football up until that point, and then the season would end. I’d go to a gym here and there. When the pandemic hit, I’d just moved in by myself, so I was going mental.
“I hated running. I would not run three kilometres before lockdown. I was like, ‘No, it’s not for me.’ I preferred team sports, where you can run and not think about it. But then lockdown made me get out there, because just ordering Uber Eats and sitting on the couch wasn’t cutting it. There was no football to combat that anymore, so I started running, and that was how it all started.
“Not that long ago, I’d never even thought about being part of a run club, but here I was travelling with the group and all of us were running together.”
“It” was a rapid immersion in the sport, leading to a connection with, in 2022, the recently established run crew Furies. Nima has since become an integral part of their community.
“One of my friends was there from the beginning, and I was looking for reasons to get back into running. I had a massive lull last year, and I think it was because I was just running by myself.
“My friend was mates with Jesse [Hoole] who runs Furies, and he was like, ‘It’s near work, it’s right after work. Come check it out.’ I think I was there in its second week and there were only six people.”
Furies describe themselves as a bunch of misfits. Their weekly Wednesday evening social runs leave from hip clothing store Supply in Darlinghurst, and they have a monthly radio show featuring a punk and hardcore playlist. Their founder, Hoole, came of age in the skateboarding and punk scenes, and that gritty DIY aesthetic carries over to Furies’ graphic design and Instagram. In short, Furies epitomises the new breed of run crews making the sport relevant to a whole new community of young, creative professionals.
Which is reflected in the diverse group who turn up every week. As Nima says, “You’ve got tattoo artists, you’ve got people from fashion, all these different people from different types of life who are all connected via running, but not even racing. People come there just to run, and that’s been their first experience of it, just because of the community and the vibe.”
Nima is more and more involved with the club. When Hoole was away, he stepped up to host the weekly run. He’s always keen to bring new friends into the fold and plays something of an “energy and vibes” role.
“When we went to Gold Coast Marathon, we went with 12 people. Half of us were doing the marathon and the rest of us, like me, were doing the half. Not that long ago, I’d never even thought about being part of a run club, but here I was travelling with the group and all of us were running together.
“Everyone did well, everyone did PBs, everyone was getting around each other. It was such good energy, and it’s made drastic changes socially for me, not only how I see social scenarios but also personally as well. It’s changed my lifestyle and how I approach things in life.”
“I try to bring positive energy to it – good vibes and having a good time. I think that with whatever we’re doing, even on that trip, I was organising things after the guys had done their big marathon. Where can we go? What can we do? How can we celebrate it? I know everyone’s already tired, but that’s the kind of energy I like to bring to the table.
“I wouldn’t necessarily call myself events manager for the club, but I guess other people might say that! I like to have a plan. If we’re doing something, or going away for something, I like making sure we can celebrate as a club, celebrate as a team.”
Which isn’t to say that Nima is a party boy. If anything, running and the crew are helping him make healthy choices at every step.
“Running has kept me a lot fitter than I’ve ever been. I used to think doing two two-hour sessions of training for football and then a 90-minute game on the weekend was the fittest I’d ever been. Running has made me healthier in many aspects. I mean, getting up early in the morning and getting out for runs, but that’s also led to me making decisions to not go for an unnecessary drink on the weekend and stuff like that. Using my time correctly – I think it’s made me make subconsciously smarter, healthier decisions in my life than I ever would have previously.”
Needless to say, Nima is amped at the prospect of running the New York City Marathon, which will be his debut 42km event.
“It’s crazy. I have a friend who was like, ‘I’ve been trying to get into that for seven, eight years.’ For me, it was never even a consideration, but now I’m on the website and they’ve got the countdown to race day. I’m thinking, ‘Should I get a live digital screen on my wall and watch that every day?!’
“It’s the scale that gets me, reading how big it is. Obviously, you know about the New York marathon, especially when you start running. You know what the best marathons are and what the most exciting ones are. So I’m just trying to imagine how many people will be there, what it would look like. It will probably be the biggest thing I’ve ever been a part of.”
He’s still working out what a good result would mean for him.
“I’d like to do a good time. What that looks like for me, I don’t know. Speaking to the guys who have done marathons, I would love to do a sub-three or under 3:15, judging by how the training goes. I’m hoping that’s possible. From what the guys have been saying, when it comes to your marathon, it’s basically your half pace and then building endurance. They might just be being nice, I don’t know.
“But more than anything, I’m going to enjoy myself. It’s a once in a lifetime moment, and I may never get this experience again. I may never be in that ballot again. So yeah, it’d be cool to get a good time, but to me it’s to just experience it as a whole and soak up the moment.”
“I play football in New Balance, and I’ve run in New Balance shoes my whole life,” Nima says. “I've got wide feet, so their shoes are really comfortable for me. They're the most comfortable shoes I've ever run in or raced in.
“But with New York, the greatest thing is getting me there. I wouldn't even consider putting my name forward for this because I know how hard it is when it comes to qualifying times and things like that. So, the biggest thing is having this opportunity to take me there.”