I have an embarrassing confession to make. I don’t know Nate Birtwell. Well, I don’t know him yet. Nate, I will find you at the next Wednesday night run & I will befriend you. But in the meantime, I got a little help with this post from someone who not only knows Nate, but holds him near & dear to her heart, Season Kaminski.
Nate & Season ran basically every run together for about a year & a half. Then, unfortunately, they traded tit for tat with very swollen, bruised, & in Season’s case, broken ankles for most of early 2012. In fact, Nate conquered the Death Valley Trail Marathon last year with a taped ankle. And y’all, he didn’t just run a marathon on a taped ankle. He ran up a 9 mile, 5250 foot MOUNTAIN on a taped ankle. Respect.
Nate grew up in Rhode Island & played baseball at East Providence High School. Nate was also a member of the track team, but shirks off any early running prowess by assuring us that he didn’t run, but instead, was a marginal shot putter & weight thrower. Noted.
Nate graduated from Penn State University in 2003 with a degree in telecommunications, then went on to graduate school at the University of Massachusetts, earning a master’s degree in sport management in 2004. While in Amherst, he co-founded and served as an advisor and assistant coach for the UMass Baseball Club.
Nate started running in 2009. He had lost a bunch weight & gotten himself in decent shape, mostly through P90X, but also by mixing in a mile or so run from time to time. When he was home for Thanksgiving, a friend talked him into running a local turkey trot. It was Nate’s first race & the first time he’d ever run 3 miles. It seemed like a big deal at the time & it’s when he really caught the running bug.
Nate moved to Nashville in November of 2011 & start running with East Nasty. When asked how he found out about our little running group, he said that via the powers of Google, he looked to see what was around in Nashville & found out about a Sunday morning East Nasty run & showed up. (Thanks, internet!)
Nate has lived in Nashville for about two & a half years. He is an area scout for the Arizona Diamondbacks He covers Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio & Michigan. In short, he’s responsible for evaluating amateur (college, junior college & high school) players for the MLB draft each June.
Mad props aside for running up a mountain with an injury, Nate refuses to brush his shoulders off about his running accomplishments & quips, “I don’t really know that I’ve ‘accomplished’ much of anything”. Okay, Nate. Whatever.
Nate does however, give me a list of races that he’s proud of running. His first half was the 2011 Country Music Half. Actually, in 2011, Nate ran his first 5 miler, 10k, 15k, half, full (Memphis), sprint tri & Ragnar. He didn’t race as much in 2012, aside from the aforementioned Death Valley Trail Marathon, which he describes as “a unique experience”. Nate has done Ragnar the last two years & says that it’s easily the most fun event of the year for him.
Season says, “He may look scary, since he’s got the scout scowl down pat, but this guy is one of my very favorite people and one of the best listeners and friends I’ve ever had the pleasure on spending time with.”
Nate, welcome to the ENOW club! We’re lucky to have you & hope you stick around for a long time. Congratulations!