East Nasty of the Week: Ben Renquist

April 21, 2011

There is an old marathon joke that goes something like this: At the end of his first marathon, a young man was hobbling across the finish line. A grizzled old marathoner looked at the young man and said, “You’ll feel even worse tomorrow.” The old man pauses for a second and then says, “But the bad news is that in 3 months you are going to think you had fun today.”

Now let me tell you what is NOT a joke, Ben Renquist’s time at the Boston Marathon this last Monday. He came across the line at 2:56:55…which is a 6:44 pace!!! For that Ben deserves the honor of being East Nasty of the Week.

Here is a picture of Ben and former ENOW Greg Kyle just after the race.

Ben grew in a super-small town, called Julesburg, located in the northeastern corner of Colorado. He lived the farm boy life there, plowing fields of corn, showing cattle at local and state competitions, and he even gave bull-riding a try for a little while. Despite his wicked speed these days, he did not run track or cross country in high school. In fact, Ben played center in both football and basketball, and he did this even though he was 6’2” and weighed 160 pounds at best.

For college Ben headed to Colorado State, where he focused in Animal Science. His skills in that particular field proved so amazing that he went on to get his masters degree in it at the University of California Davis. It was also at UC Davis that he decided to leave the world of animal husbandry (for a bit) and refocus his academic pursuits towards nutrition, in which he received a Ph.D. That degree led him here to Nashville where he is a Post-doctoral fellow studying the topic of obesity.

In 2005 Ben decided to quit his bad habit of smoking and begin the good habit of running for exercise. His first marathon was the 2009 Country Music Marathon, and since then he has run a variety of races, including the 50K portion of the Nashville Ultra. He came out to East Nasty via the Nashville Striders, who mentioned that he may be able to find a couple of runners there who can keep up with his extremely fast pace. And thus he met Greg Kyle, Jay Seizmore, Kevin Christian and Courtney Terrell, and as a group they began to set fire to the roadways they ran on, which led him to qualify for the Boston Marathon this year.

Ben says that the Boston Marathon experience is everything that it is hyped up to be. Fans cheer you on for the entire 26.2 miles, and you are surrounded by avid runners who can stay at your pace without a problem. Both he, Greg, and Alexis Hoag  wore their East Nasty shirts in the race, thus representing our running group in true fashion. Ben also wants to be sure to give a shout out to his parents and Erica Tober for cheering him and Greg on throughout the race, and helping make his Boston experience perfect!

The sad news though is that Ben is leaving us. He has accepted an offer to teach at the University of Arizona, where he will be an assistant professor in Animal Science (studying control of food intake, thus combining his two academic disciplines.) He also will be reuniting with his fiancé (Jen), who has been finishing up her own degree at UC Davis over the past two years. So although it is sad he is leaving, we are all excited for him with all the good things that he has in store. Finally, it should be noted that when he was thinking about all the things he would miss in Nashville while interviewing for his job in Arizona, East Nasty was the first thing to come to his mind. His thoughts on East Nasty that he shared with me were as follows: “It’s a special group of great people, enjoy it and take every advantage of it because what we have here is rare.”

So there go folks, be sure to congratulate Ben, Kyle, and Alexis for their achievements in the Boston Marathon. Also, be sure to wish Ben a fond farewell…he will be missed.

Rod


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