Frank Nash: From Couch to Marathon
I met Frank Nash when I was about 14 and if you told me then that in 25 years, Frank would be running in a marathon, I may have fell on the ground laughing. Back then I am not even sure Frank would have run from the cops, he would have just sat on the curb and told his pursuers “don’t do that, that running stuff is awful for you”. He didn’t participate in high school sports, he smoked and ate a lot of taco bell. In short, he would not have been the one chosen for “most likely to run a marathon”, but that is just what he did.
Early in 2014 Frank walked into his 9:30am doctor’s appointment carrying a 1 liter bottle of Mt. Dew. The doctor, a bit disconcerted, asked “how many of those do you drink?” Frank replied “About 10 or 12 a week”. The doctor was floored and told him what any doctor, and probably most sane human beings would tell him “That is going to kill you”. Afterward Frank started to make changes, he switched from regular to diet soda and tried to eat a little bit better. “My weight yo-yoed, I got a little bit better, but not much” he told me, then his daughter’s field hockey coach told him that the girls really needed to run more. So even though he hated running, he drug his daughter out of the house and took off down the street, and he hasn’t stopped.
In March of 2014 Frank saw a flyer for a 5k for the local animal shelter and he gave himself a goal, to complete the 5k and to do it in less than 40 min. When he showed up at the race he started to have doubts. “There were so many people there, and so many fit, skinny people, I thought I must be nuts to be doing this”. But he pushed on and completed his first 5k on May 17, 2014, just 2 months after he started running. His time was 34:31, beating his goal by almost 6 minutes. “I was really happy with the results, I mean I just ran a 5k and it did it almost 6 minutes faster than I wanted to” Frank said.
Since then Frank has gone on to complete 10 more 5ks, 7 half marathons and one full marathon. He even got his family involved when his wife and daughter joined him for the Beast of the East 10k Mud Run. He has lost 70 lbs, gone vegan and says he feels better than he did when he was 25. “I sleep better, I am happier, it’s like I leave the stress on the road behind me when I run”. I asked Frank what advice he would give people who want to start this type of journey, he said “Don’t give up, it is really hard in the beginning, but it does get easier. I can’t believe now I say things like, ‘eh it’s only 10 miles’” He also thought back to that first race and said “don’t compare yourself to other people, they are in a different place in their race than you are”.
Frank has a few more races planned this year, including another go at the Philadelphia marathon. His long term goal is to one day complete the Dopey Challenge in Disney World. A 5k, a 10k, a half marathon and a full marathon, all run on consecutive days. “I will never be the fastest runner, but I am lapping the guy on the couch”.