Finding Love on the Run

For Valentine’s Day we’re profiling running a few couples who kindly shared how running brought them together and keeps them running this race of life side by side!  
There are so many wonderful and inspiring stories.  We'd love for you to share your story below of love on the run!

Joe Omundson, 34 and Jenny Cate Hodil, 29

Q. Did you meet through running?  
JOE: We did not meet running. We actually met doing karaoke in 2009. We started running as part of a New Year’s Resolution for 2013 to be healthier and it was my goal to run my first 5k that February. I did, I completed the Run Around the Pines 5k. Since then we've averaged more than one 5k per month since.

Q. Do you train together? 
JOE: We do! We try to run 3 days per week.

Q. What made you decide to propose to Jenny Cate after the OUC Orlando Half Marathon?
JOE: Since 2013 running has become a HUGE part of our lives. We've run a few dozen 5ks, and 8k, a few 10ks and seven Half Marathons together. Along with all the training for all of those races we spend a lot of time outside pounding the pavement together.
So when I had decided to propose it popped into my head as the perfect proposal. I knew that I would be able to ask her to be my running buddy for life. I also felt that it could be the best way to surprise her as the day would be spent concentrating on the 13.1 miles!

Q. When is the wedding and will it have a running theme?  Will each of you run, separately of course, on your wedding day?
JOE: The actual ceremony and reception will not have a running theme, but we will be running on the Wedding Day. We aren't the most traditional couple in the world so we are planning on holding a small 5k for our Wedding Party the morning of the Wedding (December 2016). Just a nice fun run to kick off the day’s festivities!

Victor Hung, 35 and Amy Sindler, 41

Q. Did you meet through running?  
VICTOR and AMY:  We met in Coach Dave's Five and Dime Track Shack Training program, which meets every Tuesday and Thursday evening. Amy was a long-term Five and Dimer, while Victor just started running with the group during the summer of 2009. Victor was a full-time PhD student with a flexible schedule, and Amy had Fridays off, so Thursday after practice was a perfect time to hang out and get to know each other. As the summer wrapped up, our relationship blossomed around the same time as the Miracle Miles 15K race of 2009.

Q. Where's the most interesting place you've run?
VICTOR and AMY:  Our most interesting run took place in the Everglades at 11pm at night, during the 2011 Florida Keys Ragnar Relay. With back-to-back segment assignments, Victor did the first 4 miles going into the park, and Amy finished out 8 miles using only a flashlight and a leapfrogging support van.

Q. Do you run the same pace?  Does running a different pace add any challenges or benefits?
VICTOR and AMY:  We ran the same pace. When we first met in Coach Dave's Five and Dime summer session seven years ago. Later that fall at the Celebration of Running 5K, while pacing with Coach Dave, Victor discovered that he could run much faster. From then on, he improved his 5K times down to the 19's, while Amy has comfortably and consistently remained at the 23 minute mark. While we now train with different Five and Dime groups (Amy trains with Coach Dave and Victor trains with Coach Nathan), we are happy for each other! We still enjoy running together through our College Park neighborhood, and we've run together for a few races. For Victor's first marathon in 2010, seasoned marathoner Amy paced with him through his first 20 miles to help him achieve his race goal (a sub-4:00). We also ran together on our honeymoon at the 2013 Vancouver Half Marathon. Despite our differences in pace, we are both extremely grateful to have married someone who genuinely loves running and who loves to run with one another!  

Q. Two runners in the household, how to you manage your workout schedules?
VICTOR and AMY:  With both of us in the Five and Dime program, we are on the same track workout schedule. On non-track days, especially during the weekends, we find time to get a run in together or individually. As members of the Orlando Runners Club, we also join in on the group runs that they offer during the week.

Andres and Teresa Fernandez, both 24

Q. How did you meet?
THERESA: It was Saturday, March 1, 2014, and it seemed like a series of unfortunate events were unraveling before me throughout the day, ending with my car at the repair shop. My mother and I were already close to Track Shack, so we decided to stop by and get new running shoes (I had recently injured my foot while I was training for a race, and the doctor said it was because the shoes I had weren’t right for my feet).
The store was busy, so we had to sign in and wait to be helped. My mother and I were browsing the clothes section when we heard our names called. I rounded the corner and saw Andres holding the clipboard. He looked at me and smiled, and I instantly lit up. He didn’t say much to me (he was so shy!), but occasionally I would catch him looking at me after I laced up my shoes or came back from a quick jog around the store. I was very talkative—he was very quiet. To be honest, I didn’t think he liked me at all.
As I was buying my shoes, he gave me his card and asked if I had ever been to the Wine Room on Park Ave. I told him I hadn’t, and he said to let him know if I ever wanted company there.
I wasn’t looking for a relationship, or dating, or anything at all. But I emailed him the next evening. I guess I’m a hopeless romantic and I wanted to see if there was anything behind those looks he kept giving me, even if he was quiet. We had our first date Tuesday night at the Wine Room, and the shy guy disappeared when I was talking and he leaned all the way across the table (I mean all the way) and kissed me. I ended up hating the running shoes I picked out because I was so distracted (he has since picked out my favorite ones!), but they brought me to my hubby. There will be plenty more shoes, but I will only ever find one of him. 

Q. How do you complement each other?  Do you work out together?  

We run together, we ride the trails together, we laugh together. We say the same thing at the same time at least once a day (seriously, it’s scary sometimes). He is my absolute best friend, which is why I broke down in tears when he took me to the Wine Room, suggested a walk around Park Ave, got down on one knee in the rose garden and asked me to marry him. 

Q.  Is running a family affair?

THERESA:  You could say so. Andres’ dad just did his first marathon and I got my brother into running. He ran the OUC Orlando Half Marathon in 1:38!  

Joan Caroll, 48 and Paul Kennedy, 61

Q. Did you meet through running? 
JOAN: Yes. We met at a race that Track Shack used to put on at Lake Eola...The Outback Distance Classic 12K. 

Q. How do you complement each other’s running?  
JOAN: We make it a priority to run together when possible. That includes being considerate of each others pace and preferred course and start time. We also motivate each other to get out and run when we might feel like taking the day off.  

Q. Do you train together & offer input/advise to each other? 
JOAN: We do train together when our schedules match, and will encourage others to join us. We run in different Marathonfest groups on Saturdays. We sometimes advise each other and share information we've read or heard through sports trainers  being careful not to be critical.

Q. Where’s the most interesting place you’ve run? 
JOAN: Rio de Janeiro Marathon

Q. Approximately how many races have you run together? 
JOAN: We have run over 25 races together. There are a few we always run together from start to finish but generally run our own races for half and full marathons. Whoever finishes first always waits at the finish for the other to cross the line.

And remember this, love can be found in the most interesting places in our sport and when you least expect it says Brooks Hewitt, one of the founders of the Winter Park Road Race.  “In the early days of the Winter Park Road Race, I was driving a follow up vehicle and I stopped to assist a winded runner. I helped her back to the finish line and we ended up dating for 2 years!” 

Please share your story below!

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