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– Zach Steele

1. How long have you been running and why did you start running? I started running T&F back in middle school, but it was one of many sports I did. I competed in cross country, T&F, soccer, and basketball through HS, then focused on running competitively in college at Corban University. I was drawn to running because I loved racing. While other sports might rely more on natural talent or skill, so much of running success was due to consistent, smart, hard work, which is available to anyone who is teachable and disciplined.

2. How long have you been part of TRL, and what drew you to the club in the first place? I joined TRL last fall during the Stumptown XC series. I was drawn to the club because I was helping coach my sister and her friend, and wanted them to be connected to a network of runners, instead of being isolated. I realized I had the same desire for myself.

3. What do you do when you’re not running (job, family, school…whatever it is you’d use to introduce yourself outside of running)? My wife, Amanda and I have been married for 6 years, and we have a son and a daughter, Ransom (almost 3), and Reagan (10 months). I’m a youth pastor at Willamette Christian Church in West Linn, and I’m also in school at Western Seminary in Portland.

4. What’s your favorite distance/type of run (5K, half-marathon, marathon, ultras, relays, track, trail, etc.)? I love any race distance from 1500m to marathon, and since graduating college, I have gotten much more into the road running scene, mostly because of availability. I love the journey of completing a marathon, but if I had to pick, I think the half-marathon is my favorite race distance currently. I raced my first stroller half-marathon with Ransom on July 4th this year! (Editor’s note: at the Flat.)

5. Where is your favorite place to run in the greater Portland area? Clackamas Community College. It’s where I started running in middle school, and now it’s very near my home. I’m very sentimental about running near home, as I’ve put many thousands of miles around each town I’ve lived in. I’ve never been one to drive in a car to run locations, so the familiarity and memories of the towns I’ve lived in is strong. (Salem, Turner, Happy Valley, West Linn, Tualatin, OC)

6. What is your most memorable running experience? Running the NAIA National Championship Marathon in Gulf Shores, Alabama. To wrap up my senior year of college, I was honored to race the marathon at nationals (my first one). It was hot, humid, and painful, but I ended up placing 8th in the nation. After that marathon, I knew any other conditions would be a breeze, and I got hooked on competing longer distances post-college.

7. What’s the best running advice you’ve ever received? “Go when you can, not when you must.” This specifically applies to finding a port-a-potty

8. Tell us one fun fact, hidden talent, or something we don’t know about you, but should? Connected to the previous question, I could probably tell you the location of pretty much every port-a-potty and open park restroom in a 5 mile radius of my home or work.