Global Running Project Runner: David Michael Gettis
Runs New Jersey, NYC
David is an energetic New Jersey runner who heads up race events and running movements, as well as inspires thousands with his super cool IG shots at @run.dmg. I was lucky he slowed down for a few minutes for this interview. Check out his thoughts on racing as a kid, eating everything and what keeps him motivated::
What's a running goal you are working on right now?
For the fall I'd like to try to get my 10K time down as much as possible. The 10K race distance is the only one that has actually decreased in quantity since the '90s, but I plan to find 'em and race 'em! Another goal that will probably be a 2017 one will be to try to break a 5-minute mile. I came close years ago with a 5:05, but I haven't gotten below 5:30 in a long time. Still unfinished business there!
What keeps you motivated?
Staying as young and fit as possible, despite age 40 suddenly being closer than 30! I've seen many people fall way out of shape, and I'd vastly prefer for that to never happen to me.
How long have you been running?
I've been running since the late '80s when my dad would drag me out of bed at the crack of dawn before school to go running with him. I ran my first 5K race in 1989 at age 8 and my first 10K in 1990 at the age of 9. I kept winning mainly because there weren't any other 9-year-olds racing 10Ks at the time. It was then that delusions of grandeur really started to transpire, and I would be in for a rude awakening as I grew older.
What got you into running?
Well, it was certainly my pops, as mentioned just before. At first I really didn't know why we were running around the block "just because." It was a foreign concept to me as I gasped for air while wearing shoes that are now solely reproduced as casual retro throwbacks.
What's one of your proudest running accomplishments?
Perhaps going undefeated in the mile in 8th grade? I would always let everyone else go out in front of me, and then I would blaze the fourth lap and pass everyone on my way to victory. I played things very strategically at the age of 14. But more recently, finally running a half marathon, as I had always stuck to much shorter distances prior. Even though it wasn't all that great a time, it was seriously one of the hardest races of my life.
Preferred running shoes?
New Balance Vazee Pace and Saucony Type A for track workouts, New Balance Vazee Pace v2 and Hoka Clayton for tempo runs, Adidas Glide Boost 8 and Nike Pegasus 33 for moderate runs, original Saucony Triumph ISO and New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 for long runs, and New Balance 1400 v4 and Adidas Adios Boost for racing.
Favorite song to run with right now?
This can change by the hour, but some newer favorites are "NoLo" by Grace Mitchell, "Color" by Finish Ticket, "Everybody Wants My Name" by Freeweights, "Diamonds in the Dark" by Dark Waves, "Revelator Eyes" by The Paper Kites, and "Salt" by Bad Suns.
Favorite running song of all time?
This can still change by the hour, but some unexpected selections that I'll throw out there right now are "Paradise" by New Order, "Long Way to Go" by Stevie Nicks, "Wild" by Poe, "Invincible" by Pat Benatar, "Head Over Heels" by Tears for Fears, and "Calm Animals" by The Fixx.
What snack do you reach for before a run?
Blueberry RXBAR, please. Or a Radical Raspberry Lemon Bearded Brothers bar — also, please.
After a long run, what do you like to eat?
Anything and everything. Being a true foodie is probably also one of my dietary downfalls, but I still try to limit saturated fats. I also don't eat any red meat. As for specifics, well, Jersey Mike's for breakfast never hurts! Diner food as well, like eggs and home fries and grilled cheese. If it's a night run, give me pizza afterward and I'm all set. Pasta marinara and sauteed broccoli as well, or even pad kee mao or sashimi. Or nachos or a colossal salad. See, I'm all over the place.
How do you balance running and the rest of your life?
Sometimes it can be hard. I organize multiple races, including the Norwood Fast & Flat 5K, which I co-founded back in 2005, and the Rock the River Races (half marathon, 5K, and trail 6K), which I named and re-branded in 2015. I also help moderate RUN.ALWAYS, and then there's my own running, for which consistency can certainly still be improved. In any case, I can't wait for the cooler, crisper running weather that's on the horizon!
How has running made an impact on your life?
It probably wasn't until a bad injury back in 2007 and a prolonged absence from any legitimate running that I truly began to miss it a lot and realized how incomplete I felt without it. If I'm not running, I feel like I'm wasting away, regardless of whether or not I'm involved in any other activities. Running, itself, in its purest form, is innate in me, and people will either be able to relate or they won't. Regardless of how sore or achy I may feel, or how much of a struggle it may be at times during "slumps" in hot summer weather that I'm not a fan of running in, I'll still keep on keepin' on, because the highs always outweigh the lows—always.
"The idea is to die young as late as possible." —Ashley Montagu
If you were an animated character, who/what would you be?
I'd be some athletic zebra dude who is always running all over the place in fly shoes and dope outfits while encouraging and helping out everyone he interacts with.
What advice would you give new runners?
Be patient, start out slowly, don't try to do too much too soon, build up gradually, and enjoy the ride as you begin to see gains and progress transpire! Soak in both the journey and the destination.
Where can we cheer you on?
@RUN.DMG on IG and Snapchat!
The art of the run lies not within the finished canvas, nor in the brushstroke, but rather the thought that transpires between. Five super slow recovery miles along the Hudson today, as summer returned for one last soirée prior to exiting stage left to the closure of a rich amber curtain full of promise. #runalways