Whether your goal in 2011 is to lose 15 pounds or win your first marathon, get inspired by this Malvernite's winning ways.
Chris Koegel is new to Malverne, having moved to the village in November 2009 from Merrick, but running has always been in his blood.
"I've been running since I was a kid," he said. "My parents are both inspirations...my mom has ran every morning for the last 30 plus years."
During high school, Koegel played baseball and soccer, but on the off-season ran indoor winter track. He took a couple years off from competitive running after he graduated college, but returned in 2007 with a renewed commitment and a desire to win big.
In 2007 he ran the Hamptons Marathon for the first time and then in the summer of 2010, he took home the top prize in the same race. He also set a personal best of 2:43:46, finishing nearly three minutes ahead of the second place runner.
Koegel said this was his favorite race and he had some extra help getting to the finish line first. He ran the marathon in honor of his cousin, U.S. Army 1st Lieutenant Joseph Theinert, who died while serving in Afghanistan earlier that year.
"He really motivates me and inspires me every time I run," Koegel, then 27, told reporters after the race. "I think about him all the time. I really came out this year ... hoping to win the whole thing for him. I felt him pull me the whole way."
"It was a good example of running letting release a lot of emotions," he added.
Koegel also finished out 2010 placing sixth in in November and third in in December.
For Koegel, running is about more than medals though.
"I love so many things about running," he said. "Being able to get away from everything and think about things or just zone out, the draining feeling at the end of a run and on a good day that light feeling that you could just keep running."
He also enjoys his new training site - Malverne.
"I love everything about the town so far," he said.
You'll usually find him running past the Westwood Station or heading down Hempstead Avenue, especially in the early morning hours, when he says, the town is extremely quiet.
"I do most of my training now either around Malverne, Hempstead Lake and Hendrickson Park in Valley Stream," he said.
Still, he likes taking the trip out to Sag Harbor on the weekends, where his relatives and girlfriend, Zoe, are from.
"It's a good place for quiet, long runs with a few more inclines then around here," he explained.
His advice for newbie runners or anyone looking to get fit?
"Getting into a daily routine and running with other people are sometimes good motivators to get out," he said, "but everyone's got to have their own motivation."
Want to train like Koegel? Here's a 5.5 Mile Route that will take you through Westwood, Hendrickson Park and Malverne, hitting some of the streets he enjoys running through such as quiet Foster Avenue. Challenge yourself to run some or even all of it this year!