Saturday Spotlight- Amanda Strong

Thank you to Lou for selecting me for Warrior of the Week! I never thought this would happen, but it did! I feel honored. Here’s a little about me and how I got into running and the enjoyment I get from it.

Name: Amanda Strong
From: Pusan, Korea
Live Currently: East Patchogue, NY
Occupation: Returns Clerk for Newsday’s Returns Department,
Brentwood Public Schools Substitute Teacher’s Assistant, Volunteer EMT for Patchogue Ambulance and Security Guard for Professional Security Associates.

I was adopted at the young age of 15 months old, from Pusan, Korea, to parents, whom were unable to conceive a child of their own. I came to the United States, November 22, 1984, in which was Thanksgiving Day. So, I was my parents butterball turkey at that time. My parents are white/Caucasian,just so you all know. I have gotten some rude comments regarding where I come from. Before I arrived to the USA, I had a few medical issues, I had scabies, was possibly malnourished, and probably not cared for properly.

So, arriving here in the states, I had a few developmental delays, but nothing serious.Learned everything as time went on,walking, talking but it came on slowly but surely. Nothing I regret today.

Running in school, especially in physical education, was not my cup of tea,or even on the play ground.I was the chubby kid, trying to keep up with the crowd. I hated running the field during gym class,having to touch the soccer goal post, so the teacher knew you were completing the perimeter correctly. I was slow as hell, wanting to walk the whole way, dreaded it every time we had gym. I hated participating in school, especially in gym,field day, small group oriented activities, not my thing.

My parents signed me up to play soccer for the Patchogue Youth Soccer league started at the age of 10,playing with age group, had a no idea how to play, but learned by watching and playing, learned to run a little further, but it was a lot of start and stop.All games were on Sunday’s, interfering with family time, church and so on. As, I got older, we traveled to different towns to play, so then that was my extent of running then. I played up to the age of 17 and didn’t play when I was a senior in high school, didn’t have a team put together, so my soccer career ended then. I tried track and field in ninth grade,hated with all my heart,I was the fat kid, couldn’t even catch my breath or keep up.That lasted like a month and quit. So, just stuck with the soccer, and school tennis for the rest of the years in school.

When I entered college, I had to take a gym class, “I said to myself ” is this high school again? ugh,really?. So, I signed up for jogging and fitness. I was able to jog, a 13 minute mile for the pre run and post run, towards the end of the semester, I had a 10 minute mile, not bad. With all of the jogging, I was able to lose 6 pant sizes, going from a size 12 to size 6.Jogging was only for the semester,but was able to watch my weight with eating. I didn’t keep up with it, had too much to do, with school, work and every day life.

It was only five years ago,almost, I did my first 5k, which was the Liz Kelly, starting at Dublin Deck and ending there. I wasn’t sure if I would make it but, I just looked at my results, 42:44, not bad for a first race!! Then, I was hooked.! I ran my second 5k, Tunnels to Towers, in NYC, un timed, but it was running. As, time went on I ran regularly. Now, I am hooked, running all the time, or when I have the time. I can’t believe I went from a 5k to a half marathon, within the last five years.

Running has brought me so many good vibes, health and wellness, fitness, and most of all, Friends, Never knew how many i’d make along the way. I thank Laurie Sarquis, for introducing me to the hills and pushing me along in such a positive way! I hope I can continue running, especially at the Selden Hills, which is such a help when it comes to running races with high elevations in front of you. Thank you again for the nomination for Warrior of the week! Makes me feel special!

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