Saturday Spotlight- Pam Ernst

Name: Pam Ernst (soon-to-be Weber)
Age: 28
Hometown: Miller Place
Current town: Queens
Married: Engaged (9.12.2020)
Kids: none
Pets: Jose (avocado tree), Cuervo (aloe plant), Medusa (peace plant), Jasmine (snake plant)… and many, many succulent babies 😅

Occupation: ex-Fashion Designer, currently back in school full-time for Physical Therapy Assistant
Hobbies: crafty-things, art, planting/gardening

Colleges: SUNY Oneonta, Fashion Institute of Technology and currently LaGuardia Community College
Personal Bests: TRACK – 4:59 (1500m); 5:26 (mile); 10:33 (3k); 18:34 (5k); 39:15 (10k); 1:34 (half); 3:20 (full). CROSS COUNTRY – 23:24 (6k)

Hello all! I hope everyone had a great 4thof July! I’m writing this week in-between studying for 2 exams and prepping for a debate and a group presentation also this week for school.

I will start with where it all began… I started running cross country in middle school when I didn’t make the field hockey team. The same year (7th grade) I also ran spring track. I learned quickly anything with a barrier is not for me (hurdles, high jump, steeple – I like my knees the way they are!). The following year (8th grade) I made the field hockey team! Even though I scored the winning goal in our final game of the season, I decided that I would go back to cross country come high school. In additional to field hockey, I play basketball in the 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th grades. At the conclusion of my sophomore year, my jv basketball coach pulled me aside and gave me the best coaching advice anyone ever had. She told me she highly recommended that I join winter track the next year instead of continuing on to varsity basketball, because, as she said, it would be a waste of a talent to watch me sit the bench all season. Now, a lot of people will say, how dare she tell you to give up on your dreams and tell you not to go after something you like to do. But that’s just it – I only liked basketball. It was enjoyable, but I wasn’t getting any better and I honestly didn’t have the drive to do so. But in practice, I was running laps around my teammates. If we had to “run” for a punishment (someone was late to practice usually), I was given push-ups or sit-ups instead haha!

When my next year concluded and I had run cross country, winter track and spring track straight through the year, I felt like a running bug had bitten me. During the start of my senior year, as I was filling out college apps for schools that had fashion programs (ex-fashion designer here), I was also checking out each school’s running program. I got in to Oneonta and enrolled into their 3+1 program in which I would attend Oneonta for 3 years, apply to FIT for my senior and then transfer back out those credits to Oneonta at the end. If accepted into FIT, this results in 2 graduations upon the end of senior with a bachelors from Oneonta and an Associates from FIT. I was lucky enough to get accepted the second time around for my senior year, but I still think the most influential moments of my college years was running cross country and track at Oneonta!

At Oneonta, something clicked with the coaching and the teammates I had. I loved my high school coach, he really inspired me to continue on, but there was a difference in the program at Oneonta. In high school, sports teams can be more of a social atmosphere, whereas in college, there is a different focus. Not to say we weren’t social; we had many heart-to-hearts on long runs and some of my closest friends to this day are my old college teammates. But when we got to practice, especially on workout days, we meant business. I was so sad to leave my team behind when I left for FIT because you spend so much time with these people, running together, bus rides together, hotel rooms together, meals together. But I’m still so close to a lot of teammates. One of them is going to be one of my maid-of-honors in my wedding!

After college I took some time off from running to focus on getting into the routine of working, learning the ins and outs of the fashion industry. Plus, commuting to and from Manhattan every day from Port Jefferson was a lot! Up at 4:45 home by 8:30, not much time or energy left to get in a run. After about a year, my now fiancé and I decided to move to Queens to get some time back on our lives. Not long after moving, we stumbled on to a brand new club team in Queens, the Queens Distance Runners (you’ve probably seen the gold singlets if you’ve run NYRR races). My fiancé and I became one of the original 10 members back in 2014 and we’ve made some really great friends since.

When I reflect on all of my experiences with running, I think the biggest thing that keeps me involved is the great people. Running really attracts some of the best personalities. I see it here in the Selden Hills group too! My mom (Kerrin) got into this group and one day I decided to tag along with her to a Sunday long run and I was so thrilled to meet a lot of wonderful personalities. I don’t often get out for the Sunday long runs, and I wish I could, but when I do, you guys never fail to be friendly and make me feel included. So, I thank you all for that 😄