Saturday Spotlight – Peter Van Zandt (1/25/20)

BIG Pete:

49, Single and ready for action if you can get me to stop moving long enough

1 daughter Nina 10 years old

30 years a stationary engineer

12 years a fitness coach Hobbies are Fitness, adventure, anything water, and nature.

Live in Deer Park, Born in West Islip. I am the oldest shortest and best looking of three brothers. No one in my family is under 6 foot tall. Including my mother. My life has been all about nature from the day I was born. The minute the last day of school ended my parents would be in the parking lot to pick me up with the trailer loaded up and we would camp up to the day school started again. This included weekends through out the year. They allowed me to be very independent and wander the woods all day.

Exploring, hiking, swimming, Camp fires where all part of my daily life. In school I played sports like soccer, basketball, cross country, wrestling and track and field. Later after high school i I filled my summers as a life guard in the Hampton’s and Montauk. Back story. When I was 3-4. I wondered off at a campground. My the search party found me pulling a large branch on the sand bluffs by the beach at Cedar Point Park at sunset. They said. You can’t wander off. You could get lost forever. I told them but I dragged this branch to mark my trail so there was no way I could get lost. Later in life I formed and adventure hiking group Called BIG Pete’s WORLD of Hiking.

Close to 2,000 members at one point. A few hundred that i have met or hiked with. The rest use as an informational and inspirational source. I was a scout for my hiking group. I was so fast that I would go miles ahead scout out the trails.Bushwhack and still make it back to lead the group. This ledme Wanting to go faster than the average hiker so i started adventure racing. Soon after the OCR boom happen. The first Obstacle Course Racing event was thrown in the US. The Tough Mudder. I had just had a daughter and was bed ridden for a few years after multiple surgeries.

Having at daughter at age 39. I knew it was time to get young again. I trained and excelled in the sport l. Became a leader and coach at a boot camp. Trained and lead teams over the next few years. This is when I started road races. I couldn’t get enough running in. So I started signing up for localRoad races. 5k, 10k, 1/2 Marry. Ran with groups that I trained. If they where slower I ran backwards. Anything to be social and inspire. For a bunch of years i put running any distance to the side.

As I work 2-3 jobs and hiked a lot. Went thru a divorce. This past year or two. Divorce well behind me. A new group of gym and run heavy friends. A few years of coaching and heavy load of OCR races. A handful of road and trail races. Quit drinking all together. I am running on a daily basis. 125 miles of running and 105 miles of go ruck hiking just this month. This is going to be an epic year. A year of increased speed and distance.

A year I find myself turning 50 years young. A year I end with the Spartan World Trifecta championship in Sparta, Greece. Three races of three distances. A sprint, a super and a beast on three consecutive days representing the USA. The very place of the original Olympics. Well I hope I followed some type of format. I can’t read well. Worse at writing. Barely can see close up.

Thank you Lou for having me. In the Selden Hills family and as the spotlight member. Thank you Jenn for inviting me to run this challenging course.To the famous Jason Taylor for vouching for me. Always including me on every run invite.