New Kingston accountant to tally 25th NYC marathon

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By Brian Sweeney
Numbers are key for accountants and 25 looms large for New Kingston resident Peter Masullo as he enters this year’s New York City Marathon.

When he strides into this year’s race on November 4, it will mark Peter’s “silver anniversary” of running in the world’s most famous long-distance event. The race attracts nearly 50,000 runners who follow a route that winds through each of the city’s five boroughs during its 26.2-mile course.
Participating in such an arduous test of stamina was far from his mind when Peter laced on his first pair of running shoes more than 30 years ago, at the urging of his younger brother.

“I used to think that people who ran around the track were strange,” he recalled. “But, my brother was a runner and said I should try it. I started and I enjoyed it.”

Not in the plans
The novice jogger didn’t immediately have visions of running marathons, but his interest in entering a marathon was sparked by seeing others performing the grueling task.

“I saw the New York Marathon on TV and the runners seemed so relaxed and graceful and rhythmic – it made me want to do that,” he explained.
“I’m not that graceful, though,” he laughed.

He entered the New York City Marathon for the first time in 1988 and has been back every year.
“I became hooked with my first marathon,” Peter noted.

Since that initial event, Peter estimates he’s probably participated in 1,000 races of varying distances, including a number of other marathons. He entered the Escarpment Trail Run in Greene County nine times and said the event is more challenging than a marathon.

“My knees can’t do that race anymore,” he explained.

The 58-year-old accountant and tax lawyer splits his time between the upstate home where’s he’s lived since 1987 and his New York City apartment. As a result, he pounds the pavement in very diverse environments. He often runs alone, but Peter is also a member of the Onteora Runners’ Club and the NY Harriers.

“The Harriers group is a bunch of young fast guys. We work out on a track on East 6th Street — the only time I see them is when they pass me,” he joked.

“When I train up here there are a lot of hills and I may run 10 miles and see 10 cars. Running in New York, much of the time, you can’t even move because of all the traffic and people,” he related.
That’s not to say that rural training doesn’t have its obstacles.

Going to the dogs
“Upstate, you’ve got to learn to run from dogs – you get to know most of the dogs. I got bit once — you can never turn your back on them. Most dogs are more afraid of you and are OK, as long as you understand and respect their privacy,” Peter noted.

He said that years ago he used to take three of his own dogs to accompany him on training sessions.

“One of the dogs used to run 20 miles, constantly circling around me,” he laughed.
Peter generally runs six days a week, averaging about five miles each time out. He also tries to work in a 15-miler about once a month “to keep a base” for longer events.

In the four-to-five months leading up to a marathon, Peter plans a 20-mile-run at least every 10 days as the race draws near.

His training regimen has worked well, helping Peter complete every marathon he has entered. He’s always been confident about finishing the races, so his main goal is shooting for “personal best” times. His initial goal was a time of less than four hours.

“It took me a couple of years to break that and my fastest time is 3 hours, 48 minutes.
He added, “Runners don’t like estimating,” a joking reference to the recent flap over Vice Presidential Candidate Paul Ryan offering the media a greatly exaggerated “personal best” for his marathon endeavors.

While the idea of running 26 miles is totally foreign to the average person, Peter said the race portion of the day is very enjoyable. For him, the most difficult parts of the NYC Marathon are arriving at and leaving the event.

Leaving is hardest part
“They do a great job, but there are close to 50,000 runners and you have to take a bus and a ferry to reach the start. The hardest part used to be the finish where you wait in a logjam for a half-hour or 45 minutes to get out of the park. That’s torture, it’s worse than the race,” he noted.

The biggest detour in his running career occurred in the early 1990s when Peter broke each ankle, in consecutive years, playing basketball. After recovering from those setbacks, some mild arthritis in his knees is the biggest impediment to his running career. Despite some discomfort, he has no intention of stopping “as long as I have legs.”

Peter said he receives plenty of encouragement each year at the New York City Marathon, with his brothers and four daughters often showing up to cheer him on.

He now has two additional inspirations to continue his running career. His six-year-old grandson has already become a weekly running partner when Peter visits him in the Hudson Valley.

And, although he’s only a year old, Peter is convinced that his youngest grandson also is a promising runner. After all, his name is Miles.