Running On Clouds: Meet Tyler Pennel

Tyler Pennel running the 2019 NYC Marathon Tyler Pennel running the 2019 NYC Marathon | Photo credit: @titanlight on Instagram

Name: Tyler Pennel
Event: Marathon
Hometown: Golden, CO
High School: Golden High School
College/University: Western State College
Training City: Blowing Rock, NC
Training Group: ZAP Endurance
Accolades: USA Marathon Champion

How were you introduced to track/distance running, and what eventually led you to your event?

During the summer between my freshman and sophomore year my dad, a friend, and his dad were all running a half marathon and at the beginning of the summer I committed to run it. Over the course of the summer my dad would come into my room and wake me up to go running, but being a stubborn 15 year old, I only went with him a handful of times. I probably didn’t run 13 miles over the course of the summer. On the day of the race, I ran with my friend for a few miles before I began to pick it up. I ended up running about five minutes faster than my friend and ten than my dad. So that fall I went out for cross country.

What is your most memorable experience in the sport?

My most memorable moment in the sport was winning the 2011 DII Cross Country Championship while at Western State. I was fortunate to get another year due to injury and the team title was the one that eluded all the teams I had been on. I felt like my entire college career had been building up to that point.

2011 NCAA DII National Championship | “It was my last cross country race in a [Western State] singlet and one of my most fond memories!” | via @tylerpennel on Instagram

What race are you most looking forward to in 2020 (not including the Olympic Trials / Olympics)?

Honestly, I don’t know right now. I do not have anything planned beyond the Trials. I have always wanted to do a good road racing season and run the big road races like, Boilermaker, Bix 7, and Falmouth. For whatever reason, injury or scheduled down time, I have never gone past Peachtree.

What is something not track/running related that are you looking forward to in the next year?

Right now, I don’t have much of anything planned after the Trials. I guess right now it would be camp season at ZAP this summer.

What do you like to do when you’re not training?

I like to watch shows and read mostly. I spend a good amount of time just watching YouTube as I do things for recovery. I also like to go and try different breweries where ever we race, or just go to the local brewery to have a beer or two.

As a history buff, what is your favorite little-known or oft misrepresented historic fact?

Perpetrated by a popular movie, Roman Gladiators rarely fought to the death. Gladiators were expensive investments, to train, feed, and clothe. Most of the death at the Gladiatorial games came from the public executions of condemned criminals that happened in the intermissions between fights.

What advice would you give to your high school freshman self?

One piece of advice I would give to my high school self would be to listen to your body more. There were so many times I pushed through a pain that eventually became an injury where I had to take substantial time off, especially in college. I feel like I have been much better about listening to my body the last few years, which has helped keep the bigger injuries away.

Lightning Round

Favorite sport, not track? Baseball

Favorite pro sports team? Colorado Rockies

Favorite training shoe? On CloudStratus

Best movie you’ve seen in the past year? I can’t think of a single movie that I have seen in the last year, I see so few but a show that really enjoyed was Norsemen on Netflix. It takes the usual gritty and brutal world of the Viking invasions of the 900’s and makes it a comedy

Celebrity or Historic Figure you would most like to meet? It will change with what podcast I’m listening to but right now (Revolutions), so right it would have to be Vladimir Lenin.

Who is your track and field idol? Like all high schoolers it was Pre, but as I got older and especially after I started running after college, Meb was the biggest influence on me.

Give a shoutout to your supporters

I’d like to give a thanks to ZAP Endurance, especially Pete and Zika. They offered me a spot on the team eight years ago and have supported me even through some big injuries, but have helped guide me to heights that high school me would have never dreamed of. On Running has only been with ZAP and me for a year, but their enthusiasm for the sport and improving all of us has been very refreshing.

Connect with Tyler


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