Adam Engst

Adam is Ithaca Running.

Whenever anyone has any question or needs a suggestion for a route or people to run with, if I cannot help them I direct them to Adam. He is currently one of the heads of the Finger Lakes Runners Club and married to last week’s guest, Tonya. Adam is at almost every race that takes place here in Ithaca either running it, volunteering or cruising around cheering on his flashy Elliptigo (can I borrow it please Adam?) Talk about a neat guy! His favorite distance is THE MILE! INDOORS! WHAT?!??!?!?! In this day, while most runners are trying to find the crazy ways to go longer, Adam has seen and appreciated the beauty in the shorter distances. I can see it on his face when he watched the indoor track meets, just bursting at the seams to get out there.

I look forward to many miles and shared stories with Adam in the future.


Name: Adam Engst

Age: 51

Current shoe: Singular? Impossible! I run in Saucony Kinvara (preferred), Altra Torin (good for my wide forefoot), Hoka Clifton (hate it, but it helps my arthritic left big toe and left foot plantar fasciosis symptoms), Saucony Peregrine (for trails), Saucony A Series (racing flats for track and roads), and Asics Outback XC spikes (for cross-country races).

How long have you been running: Sophomore year of high school, so 1981. And I still have and wear the t-shirt to prove it. It's always fun when my grad student friends on High Noon see many of my t-shirts are older than they are.

Favorite distance: Probably the mile, indoors. It's the perfect level of consistency and repetition—8 laps, 1609 meters—and just enough time that I can start to question my existence in lap 7, lose all feeling in my arms while kicking, and be done seconds later, all in the space of about 5 minutes (hopefully). But don't get me wrong, I also enjoy road 5Ks, the half marathon, trail races of random distances, and cross country. It's all about having different seasons.

Favorite post-run meal: A pancake breakfast put on by one of our fine local volunteer fire departments, after a Sunday group long run. There's nothing better than knocking off 10+ miles with friends and immediately getting an all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast with a bunch of hungry, happy runners. 

A Running Story: Oh goodness, there are so many stories—telling stories is what one does on long runs with friends. How about this: I ran one season of cross country and indoor track while an undergrad at Cornell in the late 1980s, but I wasn't nearly good enough to keep it up, so I started running with the High Noon Athletic Club. The club was (and is) mostly faculty, staff, and grad students, so I was a bit of a curiosity as an undergrad, but I continued running with the group after graduation until my wife Tonya and I moved to Seattle in 1991. Ten years later in 2001, we decided to move back to Ithaca, and I didn't even think about High Noon while making the decision. But a few weeks after we moved into our new house, I was thinking about going for a run and remembered High Noon. So I trotted off to the back of Teagle Hall a few minutes before noon, and when I walked in, Rick Hoebeke said, "Haven't seen you in a while." To which I replied, "You haven't seen me in a decade!" And you know what? Apart from some of the faces, nothing had changed—High Noon was still a tremendously fun and welcoming group, and it immediately became part of my life again. Over the last 18 years, I've gotten more involved with coordinating cross-country teams, timing races, directing track meets, organizing long runs, and participating in other aspects of the Ithaca running community. Now I spend quite a lot of my free time in the running community because there's nothing I'd rather do than run, hang out with running friends, and create opportunities for others to run and race.

Ellie Pell