Educator | Marathoner | Triathlete | IM 70.3 Cynthia

You know we always have to represent our NY peeps/runners. Spotlighting those that are doing some amazing things not only for the better health of themselves but also their communities. Last summer I took some time to join some of the NYC crews for their weekly group runs and I had the pleasure of running with Team Wepa. We covered Big Oso Gerardo Rodriguez, and a few months later we had the pleasure of also speaking with Les Boadu, another captain of Team Wepa. Running with the crew that night I was introduced to another intricate runner that's part of the team and captain Cyntha V.  Cynthia is one of the most consistent runners you’ll meet in this running game and she's on track to capture that 6 star in Tokyo in a few weeks, she’ll need a nickname to go with that 6 star. 

MSM: Usually, we start with a brief introduction into the runner but let's just start with the obvious. I know and am sure you’re stocked and excited to be going to Tokyo and nabbing number 6. How do you feel about it?

CYN: I feel super excited! I only learned what a marathon was back in 2019 when I first started running, and then about the world majors shortly after running my first one. I decided to go for it, not realizing how hard of a journey this would be. But I also did not expect to achieve this in less than five years. So, I feel accomplished and proud.

MSM: I feel like getting the last of the 6 starts is different, like you have a choice to either ball out, dial in and become super focused or you can go into the race appreciating the journey, the crowd, and people during the race. What's your mindset going into Tokyo?

CYN: Initially, I had my mind set to giving it my all and going for a PR. But I think I want to enjoy this race instead, especially because this will be my first marathon in a while where I'm not going in with an injury. I want to be able to take it all in and be able to appreciate the scenery and crowd. Ultimately, I’m going to see how I feel at the start line to decide how I’ll want to tackle this race.

MSM: We touched on journey in the last question, I’d like to hang here for a bit. Running itself is a journey that can take us to places we never thought of, with traveling but most importantly from an emotional and physical standpoint. We learn so much about ourselves in these training cycles, things that tend to make us stronger individuals. What has your own personal journey been like over the years leading up to getting ready to capture your 6 stars?

CYN: I never would have thought that I would be running outside of NY, or even internationally. It has been a tough but fun journey for sure. It has allowed me to travel to places I don't think I would have traveled to. I loved being able to have the opportunity to make a vacation out of these trips and be able to tour around and learn about so many new places. But something I learned about myself that has helped me become a stronger individual is I have been able to be more in tune with my thoughts. I am not one to run with music and it’s funny because every time someone hears that, they look at me all weird. I find myself talking a lot to myself in my races when I’m struggling or feel moments of doubt. So, I am always deep in thought when I’m out there racing and this is something that has helped me push myself to those finish lines.

MSM: It takes lots of discipline to stay committed and fellow runners and non-runners that help us on track. Who are some of those folks that help to keep you accountable?

CYN: I want to say the running community in general has helped keep me accountable. I say that because anyone who I have shared some miles with or even just exchanged a conversation with has helped contribute to my journey. You never really know who you are impacting until they tell you, and it’s such a nice feeling knowing people look to you as motivation. Those are the people who keep me accountable. That’s something that keeps me going because I want people to know if you put the work in and go in with the right mindset, it can be done. 

MSM: We’ve gone through the journey but we’ve yet to discuss your racing. You’ve conquered the marathon distance obviously, you’re also a tri athlete and an Ironman finisher (should be iron woman finisher). What have been some of your favorite races that have stood out over the past few years. Also, I want to chat about Ironman, that race is a different mentality altogether. How would you compare training for that against training for a marathon?

CYN: My favorite race that has stood out has to be in 2021 for my second marathon in York, PA. I originally signed up for this alone and it was around the time I first joined the running community. When people found out I was going alone, next thing you know there were about 30 other runners who signed up for the half marathon just so they can be out there with me. This is when I fell in love with the community because they really do show up for you. So that’s something I try to give back to others.

Personally, I feel that training for an Ironman is much harder than a marathon. More mentally than it is physically. Believe it or not I still consider myself a newbie to the triathlon world. I signed up for my first Triathlon in 2022 without knowing how to swim because I wanted to try something new. I was committed and I learned. So, to-date I have completed 4 triathlons and that's including the Ironman 70.3. From my experience in those 4 races, there are no crowds cheering you on. That means I can’t feed off that adrenaline I normally do like in marathons. The only time you see people cheering, is in the transition area which is normally the start/finish line. But even with that being said, I have such a love for the sport. I’m working towards the full Ironman 140.6

MSM: Some of your toughest moments are while marathoning, it's also what makes you stronger mentally as you gain lessons along the way. That’s a hard lesson for most to grasp and understand and translate to life itself. How does it feel knowing that you were able to gain/learn such a valuable lesson over the years?

CYN: I feel a sense of accomplishment, but also a great deal of confidence. I continue to find myself always learning something new so I don’t think that will end, nor do I want it to. I love being able to learn new ways to improve and better myself.

MSM: You seem like you’re always up for a challenge, Tokyo obviously being the next upcoming challenge but there's also a big one following the Tokyo Marathon, The Speed Project. 300+ miles through the desert is nothing to take lightly. The Wepa team will be out there representing. What made you all want to take up this challenge and how are you all preparing for it?

CYN: I love a good challenge. Especially, when it’s something new I haven’t done. So, when I was asked to join the team for the Speed Project, I said yes without hesitation. I think it’s safe to say my other five teammates felt the same way. We have been preparing by communicating daily and checking in with one another and sharing our different training styles. Something new to some of us are these back-to-back long runs and learning to train on tired legs.

MSM: The Wepa team is one of the most recognizable crews in NYC. When you see the run singlet you know BIG QUEENS is in the building. The crew is full of respect and love, and you all carry each other with pride, dedication and inspiration. You are one of the captains of Team Wepa. Give our readers some insight into how you linked up with the Wepa family, how you became one of the captains and what that responsibility and leadership means to you, to lead one of the biggest running crews/families in the NYC area.

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