I’m Zach Dombi a Junior by definition but a 40-something year old working-man in reality, meaning that I’m Co-oping for the Autumn semester of 2014 up in Cleveland at Philips Healthcare as an Electrical Engineering intern working on MRI machines. But never fear, I will return for the spring semester to take up my position on the Racing Committee and just be more involved in general in Running Club as a whole. I like most fruits, dogs with floppy tongues, Rick Ross, Beefy 5-layer Burritos from Taco Bell and that sweet sensational feeling you get after cracking your back.
But most of all I like running and here is my story.
I started running in the spring of 7th grade, during track season, without stomach muscles.
As in, like not having any connected stomach muscles to speak of…
As in, having my stomach muscles surgically severed in order to repair a hernia…
As in I started running track a month later without the ability to bend forwards or backwards.
So yeah running, not a solid start. I was confused and dumb and stumbled into the distance squad and into the best-worst decision of my life. I ran through the rest of middle school and high school before running my first marathon in June of 2012, just under the age of 18 at the Canton marathon. Looking at colleges after high school is where I ran into a tough decision. I was fast enough to run at a DIII or even a DII but nowhere close to fast enough to run on a DI team. So do go to a small DIII or DII school to run or go for the gusto with a big school like OSU that has it all and not run on a team. I chose the latter, found Running Club, and it has made all the difference.
Let us rewind to high school though first where I ran for Medina. Medina’s men’s cross country team was, and still is the most winning-est public DI high school men’s cross country program in the state of Ohio. We went to state all 4 years of my career and even lost by a single heart-breaking point my junior year. I had a great coach, a fantastic group of hardworking guys at my side and some of the best times of my high school years.
Since I’ve left high school and joined the club and I know of a few things:
I know that I will never have as tight knit of a group of guys on the Club like I did with those guys high school.
I know that I’ll never be able to PR with the Club in the 5k as nothing compares to all of the intense training and work outs that I did in high school.
And I know I’ll never have as great of a coach in the Club as I did in high school.
But that is not what Running Club is about, not to me at least and I know that for certain.
Because none of that even matters, Running Club is far beyond any sort of high school running experience.
I know that Running Club isn’t about a small tight knit group because I know it’s about a larger group of people that are all brought, and sown together by our passion of running.
I know that Running Club isn’t about training hard for a state meet, because it’s a CLUB sport, and that running competitively and for fun can be the same thing. It’s helped me keep in shape and has been an essential part in achieving my single greatest victory, running the 2013 Columbus marathon with my best friend Ryan Fisher, and both of us qualifying for the Boston Marathon in 2015.
And I know that Running club is not about a coach or a single person that we all must follow behind, because we don’t need that, we each have our own vastly detailed knowledge of running and with that we can each work to help each other improve to levels no single coach can do for any of us
I know I have made the right choice when I am asked “What is running club?” my response is always the same but somehow always reaffirms my decision even more. I tell them that it’s like a Jank DIII college team, we meet at the same time every week but it is not mandatory so it’s flexible and I can fit it around school. We compete in meet just like every other collegiate team, and are even better than a good amount of them. We are all similar people and friends who hang out even outside of the club, on weekends, in the SEL, spending spring break together in Myrtle Beach. Most importantly we don’t need to take a bus from meet to meet because I’d rather be comfortably pressed somewhere between Regan Roshetko and Rita Mayer’s shoulders in an over packed car pool.
One time I told this to a kid that I used to go to high school with who went on to run at a DIII school. He told me that everything about the club sounds so awesome and so much more laid back than the hard knock life of a NCAA athlete.
I told him “Better #TurnUpOrTransfer”