My name is Mel Newberry and I am a British steeplechase athlete and elementary school teacher.  I am passionate about training and competing at the highest level, and also teaching students of all ages about the sport and getting them involved.  I make sure to incorporate track and field, especially the steeplechase, into my teaching wherever possible, and have been volunteering in schools teaching extra PE classes to promote understanding of physical fitness and healthy living.

Q & A

What do you do when you are not running (other hobbies/counter sports)?

I love going to a street dance fitness class twice a week, and I am trying to learn to cook (read: binge watching Cutthroat Kitchen for “inspiration”, while getting distracted, burning things, and smoking my housemates out of their rooms).  I also work as an advisor for Global Exchange Oregon’s Study Abroad office, and volunteer at a local elementary school while I complete my MA in Special Education.

Favorite running shoe?

Nike Pegasus.  Boring, but true. ALTHOUGH I did just order some that are “jungle print”, and I’m pretty excited.

If you had to name one aspect of running that gets your most psyched, what would it be?

Running has given, and continues to give me the opportunity to race around the US and world, and I absolutely love how this has enabled me to see awesome places, meet runners from all over and talk to them, and race against a huge range of runners.  Racing gets me the most psyched out of everything, but there’s also something extremely special about the team dynamic in a workout, where everyone is working together to push each other to get better.  This is especially so on Team Run Eugene, which is just the most wonderful collection of interesting, kind, and driven runners, with hugely varied interests and careers, but a shared goal of becoming the best athletes that they can be.

Essential Running Food?

Bananas! And Raw Revolution Glo Bars- they’re a natural, plant-based, raw food protein bar full of seeds that are low in sugar and gluten-free, but taste amazing!

If you never started running what would you have pursued instead?

If I had never started running, I would have likely pursued the violin at a higher level (track sessions conflicted with orchestra in high school, so my orchestra attendance became pretty shabby!).  I would have got my violin teaching diploma, and perhaps looked at going to music college. 

Who is your idol/hero?

Annette Peters.  She is a kindergarten teacher in the Springfield Public Schools who represented the US in the 3000m at the 1992 Olympics.  She made training fit with the demands of elementary school teaching in a way that is totally inspirational, still teaches today, and makes her school’s jogathon awesome.

Guilty Oregon pleasure?

Oh gosh!  So many! Wearing rainbow socks and other clothes that are probably closer to costumes, just because I can and none will bat an eyelid. Also relishing the fact that video rental shops, barcades, bingo and trivia nights all still exist here, and going regularly to all of these.  Living in Eugene is like stepping into a time warp in the best possible way!

Tea or coffee or Kombucha?

All three!  I have to start my day with coffee, but then at work I like to experiment with the International Affairs Office’s range of teas. I am a kombucha freak, and am in the process of learning how to brew my own.  A little perturbed that the scoby you need to start it off looks like a jar of brains, but otherwise optimistic.

Favorite Eugene meal after running?

Either miso eggs from Izakaya Meiji, or a selection of anything and everything that the Sundance Natural Foods hot and cold food bar has to offer-  you can’t go wrong there! 

What are your top 3 fav running locations?

The Ridgeline Trail
Hendricks Park
Mount Pisgah
Bonus: Northala Fields, Northolt, England   (it’s a collection of super odd, man-made hills right next to a busy motorway, but it’s a fab place to run!)