NRC Race Team
Look for the NRC Race Team at races around the country!
Alexander the Great. Spartacus. Charlemagne. Queen Elizabeth. Washington. Shackleton. Scott Bennett. From his humble beginnings as a high school Nordic skier to his arrival on the international stage as NRC.'s Race Team Captain, Scott Bennett redefined the the characteristics of a modern leader. "When everyone else was doing high mileage, I was doing minimal work," recalls Scott. "I was running trail races in the 90's. Of course, we called it cross country in those days." After a brief stint at Oxford University where he experimented with fell running, Scott returned stateside to pursue coaching, landing first in his home state of Maine at Bates College and then later at Nashville's Belmont University. After life on the track Scott decided to try the marathon debuting in 3:12. He has since lowered his PR to a respectable 2:42. A mainstay on the Nashville roads over the last few years, Scott has collected wins at the Nashville Greenway Marathon, twice at the Shadetree Trot 5K, and garnered a third place overall at the Flying Monkey Marathon. Most recently Scott was the top American in Cuba running 3:12 for the Havana Marathon. In the spring of 2016, he will attempt his first Boston Marathon.
The closest Jeff came to endurance sports in high school was the 400 meter dash which felt like an eternity. His main athletic focus in high school was football and he cheered for the University of Southern Mississippi in college. After he began his career in public accounting, the pounds started piling on and he decided to run the Country Music Marathon to get in shape. "It wasn’t pretty", but he finished his first marathon and decided to sign up for a few more. In 2012, he turned my attention to trail running and he hasn't looked back. Over the past few years, he's gravitated toward the 50 and 100 mile distances partially because he likes the time in the woods and partially because he's "too slow" for shorter races.
Self-supported running “projects” in the Smokies
About two decades ago, as my parents watched me run after a butterfly while my teammates and opponents chased a soccer ball in the opposite direction, I began to realize that the ball was not the object of my interest. After promiscuously experimenting with other sports for several years, none of which could provide me with the true excitement and joy I feel today, I decided to tag along with a friend going to a summer cross country practice a week before the start of high school. I decided to join the team reluctantly, but within a few weeks I was in love. I graduated high school with a dream and a 400m PR slower than at least three girls in my class, as well as a deep respect for a man named Arthur Lydiard. After training solo for my freshman year of college, I walked on to the team at Duke and ran XC and track for three years. There, I made the ACC squad (top 10) on the cross country team my senior year and bettered my personal bests on the track. After a very fulfilling collegiate career, I realized I was still hungry for more. I brought my talents to Nashville for the pristine weather, beautiful parks, and welcoming running community to train with teammate, classmate, and occasional friend Ben Li while I studied medicine on the side. My 2016 goals include running more than 4,000 miles, breaking 15 min in the 5k, and running sub 1:07 in the half marathon.
- 400m: 60.3
- 800m: 2:14
- Mile: 4:33
- 5000m: 15:11
- 10000m: 31:17
- HM: 1:07:43
- FM: 2:23:32
As a Wisconsin native and a midwesterner through and through, Caroline is not deterred by the cold, ice, or snow and vows to never turn vegan because cheese, as one might expect, is one of her favorite foods. Although she dabbled in running during high school, Caroline did not begin to take running seriously until her first year of college at the University of Dubuque in Dubuque, Iowa. Originally recruited as a soccer player, she was coerced by her teammates to join the track team to “stay in shape”. Realizing most of her success as a player was due to being able to run fast and not actual soccer skills, she hung up her cleats and went on to compete for the cross country and track teams as a middle distance specialist. Post collegiately, Caroline has enjoyed challenging herself with new distances, earning recent PRs in the marathon (3:01) and half marathon (1:21). As a new mom, her goals for the next year are to return to the world of road and trail racing and reclaim all the Strava CRs she lost over the last 9 months. Outside of running, Caroline is a research scientist and microbiologist extraordinaire who enjoys cooking, canoeing, and hiking.
Ryne grew up playing baseball and football in the small town of Dayton, Tennessee with big dreams of batting leadoff for the Atlanta Braves or catching touchdowns in Neyland Stadium. Those dreams were tempered by reality as he neared high school graduation and settled for playing football at Maryville College. His quest for Division 3 glory ended early after one too many concussions and he needed a new sport to fill the void. Running appeared to be safe in terms of potential head injuries and he signed up for a half marathon. He survived and his IT band didn’t hurt too bad to completely turn him off from running. He then wondered aimlessly through the endurance world until he completed the local trail running rite of passage by running StumpJump in 2014. He finally found his people and passion on the trails and has been hooked ever since. Goals for 2017 include finishing his first 100 miler, the Bighorn Trail Run in Wyoming, chasing PRs at the 50k and 50 mile distance, and volunteering more within the trail community. Beyond that, he will be sneaking away for long runs in the Smoky Mountains as often as he can.
Josh’s passion for running became quite obvious in his early days of high school. Growing up, he desired to be a multi-sport athlete. Yes, he worked hard at these team sports, but he began realizing his favorite part of a basketball practice was beating everyone in the dreaded “suicides.” He became a full-time runner his sophomore year of high school and represented Independence High School several times at the state meet. After a mediocre college career at Belmont University, Josh graduated with a passion to still strive for his lifelong, lofty goal of cracking the 4 minute mile. However, he most likely should have quit running competitively this past summer when he and his dog Bro set the World Record in the human-dog mile, clocking 4:15 at the State Street Mile in Santa Barbara. He now constantly questions why he is still running competitively as he knows he will never top that achievement
Born February 9th, 1991, Jennifer Huang was bred and raised in the research triangle of North Carolina. She grew up as a sister, scholar, and athlete, rising to new heights in the ranks of young female tennis players. After being recruited by a few schools as a high school senior, she made the controversial decision to put academics ahead of athletics and settled for Duke University. There, she played club tennis and learned the ins and outs (but mostly the ins) of anthropology (the evolutionary kind) and biology. She took her two majors and superb reflexes at the net to Vanderbilt Medical School, where her life would change forever. On a warm August morning not long after settling in to her new home, she travelled to Smyrna with almost friends and future teammates Joey Elsakr, Ben Li, and Jeannette Mathieu where she made her 5k (and racing in general) debut at the Smyrna Parks 5k. Over the next few years, she started training and racing regularly, with her running training now taking priority (most of the time) over tennis. She has since set a 5k PR of 19:20; and in 2016, she traveled to Indianapolis to run her debut half marathon in 1:27:35, a distance that she had previously claimed that she would never race. She feels honored to be considered a part of this esteemed group of NRCers! Jennifer’s 2017 goals include running a sub-19 minute 5k and setting a new half marathon PR.
Hannah was born and raised in Nashville, TN and her parents put her in any sport that would wear her out! Growing up, Hannah ran cross country and track in grade school, and her junior and senior years of high school. After high school she was completely burned out and vowed to never run another mile in her life! While in college at Samford University (in Birmingham, Alabama), Hannah quickly realized the “Freshman 15” was no joke and southern fried food was no help. Several months into her freshman year of college she began, putting her former love of running and swimming to the test and began training for her first triathlon (olympic distance) in 2013. After completing her first triathlon her love for running grew and the following year she completed her first marathon (2014)! After completing the marathon, her love for running was reignited and she has completed 3 marathons! It wasn’t until her senior year of college that she began wanting to run more competitively and race various distances more frequently. After qualifying for the Boston marathon and graduating college in 2016, Hannah has focused her attention on racing more frequently and improving times in anything from 5k’s to marathons. Goals for 2017 include: setting new PR’s, increase weekly mileage and entering competitive races! When Hannah is not running, you can find her swimming, (attempting to) practice yoga, assistant coaching for NYA xc and track, and working at lululemon athletica and personal training.
Ben is originally from Lompoc, California where he began his running days doing cross country in high school. He fell in love with the trails and the transcendental emotion of running hard alongside others in the middle of nowhere. He completed high school with a 3 mile best of 15:34 and then went on to run cross country and track for Harvard College, where he learned to run in really, really cold weather. Now as an NRC runner (and also a fourth year medical student at Vanderbilt), he carries an indomitable will to improve and defy the odds.
You know what they say… fast doctors are good doctors. His goal is to become the fastest doctor, and will be ready for when they decide to start hosting the Doctor World Cross Country Championships. Ben races distances ranging from the 800m to the marathon and has established quite the reputation for making wrong turns and miscounting laps. Ben can be seen training with teammate, classmate, and occasional friend Joey Elsakr most mornings and/or afternoons. In 2017, Ben and Joey are training for the 2:19 Marathon Olympic Standard... for the record, it was Joey's idea.
· 800m: 2:01
· 1 Mile: 4:23
· 3k: 8:47
· 5k: 15:07
· Half Marathon: 68:23
Unlike many of her NRC teammates, Emily's love for running did not start until later in life. A native New Englander, it is rumored that Emily actually quit soccer at the age of 5 because it involved "too much" running. Instead, she spend most of her childhood years as an equestrian competing in hunter jumper events. It was not until she began attending college at the University of Tennessee that Emily started running and she hasn't stopped since. After deciding to run her first full marathon in 2008, Emily has since completed 8 marathons and holds several state age records. When she isn't running, Emily works as an attorney at Lewis, Thomason, King, Krieg & Waldrop, PLC practicing in the areas of education law, labor and employment law, and general civil litigation.
Jeannette was a pretty shrimpy kid growing up, but what she lacked in brute strength she found she could make up for in speed. When she was seven she ran her first PR: a 7:59 mile, one second fast enough to snag a spot on her elementary school's running wall hall of fame and her own laminated sneaker cut-out hanging outside the gym. Each year she ran faster and faster and loved every second of it. Somewhere along the way she got distracted with other sports and activities; although she ran a few seasons of cross country and a season of track in high school, she gave it up by the time she started college. Jeannette attended Vanderbilt University's Blair School of Music and majored in piano performance. The spring before beginning medical school at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, she decided to start running again. After breaking her high school 5K PR that fall, she was totally hooked. Jeannette ran a few more 5Ks, then her first half marathon at the Country Music Half Marathon in April, 2014. This past year she has had many memorable races, including new course records at Vanderbilt Medical School's College Cup 5K and the Shade Tree Trot 5K, as well as new PR's in the 5K (18:01 at the Middle Tennessee Shootout) and half marathon (1:24:25 at the 2015 Country Music Half Marathon). She is very much looking forward to the next year of running and racing!
Unlike many of her fellow NRC Race Team members, Beth didn’t run at the collegiate level, but a few 5Ks and 10Ks a year were enough to help keep weight off while she was attending THE University of Alabama. It wasn’t until 2013 that Beth really started looking towards longer distances . . . and the trails. Since the first step with NRC’s RunWILD training program, she has been completely obsessed with the trails and becoming an ultrarunner. In 2014, Beth realized this by winning Stump Jump 50K, making her the RRCA National Ultra Champion. After a couple of 50Ks and a 40 miler, she completed her first 100 miler at the Pinhoti 100 in 2015. Goals for 2016 include gaining speed at the shorter distance stuff while also surviving her second 100 miler. When she’s not running, you can find Beth working on her own business, occasionally lawyering, and helping with NRC’s trail races and RunWILD training.
Tonya Lumphrey Philippi
Tonya's spark for running started early in elementary school when she came home from field day to report to her mom that she had beat the boys. She has been running ever since. From high school and then on to the University level. (Nebraska Wesleyan) After graduating from college, she moved to Nashville in September 2002. Tonya enjoys racing many distances from 5ks to half-marathons whether they be on road or trails. Tonya is a licensed massage therapist and practices at Practical Massage Therapy.
A native of Hartsdale, New York, Matt Pulle ran Cross Country and Track at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. While at Vanderbilt, Matt captained the Cross Country team and made the Academic All-Sec teams his junior and senior years. Since graduation, Matt has run 12 marathons, all 2:40 or faster with a p.r. of 2:29.37 at the 2003 Grandma's Marathon. As a Master's runner, Matt has posted a 2:40 marathon at the Rocket City Marathon in Huntsville, 1:16.19 Half Marathon in Memphis and a 16:10 in the 5000 meters at the Music City Distance Carnival. A former reporter of 14 years, Matt now works as an attorney and lives in East Nashville with his wife and two children.
Kris Rehm joined the NRC race team in August 2013. Kris has always had a love of running,..since middle school track in the 1980's!! She competed at Ohio University where her highlights included being named the Ohio runner of the year in the fall of 1993 and the Mid-American Track Athlete of the year after a triple race feat of 10K win (35:40), 3K 3rd place finish (9:50) and 5k victory (17:20). That, though, was a long time ago!! The highlight of the 2013 racing season for Kris was representing the NRC race team at the Nashville Women’s Half Marathon where she finished 2nd overall. Now she is a local masters competitor, mother of 4 boys, and pediatrician at the Monroe Carell Jr Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt.
Jess grew up in Scotch Plains, New Jersey trying her hand at every sport the town offered - soccer, basketball, dance and lacrosse. She started running her sophomore year of high school when she joined winter track to get in shape for lacrosse. From there, she came to love the truthfulness of running and how your time is - most often - a direct reflection of the hard work that you're willing to put in (unless, of course, there's bad weather, a race-day "injury" or a sleepless night among other excuses to blame it on). After dropping 30 seconds on her mile time during the spring season of her senior year, she realized she had found "her sport", but unfortunately (what she thought was) too late.
Little did she know that a year after moving to Nashville to study chemical engineering at Vanderbilt, she would fall in with an awesome crew by working at NRC (where she gets her real education). Soon after, she was talked into trying out the trails with RunWILD and then her first ultra, StumpJump, last fall. Although she hasn't set any time goals for 2017 (yet), she's looking forward to racing and training more on the trails and hopes to get her butt on the track for a workout or two (but don't hold her to it) this year.
Running was always the punishment that Tony received while playing the "normal" sports as a kid. He didn't choose to run until his Junior year of high school when the team promised to take a training trip to Myrtle Beach. They never took that trip, but he fell in love with the sport, anyway. After only running about 20-30 miles a week in high school, he chose to walk on to the University of Kentucky's XC team his freshman year. After the first week of practice, he realized that he was going to have to work really hard to get fit and stay injury free. He had some trouble staying injury free and chose to compete in events outside of school. He picked up cycling and swimming to stay fit and eventually got into triathlons. He has run hundreds of races since then and has even competed as a professional triathlete since 2009. Whether he is swimming, biking, or running, he is always looking to compete against the best. For 2016, he is looking for a few personal bests in the 5 and 10k distances and looking to run his first marathon since 2008.
* 6:02 Beer Mile PR and Reigning Nashville Brew Mile Champ!!
Lee’s running story is made up of the stuff Hollywood film executives geek out over: The small town track star turned down big scholarship money to try his luck (talent) walking on to the University of Oregon track team. And he made the cut. After college, Lee cut his teeth in the corporate world working for Johnson & Johnson before, again following his gut, and opening East Nashville’s first ever running store: yep, you got it, Nashville Running Company. While Lee could rest his laurels on having run in the same ranks as such running gods as Steve Prefontaine, Lee is now focused on inspiring and equipping the next generation of runners …and matching the times (4-minute mile, 14-minute 5k) that earned him a spot in his high school hall of fame. (Penned by Alexa Hinton)