Marathon Runner Spotlight: Noella

Kick off September with Noella’s Runner Spotlight! This Brooklynite had to take some time off from running due to a knee injury, but she’s back and ready to tackle her first-ever Marathon! Noella has volunteered with PAWS NY in the past and loves to take long walks with her pup, Elsie. 

“Older adults are such an important part of our society and are so often overlooked, as are animals,” she said. “Being able to support older adults and form a connection with them via their companion animals is amazing. The work of PAWS NY is so important on so many levels!”

Noella Runner Spotlight
Noella in Joshua Tree

Read Noella’s full Q&A below to learn more about another one of our runners for the TCS New York City Marathon!

Why did you decide to run the Marathon? Have you participated in long races in the past?

After taking a running class through JackRabbit, I ran a Half Marathon at Central Park 12 years ago, and around mile 6 in the race I injured my knee. Alas, I kept running and had a good time (just under 2 hours)! But I also screwed up my knee so bad that I couldn’t run even a mile for the next 10 years. After 10 years, I began running on a treadmill in my building’s gym and was feeling pretty good (outside still upset my knee), but then when the pandemic struck, I couldn’t run indoors anymore so began running at a local track.

When the pandemic threatened to close the track, I took to the parks and have been amazed that for the past year I’ve been able to pound the streets with no pain! I credit regular yoga with my success, and by working from home and fewer social engagements I’ve had more time to run. 

My ability to run again has been an emotional and exciting experience. I truly never thought I’d be able to run again after that injury, which was very sad for me, and the fact that this past April I ran 21 miles just astounds me. Since I am still working from home, it feels like if I’m ever going to run a Marathon, this is the year. And I love NYC, so what better race to participate in? I’ve only run two races before: a 10K and that Central Park Half Marathon. 

What is your connection to PAWS NY? Why is this cause important to you?

About 9 or 10 years ago, I began volunteering with PAWS NY walking Cleo for Arthur in Brooklyn Heights. My husband and I had recently lost our dogs to cancer and I was desperate to find a way to spend more time with dogs without yet being emotionally ready to adopt a new friend. I walked Cleo once a week for approximately a year until Arthur passed away. Cleo was adopted by an amazing couple in Arthur’s building and I visited her once. I would have volunteered walking another pup, but around that time I started working in Brooklyn and there weren’t any clients close to my home or work. 

The PAWS NY mission really resonates with me. Older adults are such an important part of our society and are so often overlooked, as are animals. Being able to support older adults and form a connection with them via their companion animals is amazing. Obviously keeping people with their pets is critical, but I think even the 10-minute interactions between the walker and owner is so valuable in keeping people connected to their communities. It also helps the volunteer connect with their neighbors and other New Yorkers. Your work is so important on so many levels!

Do you have any pets of your own? Did you grow up with pets?

Yes! Elsie, though we call her Elsie Bear. She’s a ~9.5 year old rescue. She can be painfully shy while also being beyond herself with joy when she sees her canine friends. I grew up with dogs (cat allergies) and they were/are always considered a key member of the family. 

How long have you been running? What are some of your favorite places to run?

In my recent iteration, I’ve been running 2.5 years. Before that, I ran off and on from high school through the age of 30. I live in Bay Ridge so spend most of my time running along the water on the Shore Road Promenade and in the parks that line Shore Road. I recently ran up the Hudson River in Manhattan and it was so fun! A nice change of scene.

Noella & Elsie
Noella & Elsie

What do you do in your free time (besides run)?

I walk my dog a lot! I also love biking or taking the ferry to the beach, going out for cocktails, visiting museums, going to my favorite vegan restaurants, and travelling.

Share 2-3 fun facts about yourself! What should we know?

1) In 4th grade I tried out for my school’s chorus group…and I was the only person not to make it!

2) I still occasionally listen to cassette tapes. Mix tapes from college are the best!

3) My first car was a yellow 1973 VW Beetle. 

What are your goals for the Marathon? How can PAWS support you?

Finish the race! If I can finish it in 4.5 hours, I’ll be over the moon!

Thanks to Noella for her dedication to PAWS NY! Donate to Noella or the rest of the PAWS NY Marathon team here.