Run Grouper of the Week: Shawn Castrillo

Introducing Run Grouper of the Week. A series of regular profiles to spotlight some of our most endorphin-addicted friends and expand everyone’s pace group. Don’t be shy – if Shawn sounds like your speed, say hi and make a new running buddy tonight!

Name: Shawn Castrillo

Hometown: New Orleans, LA

High School: Benjamin Franklin Senior High School

College: USL, now University of Louisiana, Lafayette.

Did you compete in college? No, I’m a recent running convert.

Typical Run Group distance: 3.2 to 5 miles.

Typical Run Group pace: Between 11 and 12 minutes/mile

How long have you been running? Two and half years.

Why do you run?
Three years ago, I found out I was diabetic and realized that I needed to do something to improve my health. A few of my friends on Facebook kept posting about all the progress they were making by running, so I decided to sign up for the Crescent City Classic 10k in 2011. I started training for it by running in Audubon Park. That first training session was the first time since college that I had run outdoors.
When was the moment that you identified as a runner?

Right after I finished my first race: the 2011 Crescent City Classic. I was in the finishers’ area and I had a racing bib on just like all the other finishers. I literally thought to myself, “after all these years, I am no longer a spectator, I am a participant.” It felt good. It was definitely a breakthrough and a turning point for me. It told me I could do something if I put my mind to it. Since then, I’ve completed 2 half marathons and a full marathon.

When was your first run group? November of 2011.

What keeps you coming back?
What originally sold me on coming to run group was the inviting, low-intimidation factor. When I was new to running, I was easily intimidated by hard-core runners, but the LRC run group is so easy-going and non-judgmental. I like that any person of any ability can feel welcome there, from the elite to the “I’m just doing this for the first time” person. I try to keep that going by approaching new faces I see at run group and encouraging people I know to participate.

What is your favorite local race?
The Jazz Half Marathon is probably my favorite race that I’ve done multiple times. I also enjoy the little Summer Series races in City Park as a way to experiment and get a little more experience with being in a race scenario with little cost or consequence if your new approach doesn’t work out.

What is your favorite aspect of the New Orleans running community?
In my experience, they’re very friendly and helpful. If you look like you need help, someone will offer it. If I’m running on the levee and take a walk break, a runner will ask if I’m ok. It’s reassuring.

What is your current running goal?
I want to increase my speed so I can cut down my half-marathon time for the Jazz Half in October. But my greatest and foremost goal at run group is to get in good enough shape to become comfortable to be a “no-shirt” runner. Every time I’m on the route and a “no-shirt” run grouper passes me, I think “one day, Shawn, one day…”

For more on LRC Run Group: 

Facebook Page (Live announcements)

Official Group Page (Courses, times, info)