My guest today is someone that I don’t know much about, save for the fact that he’s a runner and a Liverpool FC supporter.
He’s also an ambassador for Athletic Brewing Company and Rabbit.
I am looking forward to learning more about JT Chestnut as we go a few easy miles!
JT Chestnut first began running around the age of 14 shortly before entering high school.
He was motivated to start running because he wanted to try something athletic.
While on a run that summer, a car stopped him and the driver introduced herself as the local cross country coach.
She encouraged him to come to practice and see for himself.
He loved the team so much that he was the captain from sophomore to senior year.
That was when JT first began running and it stuck with him throughout adulthood.
JT came out at the age of 16 as gay.
Along with just enjoying the sport, running was also the one thing that no one could take away from him.
Rock & Roll Devotee
JT moved to LA around 2010 and began running races that were mostly 5k and 10k distances.
He was a huge Whitney Houston fan so when she died, he was devastated and wanted to honor her memory.
JT decided to run his first half-marathon in honor of her and chose the Rock & Roll half because of the connection to music.
He loves music and travel so that first Rock & Roll half jumpstarted a streak of racing them all over the country.
JT is 33 now and after many years of racing, he mostly sticks with races that are in locations he wants to travel to or runs them out of loyalty.
He doesn’t have a preference when it comes to big races versus small races, he enjoys both depending on the scenario.
Confident In His Ability
Prior to completing his first marathon, JT knew that he had it in him.
He crossed the finish line of his first full in March of 2021 and did his second in Las Vegas that same year.
Following those two marathons, he didn’t run another one for 3 more years.
In 2015, JT ran the Chicago marathon in 3 hours and 51 minutes.
During the race weekend, he met Nick Symmonds, a retired Olympian runner.
Nick and himself quickly became friends and spent the coming months meeting up to train.
Training with an Olympian gave JT the confidence to really push himself in the marathon distance.
With added confidence, JT walked away from his next marathon with a PR of 3:37.
In April of 2016, JT completed the London Marathon.
His entry into the race came as a surprise.
He had entered the lottery and like so many, he didn’t get in.
JT was in luck and had a friend with connections that was able to get him a bib for the race that year.
He loved everything about running in London and now plans on eventually completing all the world majors before he is 40.
JT is actively entering all the world major marathon lotteries in the hopes that he can make his goal a reality.
Traveling to races gives JT the chance to combine two of the things he loves most.
As an experienced traveler, his best piece of advice is to always get to the airport early to have time to walk and stretch.
Liverpool Football Club
Shortly after JT completed the London marathon, he went to his first in-person football game.
The game was Liverpool versus Chelsea and JT was immediately hooked on the sport and the energy.
JT is a die-hard Liverpool fan and will take any chance he gets to watch them play whether on television or in person.
The atmospheres at big races and football matches can often mirror each other and that in part is what JT keeps going back for.
JT is preparing to travel overseas again this fall for the Dublin marathon.
He will likely do a few smaller races in the meantime as he continues to work on his fitness.
JT’s increased speed over the years has drawn some attention, most notably from a local brewery that offered to sponsor him.
Running Towards Greater Things
Some runners use the sport as a way to run away from life’s problems.
JT prefers to symbolize running as going towards greater things.
As a 33-year-old, black, gay man he is trying to become a better version of himself every day.
He is proud of his many accomplishments both in the running world and outside of it.
JT has kept up with his sobriety which always comes with challenges.
Running has allowed JT a way to improve his mental clarity, job, and service in his community.
Mentioned In This Episode:
- Dublin Marathon
- Serpentine 10k
- Laguna Hills 10k
- Rock ‘n’ Roll Running Series
- Athletic Brewing Co
As Always, I’d Love to Know What Stood Out to You From this Episode! Let Me Know Your Takeaway in the Comments Below!
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