I’m a Runner: Nelson Aspen

Nelson Aspen, 51, New York, Channel Seven Sunrise showbiz editor


I’m not athletically gifted. I would never be able to score a goal. I probably wouldn’t be able to return a hard serve. Running is something that doesn’t require any particular talent, it just requires a sturdy body to take the impact, and my body reacts to that very well.

I work so much, and my life is so hectic and social that running is an escape for me. I don’t take any music with me, I tune out from work, I put on my shoes and just hit the road. It’s really my only alone time. Very restorative.

Because of my work schedule I tend to pick marathons that fit in with that. When I was planning my trip to Los Angeles [U.S.] to cover the Oscars this year, I ran the L.A. Marathon.

I love the recipe of marathon training and I try to encourage everybody to do it. If you can run 10K today, you can train for a marathon in six months. It’s just a mathematical thing. I think anybody can do it.

In 2008 I took my dad to Bermuda so we could celebrate his birthday and I could run the marathon [4:03:23]. The day after the race, I got a call: Heath Ledger had died. I contacted Sunrise, and they said “Get to New York, now!” Off I went and stood in snow and ice for a week reporting on the story as it unfolded.

Asking me if I have a favourite marathon is like saying, Do you have a favourite child?

I’m very self-competitive. In ultras and the triathlons, there’s a level of competition that doesn’t appeal to me. I compete with myself, but not with other runners.

Nothing beats leaving Martin Place from brekkie central and heading directly down to the Sydney Harbour. I like to go up and down the Opera House steps like “Rocky” and into the Botanic Gardens.

Running saved my life. I’m a foodie, so running helps me burn off the sins of the evening.

I don’t get star struck by movie stars. The runners I interview in my book, My Prime Time – Dean Karnazes, Roger Bannister, Katherine Switzer – they’re my heroes. They show me that if you’re wise about it, you can run every day, every year of your life.


Nelson Aspen’s new memoir My Prime Time is published by New Holland Publishers (A$24.95).


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