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Northrunning likes to find out what makes runners tick. A new aim at will be an occasional “featured runner” article.

All over the boardwalk in Ocean City, New Jersey are runners who could care less about competition but are still faithful to a daily routine. Over the past week I talked to many. This week’s featured runner is Mandy Hafner of Asheville, North Carolina.

Every morning of her week of vacation Mandy Hafner could be seen jogging the boardwalk from 21 st street to 5 th and back. A recent convert to running, she took the time to answer questions about her newest passion.

When did you start running?

Oh, just about two and a half years ago. I decided I needed more exercise so I started running on and off.

Nothing before that?

Not really. I have to admit that I tried out for the school track team for a day. There was this boy I really liked, Jon Taylor, who was on the school team. The first day practice was in the rain and I never went back. I figured he’d have to stop sometime and who knows!

Any other high school sports?

I was a cheerleader.

Didn’t they make you run?

Sure, but I usually found a way out of it.

So what changed?

After I graduated from college I needed more exercise and knew I had to do something and running seemed like the best idea.

Have you seen any changes?

I have a lot more endurance now. I can go further distances and I think my running form has gotten better.

How has it affected your health?

About a year ago I went to give blood and my blood pressure was 160 over 100 or more. There’s a history of high blood pressure in the family. I said to myself “ You are only 27! This isn’t good!” When they rechecked it, it was even higher. I immediately went to the doctor and was put on medication. Since then I’ve been more consistent in running and am on a whole-food diet. I try to stay away from processed food as much as possible. I always had a good appetite but it used to be mostly junk food. Now I eat a lot better. I’ve lost 25 pounds, I’m off medication and my blood pressure is around 117 over 75.

How many miles do you run a week?

Usually around 8 to 10. I have to get up early and run before work.

How about this week?

The first day I went down to where the boardwalk turns and back. I was surprised to find out how far it was.   (editor’s note: from where she is staying it is four miles round trip). I’ve been doing it everyday.

And what do you think of that?

I feel great.

Mandy Hafner grew up in Pittsburgh PA and moved to California during high school. Her one-day track inspiration, Jon Taylor, stopped running after high school so she has caught back up with him. They now reside in Asheville, NC.

While Mandy prefers to run the boards Jon prefers to work with them. He is a master craftsman and builder of custom cabinets and furniture. Jon has done some research on boardwalk construction and was kind enough to share some insights with me.

They came to Ocean City to meet family for a week’s vacation. By the look of things Jon will soon have to start running again to keep up with Mandy.