NRC Runners of the Month – Mary Beth Moore and Brian Petak

Mary Beth Moore

Just six years ago our female NRCer of the Month was recovering from a broken femur. Yep. Femur. After surgery and pins in both her hip and leg, getting back on her feet would not be easy, but Mary Beth Moore was determined. She set her sights on local charity 5K, Change for a Chance. It would be the first of many momentous finish lines and her introduction to NRC.

Mary Beth is a Nolensville native and in her roughly five decades in the close-knit community, she has seen a lot of changes in the landscape. She attended grade school at the Nolensville Historic School building before classes were moved to the Nolensville Recreation Center building. Now, thanks to community efforts, the Nolensville Historic School is on the National Register of Historic Places and with more people craving the small town charm of the area there are numerous schools and a full service recreation center all serving Nolensville residents with more growth to come.

“Honestly, I never thought I would be a part of such a great club, especially a running club,” she confessed looking back on life before NRC.

With limited options for athletics growing up, Mary Beth took baton twirling and piano lessons for several years. At 5’ 9″, she was a shoo-in for basketball her sophomore year, but quit the next year because they switched the girls court from a half court to full court like the boys. The extra running on the court and in practice was a deal breaker. If her sophomore self could only see her now.

A regular kingpin, Mary Beth was a card-carrying member of several area bowling leagues back in the day. In fact, it was the glow of lanes that lit the scene for her first date with her husband, Kenneth. The two will celebrate 34 years of marriage this year.

Mary Beth has always been an “on and off” walker for exercise. Walking the track at the ballpark while her boys practiced baseball and football. She knew Scott and Kelli Alexander from youth sports events over the years. So, when she learned about NRC at the Change for a Chance 5K she told Kenneth to check it out.

“He kept encouraging me to come and try intervals,” she said. “But, I had to practice on my own first.”

After building her confidence, she decided to participate in the NRC Couch to 5K Program in 2014. She was put in the 4:1 intervals group initially. It was a challenge for her and while she pushed herself and was able to keep up, she made the decision to train with the 2:1 interval group. She met her goal and finished strong!

As will happen with us runner types, somehow Mary Beth went from the couch to 5K to a Half Marathon! In spite of back injuries that had her doctor recommending she ease up on her mileage, she committed to running the Carmel Half Marathon. Kenneth was already training for the full and she was making the trip with him, so why not!

2015 was a big year for Mary Beth. Back to back weekends doing Half Marathons – Carmel and Country Music. That year she also did the Nashville Running Club four race, 6-mile trail series and four 5Ks!

Still, her proudest accomplishment was the Carmel Half, which she completed in 2:41:33 – a personal record for her that year. She credits a lot of her success to several dedicated training partners who kept her company across the miles throughout their training including Suzanne Wolff, Stefanie Waterman, and Rick and Melissa Sears.

“At the end of the Carmel race and coming to the finish line, I was so overwhelmed by all of the NRC members cheering and high fives, exhausted, and feeling quite proud of myself,” she laughed. “I got to see what the inside of a race medical tent looks like! I could not breathe!”

Since the end of that year, Mary Beth has decided that walking is right for her and now she is a part of a growing group of NRC walkers. Her regular Facebook posts and consistent presence are a big motivator for her fellow walkers, but in turn she says she depends on her friends Marion Mitchell, Nancy Foust, Deborah Chapman, Suzanne and Stefanie to hold her accountable and make the miles fun!

Mary Beth participated and ranked in the top ten females for the 2016 NRC Summer Grand Prix challenge. Her fastest walk was the Smyrna 5K where she was able to keep a 13:36 pace on the fairly flat course. A self-proclaimed, Real Housewife of Nolensville, Mary Beth is all about her family! She, Kenneth, and their two sons Rusty and Andy all took part in the inaugural NRC Rollin’ Nolen 10 Miler.

“They ran and I walked. Well, I ran down a couple of hills,” she joked. “This race was so cool. A couple of the roads I had only been on a few times in my 50 years in Nolensville. Never thought I would run (walk) the streets of Nolensville!”

She’s training for the 2017 Hot Chocolate 15K in Nashville and has succumbed to the peer pressure to sign up for 2017 Oak Barrel Half.

So, if you think that you can’t join NRC because you think you have to be a “runner”, you’ll have to find another excuse.

“Anyone can be a part of this group. You don’t have to run,” said Mary Beth. “Walking is great exercise. I have met so many new people and friends that I would not have met without this club.”

From our weekly runs to our charity and social events, Mary Beth is a great example how NRC is not just a running club or a walking club, for that matter. It is an encouraging community, so no more excuses. We’ll see you next Wednesday!

ROTM Speed Round

Post run splurge: Since Saturday is my long walk day, my favorite splurge is having breakfast and coffee at Mama’s Java. And I do like M & M’s!

Favorite TV shows: Survivor and The Middle

Hobbies: Keeping Kenneth out of trouble, helping out with family when needed and playing with and taking care of our high maintenance dog, Macy!


Brian Petak

Brian Petak is a modern Renaissance man. Not only is he a skilled runner, but an incredibly talented pianist with a natural gift of sharing his faith through words and inspiring others. His adventures have taken him across the globe and granted him access to some amazing once in a lifetime experiences. We knew his fellow NRCers would want to know, so read on to discover the many sides of our male Runner of the Month, Brian Petak!

Our story starts on the shores of Lake Michigan. A die-hard Green Bay Packers fan, Brian lived in Racine, WI from about age 5 until he moved to Nashville. While he misses being right on the lake, he doesn’t miss the harsh winters. I may be wrong, but that could be due to him being the oldest kid in a family that didn’t own a snow blower. Just sayin’.

In 1998, while on staff at a church in WI, he heard that Fellowship Bible Church was looking for a music and worship pastor. As a musician and songwriter, this seemed like a great opportunity to move closer to Music City. Through this role, he has expanded their music program and now oversees their Global Outreach Program traveling to cultivate partnerships in places such as South Sudan, Uganda, Peru, Germany, Jordan, and Russia. He gets in runs when able, like his run on the snowy streets of Moscow in sub-zero weather this past month!

“Honestly, my faith is at the very core of who I am,” Brian explained.  “I’ve made so many mistakes in my life (and still do!), but God has changed me from the inside out, replaced my guilt with an eternal hope, and given me a fresh start.”

Brian also loves music. To constructively channel his energy, his Mom handed him over at 4 years of age to a fledgling piano teacher. He was a natural, and has continued to develop his talent in both classical music and jazz improvisation ever since. He’s played the piano for two U.S. Presidents – George HW Bush & Gerald Ford; as well as VP Dan Quayle, and one of his songs was performed on stage at the Ryman Auditorium with a 200 voice choir and full orchestra!

Brian is also an accomplished songwriter and has been fortunate to have his several songs published over the years. In fact, he and his wife Heidi co-wrote a Christmas musical for kids which, of course, had to get the stamp of approval from their four youngsters.

With four boys between the ages of 7 and 14 there is never a dull moment in the Petak household. Josiah, Jonathan, Joshua, and Justin love regular sing-a-longs with Dad and packing up the family Pop-Up Camper to head outdoors and hike, fish, and swim. As his kids get older, he hopes to do more backpacking.

Not so long ago Brian was climbing Colorado’s 14ers – mountains over 14,000 feet in elevation. He has climbed seven of the 54 peaks so far, so he and his crew have some work to do!

As for running, Brian never ran consistently until 2008 when a couple friends jokingly told him he needed to get into shape. He trained for the Music City Half Marathon, and lost over 35 pounds in just a couple months. He finished the half marathon and thought to himself, “I’m halfway to a marathon – why not keep going?” So he ran his first marathon a few months later.

“I really didn’t know what I was doing,” Brian admitted. “Since NRC, I’ve really studied and researched training technique and nutrition, continually trying to improve. But the greatest benefit has been the friendships.”

Brian started running with NRC in the winter of 2012-2013 while training for the Music City Marathon (MCM). He ran a few times with John Pryor and a group who kept talking about the Carmel Marathon in Indiana that fell the week before the MCM. Brian was training for a PR and at the NRC Wednesday Night Run the week of the Carmel Marathon, John convinced him he was more likely to PR in Carmel than in Nashville. Three days later, he was in the Pryor’s minivan on the way to Carmel. Brian ran a 3:29 marathon and gained some close friends who continue to inspire him to run today

A certified fastie, Brian has earned stellar times at several races including a 3:37:00 at his first marathon, the 2008 Fox Cities Marathon (Appleton, WI), a 3:25:09 (PR) at the 2015 Erie (PA) Marathon, 20:14 (PR) at the 2016 Run Rock Roll 5K (Nolensville), and 2nd place age group at the inaugural Rollin’ Nolen! Plus, I don’t know what’s more impressive, his three-peat of consecutive 1st in age group awards at the 5K4MLK, or his ability to eat and run which earned him 2015 Hoggin n Joggin’s 1st place male Iron Hogger!

Currently, he’s training diligently to get a marathon PR and wipe away the memory of his 3:25:09 finish time which caused him to miss a BQ by 9 seconds! His bucket list includes a trail ultra, a 50K, and a 50 miler.

A few years ago, Brian made a conscious effort to get more involved with NRC. Brian volunteered his musical talents to play at NRC’s inaugural Giving Thanks Dinner for Nolensville public servants and at the year-end bash.

But, he said it would be really hard to top the experience of delivering the NRC Angel Tree gifts to Tusculum Elementary School first graders, many of whom are from refugee families who come to the U.S. with very little in the way of possessions.

“Seeing the joy on their faces is something I’ll never forget,” he added. “NRC is such a giving community, and it was special to be able to represent NRC that day.”

We’re proud to have Brian representing NRC and blessed for all the many strengths he contributes that make our club better.


Favorite post-run calorie splurge: Kettle-cooked potato chips and pizza!

Favorite book: Born to Run by Christopher McDougall. I highly recommend it. Re-reading Endurance about Earnest Shackleton’s 1915 attempt to sail to Antarctica and be the first to traverse over the South Pole on foot.

Hobbies: Music, there is nothing like sitting down at a piano and playing… working on a new classical piece… writing a song… And I love seeing my boys learn piano, saxophone, violin, and guitar.

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