From Australia to Venezuela to Japan, NRC has recruited runners from all over the globe on its way to world domination. Recently I got to delve into the stories of two such NRCers of the Month who add to the richness of our international diversity, adding France and Poland to our ranks. Bruno and Marta Dedieu are charismatic and fun to be around. Throughout their experiences they have approached life with a sense of wonder, diving head first into new challenges and inspiring others to dream big. I sat down with them to learn more about their lives, loves and running.
Bruno and Marta Dedieu
NRC: Let’s start at the beginning. Where were you each born?
B: Montgeron, France; 14 miles from downtown Paris. We had a beautiful forest behind our neighborhood and my high school was an 18th century castle. From 3 years old to my college years, we’d go twice a year to ski the French Alps and spend the summer in the south of France where we could swim in the river or sea every day. Great memories!
M: Legnica, Poland. I was surrounded by family, lots of cousins. Growing up, our country was in the midst of changing regimes from a communist-style, planned economy into a market economy and it held its first partially free and democratic parliamentary elections since the end of WWII. Although I was only a kid, I was aware of changes going on around me.
NRC: We know you run now, but growing up what were your interests?
M: Starting at 10, I played basketball for my school. I also was a member of my high school track team (not by choice). Every first year student was required to participate in a timed race and I came in second! So, anytime there was an event, I was selected to run in it.
B: I played basketball, tennis, Rugby and, even though it was not as popular in France, baseball and softball. My co-ed softball team won the French Championship in 2005. Running then was only part of training for other sports.
NRC: What brought you to the U.S.? What other travels have you done?
B: I started travelling solo at age 16 to the UK, then to the US at age 18. During my trips to Florida through a host family I grew to love America. The American dream and belief that anyone can succeed if they put their mind to it, intrigued me. I’ve been to many countries in Europe, Canada, the French West Indies and Asia.
M: When I was 16, I joined our local folk dance group and participated in multiple shows across Europe. I moved to France in 2003 to work at EuroDisney. It was supposed to be a 3-month job, but it turned into 6 years!
NRC: EuroDisney! How cool! What was that like?
M: At Disneyland Paris (EuroDisney), I started as a parade dancer and finished in the VIP Relations office, where I got to organize the visits for big events as well as private tours of government officials (Nicolas Sarkozy), celebrities (Michael Jackson) and anyone else who was willing to pay a hefty price for a private guide!
B: I worked during the opening of Eurodisney, but I did not meet Marta then. I held titles like Steam Train Conductor and Steamboat Captain in the French Magic Kingdom, which was fun, and went on to take part in the Walt Disney World College and International Program, working at Epcot and other Disney parks in Florida.
NRC: It’s a small world after all! So, when did your paths finally meet?
B: At a “EuroDisney” barbecue, at a friend’s house. I was making my rounds chatting with everyone.
M: I noticed him talking to a guy who was known as kind of a Disney “geek” and so I assumed Bruno was too. I would eventually learn that Bruno talks to EVERYONE! A few days after the party, my friend got a call and it was Bruno calling to speak with me! We had a long conversation. Bruno mentioned he was planning to run on a trail not even a mile from my home and I agreed to meet him after work one day. As it happened, that day I had to work late. I decided to walk anyway and mid-way in I bumped into Bruno. He says he was running late too, but I joke that he kept running circles until I showed up.
B: While we were still on the trail, it started to rain! Since Marta lived so close, she invited me to take shelter at her house and have a cup of tea. I don’t drink tea (what I call colored water), but I accepted to spend more time with her.
NRC: No way! Your first date was on the running trail! Talk about foreshadowing. So what brought you stateside?
M: A month later, just as we were falling for each other, Bruno got word that his Green Card application had gone through! He had applied annually for several years because of his experiences and interest in the U.S. Ironically, I’d also gone through the process of getting a VISA to visit the U.S. as a tourist and was looking forward to seeing America.
B: I knew that I’d found my match in Marta. I couldn’t imagine moving to the U.S. without her, so I proposed. We celebrated with two weddings, one in France and one in Poland where we had a church ceremony and then everyone feasted and drank for 2 days!
NRC: How was life in the U.S.? How’d you end up in Nolensville?
B: We first moved to Florida in 2008. The job market in the U.S. was in decline, so the engineering leads I’d established prior to moving were not there when I arrived, but I eventually found a position in Dubuque, Iowa.
M: I got a job, too – at the Dubuque Airport, which only had 4-flights per day! It was a small staff, so I did everything from the ticket counter to de-icing planes! Between the brutal Iowa winters and it being so remote (the hottest shopping was Kohls), we were ready to move when Bruno found a Project Manager position in Nashville in 2012.
NRC: I heard the move wasn’t without hiccups, or labor pains, to be more accurate. Weren’t you due to have your first child?
M: Yes! My due date was supposed to be Bruno’s first day on the job in Nashville! Little Emma decided to take her time and it was two weeks after that when she arrived. We only had a few weeks to get the hang of parenthood, before we had to move into our apartment in Nashville. We lived there until we found a home in Nolensville.
NRC: Marta, you’re an NRC Couch to 5K Class of 2015 graduate. How did you hear about it?
M: In 2015, I saw an advertisement for the NRC C25K. I signed up with all the good intentions in the world (the kind that hell is paved with, LOL!). On a whim, I went to the first meeting with reasons it wouldn’t work. I didn’t have childcare, but someone said there were these amazing young ladies who were offering to watch kiddos on those nights! Running had never been fun for me in the past. I thought, “Why would this be different?” Then I saw this woman (the indomitable Wendy Mucci) standing on a piece of furniture, waving her arms and yelling something encouraging and I thought, “OK, these people are fun!” Then, I started talking to the older gentleman sitting near me and found out it was the Mayor… who had just run a marathon! So I was hooked.
Their help with pacing was a game-changer for me. I’d always thought running was about pushing yourself to go as fast as you can all the time. Because the NRC C25K program helped me focus on keeping a comfortable pace, I finished the race strong.
B: Marta convinced me to sign up for the 5K race. It was supposed to be a one-time thing. I only did one training run and I got a time of 25 minutes! Marta convinced me to go to the C25K celebration potluck and I met Scott Alexander. I remember Scott mentioning Boston Qualifiers (BQs) within the group and I thought, “I have no idea what that is.” But, I researched it and was amazed at the level of performance of these athletes. Everyone was very nice and I started coming on Wednesdays.
NRC: So, Bruno, how did you go from not even knowing about the Boston Marathon to running in it?
B: The first time I ran with NRC, I was about 20 feet from the fast pack chasing Jason Loyd, David Dye, Joe Relyea, Eric Waterman and others trying to not get lost. That was my goal every Wednesday. I may have gotten lost a few times, but by December I was able to hang with them. I signed up for the Birmingham Marathon with the dream of getting a BQ and trained hard. Race day came and I had a strong first half, which allowed me to play it safe and maintain my pace. I only sped up once to pass one guy on my way to the finish line and was well within the time limit for my BQ! It was an amazing feeling to BQ on my first marathon after only 9 months of running!
NRC: Bruno, that’s amazing! I understand you also got a PR and BQ at Boston! Your training and hard work has definitely paid off. How did you and Marta balance everything with your growing family?
B: Marta sacrificed a lot while I trained for my BQ and for Boston. I’m very grateful! In 2016, we had our second child. Marta wasn’t able to run through her pregnancy, but since having our daughter she is back to running and often is pushing a stroller, too!
M: Even though I started running 2 years ago, it has been tough. Still I am excited to be back into running. Our girls love playing with Miss Claire and Miss Jessica on Wednesdays so it makes it easy to take the time and run! I’m working towards some goals of my own. My results are still not where I want them to be, but I am very proud I was able to improve my 5K PR by 2:30 minutes this summer!
NRC: Since participating in C25K, you both have mentored and coached each year. You’ve made many close friendships and become a part of the fabric of NRC. In fact, your fabric choice of hot pink running shorts even got a mention in the NRC Holiday Party skit! What does it mean to you to have this type of community feel in a running club?
M: Since we have no family in the U.S. it means a lot to us. Everyone with NRC is encouraging. You feel accepted, connected and supported. We could not have met our goals without NRC.
NRC: At the 2016 NRC Rollin’ Nolen race, Bruno, injury kept you from running, but you took photographs instead. I distinctly remember you lying on the pavement to get some shots! Any favorite moments you captured?
B: There is one – two skilled runners (Diego and Hunter) chasing each other over the Nolensville hills with nature as their witness. This photograph tells the story of this race, something I’m searching for in my photos.
NRC: While you’ve both had injuries or circumstances slow you down at times, it is clear that you are determined when it comes to your goals. So, what’s next?
B: PR for Indianapolis Marathon, Boston 2018, then 5k/10k 2018 season. Maybe Chicago, too next year? Sky’s the limit for NRCers.
M: For now, my biggest goal is a sub-2 at the Middle Half, but I’m seriously considering a full next year.
NRC: You two were both part of the Disney family and I’m sure you’ve seen many, if not all of the Disney movies. I’m curious. Which Disney character is your favorite?
B: Simba – we have a similar life story more or less.
M: Stitch – from Lilo and Stitch because of his mischievous, yet lovable personality.
NRC: Aw. Funny! Well, you both bring such energy to our running family and we are excited to shine a light on all you have accomplished. Congrats! We are so glad to have you as part of NRC!
ROTM Speed Round: Marta
Non-running Hobby? I like to read a good book. I also love photography and would like to get back to dance once I have more time!
Happy Music: 90s and early 2000s – reminds me of my teens and twenties!
Dream Buy: a private jet to travel around the globe!
Must-have gear: running watch – just got a Garmin Forerunner 735XT for my birthday, its awesome (Thank you, Love!)
ROTM Speed Round: Bruno
Non-running Hobby? Video games / Photography / RC flying (my last flight was two years ago…)
Music that motivates: Sirius XM BPM (Dance Music – Channel 51)!!! It gives you the right cadence!
Dream Buy: Time – to just train, rest and race at peak performance (with no job constraint) Just to find out my true limits and race around the world.
Must-have gear: Garmin Forerunner 935!