Our most senior member of the Northeast Team Beef program is in his mid-60s. David Roy is a 4th generation dairy farmer from Schohaire, NY, and can probably run circles around anyone half his age without breaking a sweat. He recently retired from his career in the agri-seed industry while also raising beef cattle at his home farm. He now maintains a small farm, raising mainly sheep and goats while also caring for his vegetable garden and orchard.
“I’ve always run, I just haven’t stopped. As a kid, most of it was just getting from one place on the farm to another, and then I played soccer in school,” David shares. “I did not actually embrace running as a sport until college. A friend recruited me to fill out an intramural cross-country team form because ‘if I could play soccer I could run.’ Our team won and after that, my friend was all over me to run with him. It just happened that he wanted to qualify for the Boston Marathon so my second race, two months later, was The Johnstown PA Marathon. That was in 1976.”
He continues, “I enjoy running! I am a very outdoorsy person and I also enjoy hiking, biking and skiing. I live in the country and have no interest in going to a gym to work out on machines. I can put on my running shoes and head out the door anytime I want. It is also a sport I can enjoy with my kids. We have been able to run several marathons together, including the 2019 Boston Marathon with my son. I’ll keep qualifying as long as my daughter still has running Boston as her goal. I want to run as long as I can and running helps with physical and mental health. I’m in it for the long haul!”
David is a long-time member of Team Beef. He goes on to say, “My motivation to run on Team Beef came from more than one direction. I was a beef producer and I am a runner. I grew up near Utica, NY, and when Team Beef jerseys started showing up at the Utica Boilermaker, the largest 15K in the U.S., joining Team Beef was a natural fit. I have eaten beef all my life and it tastes great! It’s really only recently that I began to appreciate all of the nutritional benefits I’ve been enjoying throughout the years. Lean beef is a very balanced protein source with essential vitamins that is helping me maintain muscle mass as I age. Also, most people in the U.S. are so far removed from farming, they have little idea where their food comes from or what is involved to sustainability produce it, or the importance of family farms. Being a member of Team Beef is a great way to “talk the talk and walk the walk.”
This summer, David served as the race director for the 14th Forest Run at the Landis Arboretum in mid-August. The run benefited Landis, an arboretum and public garden incorporating hundreds of acres in the Schoharie and Montgomery counties of New York. While most small community races were either cancelled or went virtual due to the COVID-19 pandemic, David was determined to safely direct an in-person race. He shares, “It wasn’t even close to semi-normal. Race planning this year was more like evolution; you had to adapt and keep changing if you were to survive. A virtual race does nothing for me, so I virtually never considered it.” He also had to really control the number of race participants, ultimately being restricted to only 120 New York residents (including volunteers). They limited spectators, implemented waves and rolling starts, wore masks when not running, enforced no-contact protocols for paperwork and food, pre-poured water stations, and included sanitation stations and contact tracing. They even dropped David’s favorite part of any race: the award ceremony. ”The continued success of reopening races largely depends on how we as runners protect each other,” David said “The last thing we want is to have an outbreak trace back to a race. Until then we will just need to continue to adapt, but next year I want an awards ceremony!”