This Week’s Featured Runner #6

I have been extremely fortunate to have met so many amazing people through Mile Twenty Eight.  This week’s featured runner is one that I have personally been inspired by and I’m thrilled that I can introduce him to all of you as well.  He has a powerful story behind what has helped improved most as a runner and  why he “gets to run.”

{I have a great lineup of runners who are ready to share their stories, goals, training plans, favorites, and much more.  I hope to introduce you to one of them each week.  If you are interested in becoming a featured runner, I would love to hear from you.  Email me:}

Meet Shawn!

My name is Shawn Mastrantonio. I am 42 yrs. old, soon to be 43 in November. I live in Sayre, Pennsylvania and have lived in the Sayre, “valley” area, for the majority of my life. I just started a new career as a Teacher’s Aide for the Sayre Area School District. I am not even a month in and it has already been very rewarding. My wife,Kim, and I recently celebrated our 8th anniversary by trekking to one of our favorite getaways, Lake George, NY.  I have a rare, mostly hereditary, cancer syndrome called VHL. I had a brain tumor removed from my right cerebellum in 1993.

What are your goals?  I first started running in 9th grade but it wasn’t for sport. My childhood best friend and I were always running late for school so we would actually run to school to make it in time. I ended up going out for Cross Country & Track the following years. I ran 1 year of track in college and the took a 20 yr. hiatus from running. I stayed active during that time and thought I was in descent shape. In November 2008, I was diagnosed with 3 brain tumors, one of which was a tumor recurrence from the previous surgery. At that point, it was time to start taking better care of myself. Hence, the beginning of my journey with running was born. This past January I had surgery to remove one of the tumors as it had started to grow at a fast rate. During those 4 years, running physically and mentally prepared me. I read a quote, “I never thought one thing could ever change my life until I started running,” that definitely applies to my life. I am so thankful and blessed to be able to run.

What is your weekly mileage/mileage composition? (types of workouts you do or enjoy doing)  My typical running week usually ends up with 30ish miles logged. I will admit that I don’t have a “running plan” as I just love to run. I like going to the track once a week for a “speed” workout, run a distance run of 8 miles or more, then I just add miles when I can.

What are some of your race day rituals OR pre race day rituals?  I woundn’t say that I have any race day rituals as I just try to keep everything routine. I don’t want anything to get me off track.

What is your favorite race? (race name/location/distance), favorite race distance, or a race on your bucket list? OR include all three!  My favorite distance/ race to run is the Half Marathon. I am currently training for the Wineglass Half Marathon. It will mark 9 months post-op from surgery. My first goal is always to finish and if that happens my goal is to cross in 1hr:35mins or less. This will be a PR and my way of telling VHL that I’m in control.

What changes have you made that have most helped you to improve as a runner?  The biggest change with my running came with changing my outlook about running. After being told about the brain tumors, my running was more out of anger and fear. At that time, I think I was trying to run away from what was going on in my life. It took a couple years but it finally happened. I looked at running rather than “having to” but “getting to” run. I realized that there are many people who don’t have ability to run and all this time I hadn’t been looking at it as a gift.

What are your favorite snacks, products, gear, recipes?  I’m kind of a no frills runner. I wear a garmin watch but don’t have any gadgets or wear anything special to run in such compression sleeves. My new favorite snack is maple covered almonds. Other than that, I am a huge pasta and veggie fan.

What is your biggest accomplishment running-wise?  My favorite running moment is running the 2011 Binghamton Bridges Half Marathon on May 15th. It was my Mom’s 74th birthday and also marked my father’s death from VHL (5-15-1980). It was one of those life changing days…

What is your favorite activity you use to supplement your running?  Outside of running the 2 main things I focus on is my diet and maintaing my strength. I eat a lot but it’s more about what I eat. I look at food as fuel and nourishment. If it isn’t going to do either then I don’t eat it.

How do you get through a tough run?  In order to get through a tough run I just remind myself of the challenges I’ve been through…how blessed I am…and I’ll dedicate miles to people as I go.

How about a random fact about yourself?  A random fact about myself…I need an intervention when it comes to carbs.

Shawn and his beautiful wife

Thank you Shawn for sharing your amazing running journey.  We’re all routing for you and a PR at the Wineglass Half Marathon.  Can’t wait to hear how it goes!

You can follow Shawn on Facebook:  L.U.N.A.R. ( Lace Up Now And Run )

Informational Group on Facebook:  VHL: Spreading Awareness of von Hippel-Lindau

  • Any questions or comments for Shawn?
  • Have you ever heard of VHL?
  • Do you love carbs too?

15 thoughts on “This Week’s Featured Runner #6

  1. I hate carbs – maybe Shawn could share his secrets?

    I love the idea of dedicating miles to people – I am definitely doing that next time it gets hard (like during miles 20-26!). Thanks so much for that!

    • runwkate,
      I wish I shared in your hatred of carbs. I don’t have any secrets except the carbs I eat like rice, pasta, or bread I try to stay with the whole grain types. I’m also a big dark chocolate fan. Dedicating miles really works for me…hope it does you as well.

    • Kat,
      Not sure what keeps me going other than the alternatives…I guess I’m just trying to get the best quality of life and I believe running helps me attain it.
      PS. We have the same best

  2. ConcreteNCoffee, Perspective, Such a wonderful word. I think more of us need it. We so often and unknowingly do it. ( we are human) But I couldn’t agree more.
    Shawn my prayers go out to you and your family. May your strength and will continue.

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