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Tuesday Chat with Team Strava - chat with Strava's Mateo A. Ortega as he preps for the NYC Marathon

Moderator Moderator

Although not as old or iconic as the Boston Marathon, the New York City Marathon has grown to be the biggest marathon in the world with more than 53,000 Finishers in 2019. 


The inaugural race, held in 1970, consisted of multiple laps around Manhattan’s Central Park.

In 1976, the race course changed to the current iconic route, beginning on Staten Island and passing through Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, and The Bronx, then returning to Manhattan to finish at the southwest corner of Central Park.

Runners in Central ParkRunners in Central Park

In addition to the tens of thousands of participants, nearly 2 million spectators line the race course to cheer on the runners.

We recently caught up with Mateo A. Ortega, VP of Connected Partnerships at Strava.  He’s training to run the 2022 NYC Marathon this Sunday, November 6th.

Mateo A. Ortega, VP of Connected Partnerships at Strava, in his natural habitatMateo A. Ortega, VP of Connected Partnerships at Strava, in his natural habitat










Is this your first marathon?

"My first and my last!" is my tongue in cheek response to that. I'm not a runner and while I am extremely grateful for the privilege to be able to train for the NYC Marathon, I am not sure if I'll be hooked on endurance running or 1-and-done. It'll be interesting to see how (hopefully) completing a marathon affects my fitness journey going forward. I mean, I never thought there would be a day where I don't consider a half-marathon a long run but here I am.

What motivated you to sign up?

A good friend, cycling buddy, and colleague said he was going to try to get in. Thinking he was kidding, I told him I would throw in my hat as well.   We aren't exactly couch to 5k, but hardcore cyclist to marathon isn't straight forward either. It has been comforting to share a lot of the same growing pains throughout the process. Some things came fairly easy, such as nutrition and hydration planning, but they also came very hard. I never thought eating a GU would be more difficult  on foot than a bike!

How’s your training going?

Tough. I know how to suffer on a bike, but on foot it's a whole different ball game. At times I felt like a toddler where I just wanted to spite-walk or just roll on the ground and throw a hissy fit.

I've been following Peloton's outdoor marathon training plan and the structure has been as useful as has the mental coaching. Their instructors have all done the NYCM and it is super motivational to hear them talk through that specific experience. More than once I finished one of their more cerberial workouts with LFG attitude & wishing the marathon was tomorrow because I am ready to get after it.

Mateo after a tough training runMateo after a tough training run

You live in California.  What made you decide to run a race on the other side of the country?

Well, it's THE New York City Marathon. If there is one marathon to do, this seems to be it. Everybody raves about the experience and to me that makes the NYCM a bigger 'bucket list' item than just running any old marathon (no disrespect to any other marathon, especially backyard, those are wild!)

Views of lower ManhattanViews of lower Manhattan

Do you have a particular goal or finish time you’re trying to achieve?

Goal #1: Show up to the start line relatively uninjured

Goal #2: Experience every Borough and the vibe of spectators in each of them

Goal #3: Finishing photo with minimal visible blood 

Reach Goal: Sub 4

What are you most nervous and/or excited about on race day?

I live in Palm Springs, California, and I started training in the summer. That means I had to get up at 4am just so I could run in a relatively cool 90 degrees. Fall brings cooler weather here, but that only means a low in the upper 60s. I don't think I will have ample chance to acclimate to much cooler weather or even the gear I use on race day. Forget about gloves or sleeves, I haven’t even seen a running shirt in months.

Any advice for aspiring marathoners?

Lean on others, and not just verbal advice (which you will get plenty of). A game changer for me was when my neighbor offered to accompany me on my long runs and their spouse stashed ice cold water along the route. I went from Sunday solo sufferfests, to a very long chat with accountability, understanding and loads of encouragement.

Best of luck Mateo and thanks for chatting with us this week!

Now, on to your Tuesday trivia question for this week:

2021 was the 50th running of the NYC Marathon.  That’s also the year an unregistered participant named “Wrinkle” delighted both runners and spectators when she spontaneously joined the race and ran beside the runners for a half mile.  Wrinkle is a:

  1. Dog
  2. Pot Bellied Pig
  3. Duck
  4. Cat

Leave your answer as a reply to this post and while you’re at it, let us know if you’ve ever run the NYC Marathon (or any marathon) or dreamed about doing one!

Check back next week when we share the correct answer and be sure to subscribe to Tuesday Chat with Team Strava so you don't miss a post.

Jane (she/her)
STRAVA | Community Hub Team


Moderator Moderator

Congrats to all the runners, and especially to Strava's own @mateo for successfully completing the marathon on Sunday!  It was a warm and humid day in New York City but the runners took it in stride and pushed through.

For the second year in a row, a duck named Wrinkle made an appearance on the race course and ran with the runners in Queens.  We hope to see Wrinkle back again next year!

Check out this week's Tuesday Chat with Team Strava and be sure to subscribe to this weekly series.


Jane (she/her)
STRAVA | Community Hub Team


Good luck on the marathon! I'm guessing a. dog whilst I would love it to be 2 I'd probably have heard about it.



What is a 3. duck?

I'd like to run the NYC marathon soon, the NYC half-marathon was ELECTRIC.

Good luck Mateo!

Mt. Kenya

What an inspiring journey! Good luck on Sunday!