Sarang Supekar

My name is Sarang Supekar (pronounced sAH-rUHng sU-pAY-kUHR), and I live just outside of Chicago in Oak Park, Illinois with my lovely wife and our rambunctious rescue pup. I am a scientist by vocation and my work involves solving hard but interesting problems in energy and industrial sustainability.

Like so many ambassadors here, I didn’t start out as a runner (I was too skinny, short, and funny-looking to be associated with something as cool as sports). In fact, I didn’t take up running until my late 20s, when the caffeine-powered stress of graduate school became incompatible with sanity. Now, with nine marathons and over a dozen half marathons in my bib stack, I will be trying my hand (or rather, legs) at some trail ultras this year.

I ran my first marathon 6 years ago at the age of 31 with an amazing charity group called myTeam Triumph, which provides the experience of endurance sports to people with disabilities through a ride-along program. It was a truly eye-opening experience that showed me the social power of running. Now, as a Board Member of the Oak Park Runners Club, my goal is use this social power to bring more people into our fold and to make our running community more inclusive and diverse. This, like many things in my research, I know will be a hard challenge (and one where math will be of little help). So, I am here to engage with and to learn from my peers about what it takes to make a running community inclusive and diverse.