This week’s Runner Bio interview is with SF FrontRunners member Tom Ortenzi.
How long have you been running with FrontRunners (SF and elsewhere) and what attracted you to the club?
I started running with FrontRunners in London about 8 years ago — Saturday morning runs in Hyde Park and then brunch in South Kensington. Those crafty Brits even have a shower facility for after the run, and as you might expect, some individuals were chronically late for brunch! At the time, I had no idea that the original FR club was based in SF, or why the club was named as such. After living in London, Mario, a good running friend of mine in Madrid, gave me the book “El Corredor de Fondo,” the Spanish translation of The Front Runner. Then things started to make a lot more sense. Once I moved back to SF 6 years ago, Peter Farmer encouraged me to join SFFR. Fortunately, he can be very persuasive.
Where did you grow up and what brought you to the Bay Area?
I grew up in Pennsylvania — Pocono Mountains to be precise — right along the Delaware River and border with New Jersey. I first moved to SF after grad school in the early 1990s because, miraculously, in the midst of a bad recession, my one and only job offer was right in downtown SF. Little did I know how much taking that job would change my life. I left SF in 1998, but returned in 2006 and have called the West Coast home ever since.
What do you do for work?
My work is in financial/economic consulting, mainly for corporate clients who are involved in some sort of dispute. Remember the recent patent dispute between Apple and Samsung? I’d be the kind of consultant either party would hire to figure out how much the patents at issue were worth, and how much Samsung should have to pay to Apple for having used them. However, I’m currently thinking of leaving consulting and am interested in a financial/CFO-like role, though — in case you know of anything open!
What are your other interests and pursuits?
Travel and languages are my two things that I’m very passionate about. I’m almost always taking some sort of language class, and planning an overseas trip is something that I look forward to. In my opinion, traveling is one of the best things you can do to educate yourself and broaden your horizons. Definitely my “drug” of choice.
Are you involved with any other clubs around the Bay Area or elsewhere?
I do volunteer with a few professional and social organizations in the Bay Area, but SFFR has been one of the mainstays of my social network in SF.
Before coming to FrontRunners, did you do much running or any other active activity on a regular routine?
Running has been a part of my life for 15 years and I’ve been conscious about exercising for 25+ years, so joining FR was a great addition to my never-ending quest to get fit.
What is one of your fondest memories of FrontRunners so far?
There’s no specific moment that stands out. But, I can definitely say that I’ve gotten to know other members REALLY well during a 5-mile run where all we talked about was our respective Friday night activities! That is always a fun (and often educational) way to expand one’s circle of friends.
Any advice to newcomers to the club and running/fitness?
The first run with the group can be a bit intimidating if you don’t know any of the members. Many members like to chat with friends as they run, and use the opportunity to catch up with people they haven’t seen for a few weeks/months. So, don’t be afraid to find somebody who runs at your pace and ask them about what they did on Friday night! Of course, go to brunch afterwards too. Once the endorphins have kicked in and food is on the table, you’ll be sure to meet a bunch of interesting and very friendly people.
Thanks, Tom, for a wonderful interview!
Stay tuned for a new Runner Bio each week. Be sure to check out the existing Runner Bios on our official site.