Meet Nich Panice


Age: 36

Hometown: Rock Falls , Illinois 

Where you live now, and number of years you’ve lived in current state: Flagstaff, Az 4 months.

Family – kids, spouse/partner/best friends: 4 daughters in my life whom I love dearly : Sydney, Andie, Jalee, and Josie. Currently Single. Best Friends I hate to limit but the ones that stick out are Lucas Hammelman (Friends since childhood and Crew chief in all my big races even though he doesn’t run) , Emily Lahman ( started as a running friend and became very important in my life since. Helped me in many ways.. life and running) 

Occupation and how many years at job? Lead Carpenter @ Reitz Builders. Almost 4 months . But have 13 yrs Carpenter experience which got me the job.

When and why did you start trail running? Well, running wasn't my first choice. I used to be a big drinker, smoker and pretty good at eating. At my worst I was around 210 lb. drinking about 6 days a week. A lot, and I smoked about a pack a day. At the time I was working with a company called Hubbard Construction and the owners son was training MMA with a guy named Joe O’Laughlin at a gym called Asylum Barn and told me I should come. So one day I was tired of where my life was at so I decided to commit to going. The first day I thought I was gonna die but stuck it out . Joe broke me. I could barely move my legs and arms for 2 weeks but kept going back every morning at least 4 days a week. I then started running just to keep the cardio part going when I wasn’t at the gym. At some point in this time period I was laying in bed watching tv and the Kona Ironman Championships were on Sunday morning tv and laying in bed I though I could enjoy triathlon , so I got on my phone and looked up local triathlons. Chicago Triathlon popped up so that day I decided to sign up for the Olympic Distance triathlon and train for it and MMA both. I would train MMA and then go straight to the pool and swim right after and I would run and bike whenever I had time. Then I signed up for some local 5ks and started running with a group called the Rock River Road Runners. While running with that great group of people I met a couple of trail runners that were running with another great group of people called the Yeti Trail and Ultra Runners ( a group of people just out to run trails and ultra distances with goals of helping others and get people outside) running with them I found my love for the trails and was talked into my first 50k. The Skunk Ape 806. I did well with my first long distance and loved every minute of it. I haven’t stopped since.

What is your favorite distance to run? Far :)  50k-100 miles.

What race accomplishment are you most proud of?  I have 2. One was finishing in the top 10 at Pikes Peak Ultra 50K . the other was Finishing the Indiana Trail 100 with some bad injury pains for more than half of the race. 

What, for you, is the best part about volunteering at trail races? I love being on the other end also and helping people who don’t have the knowledge or experience I have at Ultra Running. Also watching and helping the leaders and experienced runners compete. Also enjoy the atmosphere of trail running events. The mutual respect and way of life is incomparable to anything I have ever been around.

What have you learned from trail running? I've learned a hard work ethic, commitment, and discipline. Also a respect for everyone. It also is a therapy for my mind to keep me focused and living a healthy , good, respectful life my kids and anyone would be proud of.

What advice would you give someone considering getting into trail running or racing? DO IT! It’s hard. It can take a lot of hard work and there will be some pain but the rewards are life changing. You wont be the same after your first Ultra Distance. 

Do you have any goal/big trail races in 2019? Hoping to be more competitive in all my races this year, and I got into Leadville 100! Focusing on making that race the best race of my life to date!

What is your favorite pre-race meal? Day before I Eat A Fatty Ribeye steak, some form of potato( not fries) and veggies. I don't eat Breakfast on race day. Just feed my body with Tailwind moments before the gun and all throughout the race.

What is your guilty pleasure meal? Well, I always love a good juicy Burger and Fries after a race. But , I know its not a meal, but my real guilty pleasure is ice cream with Oreos or Reeces Peanut Butter Cups ... YUM! 


Nich’s healthy transformation!

Michele Hartwig