Neal Hundt first learnt to skate on a frozen pond in some woods near Ardsley, his upstate New York home. It was here where Hundt’s love affair with the ice began. But when he reached his mid forties he discovered a new sport that would come to play a huge role in his life: Speed skating.
It was a typical evening for Hundt back in 1998 and he was dropping off his children at the local ice rink in upstate New York. A brochure on a table caught his eye: ‘Tried Speed Skating?,’ it read. He immediately thought back to his Norwegian mother, who owned a pair of long, razor-thin speed skates.
“That’s how I got hooked,” said Hundt.
In the early days, he skated with his daughter. The sport brought them together and they grew very close. They took many trips up to Lake Placid to skate on the famous Olympic Oval.
Since then, he has been president of two speed skating clubs. Today he is in charge of the Taconic Speed Skating Club in Yonkers. For ten years the club has become a home away from home. But it does not stop there. Neal also runs Marathon Speed Skating International, an organization that promotes the long distance form of speed skating. Last week he competed at an event in Canada.
At 61, skating keeps Hundt exceptionally healthy. But despite his rigorous fitness regime, three years ago he was diagnosed with early stage prostate cancer. The skating, he said, “helps keep the cancer at bay.”
With the prospect of more speed skating marathons and duties to perform at the Taconic club, Hundt expects to skate long into his eighties.
“I want to be really old when I finish this sport,” he said.