Dynamic DUO

Whether running in the Turkey Trot or going for a swim, husbands Enrique McGregor and Mark Niermann make marriage (and exercise) look easy

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TAKING THE PLUNGE | McGregor, left, and Niermann have been together 15 years, marrying legally last month. For a slide show of their aquatic antics, visit DallasVoice.com. (Arnold Wayne Jones/Dallas Voice)

Although they’ve been together for 15 years, it was only about a month ago that this month’s dynamic duo, Enrique Macgregor and Mark Niermann, officially got hitched. (Thanks, New York!)

Judging from their exercise regime and overall healthy lifestyle, they take those “sickness and health” and “for better or worse” vows pretty seriously. … Well that, plus margaritas, chocolate chip cookies and generous helping of motivation and support make up their recipe for a successful marriage.

— Jef Tingley

Names and ages:  Enrique MacGregor, 47, and Mark Niermann, 48 (just barely)

Occupations:  MacGregor: management consultant; Niermann; lawyer

Length of relationship:  15 years, but legally married on Sept. 28, 2011, in New York’s Supreme Court Building.

Sports & activities:  Members of Dallas Aquatic Masters (DAM); occasionally play golf with Different Strokes Golf Association.

Exercise regimen:  MacGregor: I swim or run two or three times a week; I do weight training once or twice a week.
Niermann: Cardio (swimming or running) three times weekly; weights two times. I don’t have a rigid exercise schedule other than my objective to work out at least four times weekly. When we’re training for an event, like a biking or running race, we’ll do more running or biking.

Upcoming fitness goals:  Both: the 8-mile Turkey Trot race in Dallas on Thanksgiving Day.

Most memorable athletic accomplishment:  MacGregor: I rode my bike right behind Lance Armstrong at a Livestrong event in Austin as we both crossed the finish line at the same time. Of course, I was finishing a 45-mile ride, and he was finishing a 90-mile ride.

Workout preference: mornings or evenings?  MacGregor: I don’t have a set workout time unless I’m working out with a group. I try to think about my work schedule a day ahead and then plan a workout time around that. I’m jealous of people who can get up at 5 a.m. to workout. I am not a morning person.
Niermann: Either, and lunch too — whenever I can fit it in depending on my schedule and the time of year (especially for running outside).

How do you motivate yourself to workout?  MacGregor: I sign up for an event, like a race. Then I know I have to make time to get ready for that event. I am much more engaged in a workout when I’m preparing for an event.

How does your partner motivate you to work out?  MacGregor: He offers options. For instance, he’ll say: “Do you want to go for a run today, or would you rather go for a swim?” Or, “Would you like to do our run before lunch or would you rather do it later in the afternoon?”

Words of advice for people trying to work fitness into their life?  Niermann: Enrique and I are not workout fanatics or super athletes. We try to get regular exercise and generally eat healthy food. (We include wine, margaritas and chocolate chip cookies in the category of “healthy food.”) We enjoy training for special athletic challenges, like running races, but we don’t always have a specific goal or race we’re training for. We also enjoy playing golf (aka “hacking”) and skiing, and like to stay in shape in ways to complement those sports.

Like everything in life, exercise is easiest and most effective if you can find a balance, both in terms of the kinds of working out you do and how often you do it. Working out doesn’t have to (and shouldn’t) take over your life — you can pack a lot of good into a 30- or 45-minute workout of any kind.

Follow common sense rules of not overdoing it when or how you eat and exercise. Being healthy is more than how much weight you can lift or how fast you can run — it’s about achieving a good balance in life of healthy eating, regular exercise, healthy relationships with friends, family and partners and finding ways to minimize stress.

Favorite spot in North Texas to exercise outdoors:
MacGregor: Stevens Park Golf Course (and don’t tell me that golf doesn’t count as exercise).
Niermann: I don’t really have one, though I belong to the Baylor–Tom Landry Center. Though if I had to pick, I’d say Neiman’s Downtown – Last Call.

Favorite song or playlist for working out?  MacGregor: I like to run listening to Lance Armstrong’s “Run Longer” playlist. Aside from good music, Lance’s voice takes you through interval sets where you speed up and slow down in four-minute increments. This technique is supposed to improve your performance.

Which celebrity or athlete’s physique would you like to have and why:  MacGregor: Chris Evans. He has a nice athletic build, if you’re into that sort of thing.

Niermann: Any AussieBum model … have you seen their ads?

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition October 21, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas

O’Hurley gives ’em the old razzle dazzle

Don’t toss the term “Renaissance man” at John O’Hurley. He may be an actor, singer, writer and composer, but he just won’t have it. Though maybe he’ll at least have a sense of humor about it.

“Oh, do people still say that?” he asks with a laugh.

O’Hurley is the man you know, but name you can’t quite recall. Most famous for his role as adventurer-businessman J. Peterman on Seinfeld, he’s actually an experienced song-and-dance man, which he gets to remind people of when he returns to the role as Billy Flynn in Chicago, which settles in for five performances at Bass Hall this weekend.

Although he has an extensive stage background, he’s content that many people may only be familiar with the musical through the movie.

“That’s fine, because it rekindled interest in the show,” he says. “The movie was imaginative but the [stage] show is much more. Sets are minimal and in your mind more. It’s such an innovative presentation.”

As with Anderson Cooper and his Chicago predecessor Richard Gere, O’Hurley embodies the silver fox — sexy but mature. His sophistication, good looks and humor are what also prompted People magazine to name him one of their sexiest men alive in 2006, when O’Hurley was a sensation for his appearances on Dancing with the Stars. (He was the runner-up, but later won a celebrity re-match.) The honor, though, was short-lived.

“It was very funny to hear that news. It was during that swirl right after” DWTS, he says. “I remember rolling over with my hair messed up and sleep in my eyes and my wife saying, ‘Look at you, Mr. Sexy.’ She brought me back down to earth then.”

O’Hurley seems to be everywhere — and he prefers it that way. When not touring with Chicago, he hosts the National Dog Show on NBC every Thanksgiving Day, is finishing his third book and composes music.

“I enjoy moving from thing to thing,” he says. “My mind moves in lot of different directions anyways, so I like to do that a lot.”

That keeps his acting chops in tip-top shape.

He’s played Billy Flynn before, but he tries to avoid repeating himself. Each performance is a new adventure.

“I made a promise to myself back in 1984 that I would surprise myself every night,” he says. “Something new will happen or an idea occurs to me and it keeps me fresh and present. The role gets deeper, so it changes every night for me.”

He did appear in the promo video for The Charles Schulz Celebrity Golf  which shows O’Hurley at his best: Dry humor. He endorses Rangé Golf Balls and guess what he invites people to play with? The video is now on YouTube.

—Rich Lopez

Chicago at Bass Hall, 525 Commerce St., Fort Worth. Through June 19. $38–$88. BassHall.com.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition June 17, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

Hot 2 trotters

Couple Enrique MacGregor and Mark Niermann are back to Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving

ARNOLD WAYNE JONES  | Life+Style Editor jones@dallasvoice.com

MacGregor and Niermann
ON FOOT | MacGregor and Niermann call the Trot a family tradition. (Arnold Wayne Jones/Dallas Voice)

While most of us will limit our exercise on Thanksgiving Day to waddling from the dining room into the living room to watch the Cowboys lose, Mark Niermann and Enrique McGregor will do the unthinkable: Run eight miles in the early hours of a holiday known for getting people fat, not thin.

Clearly, they don’t understand the occasion. But they are not alone: 40,000 North Texans turn out for one Thursday each year to support the Turkey Trot, now in its 43rd year.

It’s not as insane as it sounds, although both MacGregor and Niermann — who have been together for 14 years — do concede that traditionally, it’s cold in late November. But it’s also worth it.

“For the Turkey Trot, it’s more about having fun — it’s not a competitive race. It’s about thousands of people getting together on a festive occasion,” says MacGregor. “It’s a thrill — entire families will dress as turkey leg dads and cranberry kids and run together.”

Wait a minute: Exercise that comes with costumes? How come more gays don’t do this? Half could recycle their loincloths from Halloween and go as Native Americans.

But of course, many gays do participate — often with their families.

“We started seven or eight years ago when Enrique’s family started coming here for Thanksgiving,” says Niermann. “Thanksgiving is all about being together and having fun. I think it’s a great day to have the run.”

“It’s something to get people out of the house and get some fresh air,” adds MacGregor. “And Mark is trying to beat my nephew this year.”

While this couple always tackles the longer 8-mile course, there is also a 5K course for those less accustomed to jogging — though even that’s not a hard-and-fast rule.

“I think a lot of the people running the eight miles are not serious runners but the once-a-year kind who say, what’s the harm?” says MacGregor. Some even jog part of the way, they walk the rest — although he admits neither he nor Niermann do that. Both are in a more elite group of serious-minded athletes. Two years ago, they ran the White Rock Marathon together, and they routinely exercise by running several courses through their neighborhood.

Niermann notes, however, that they have both been traveling a lot lately and may find this race more challenging than in part years — though nothing like the marathon.

Sharing an affinity for athletics is nothing new to them — it actually kicked off their relationship.

“We met swimming,” says MacGregor. “The first time I ever said him was underwater at a public pool in Denver. Everything looks bigger underwater! He was in the next lane over. I turned and saw this little vision in a blue Speedo … and Mark was right behind that!”
Niermann laughs.

The Turkey Trot isn’t their only charitable venture. Niermann and MacGregor are co-founders of the Gay and Lesbian Fund for Dallas, which just celebrated it 10-year anniversary. That group started as a way to raise money to build the Latino Cultural Center, but has since increased its scope, donating more than $1 million for education, artistic and medical enterprises across the city.

The Trot, though, is more about tradition than fundraising for them.

“We always have a big dinner — this year about 40 people are coming,” says Niermann. “It’s really a reunion for Enrique’s family — they come from Maryland, Mexico, San Diego.”

“We also have a golf tournament the day after and hold a creative contest of some kind,” says MacGregor.

“And we have a contest for best sweet potato recipe, which I always win,” says Niermann.

The Trot takes place early enough that, aside from waking up early, it leaves plenty of time for the rest of the day to finish cooking, watch the Macy’s parade and football on TV. But the Trot remains a highlight.

“Even if you’re not a runner or a walker, the spectacle of seeing 40,000 people is an amazing experience,” says MacGregor. “Everyone can participate.”

“Plus it builds up your appetite for dinner later,” adds Niermann.

Pass the pumpkin pie — you’ve earned it.

Day-of registration is $30. For more information, visit TheTrot.com.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition November 19, 2010.

—  Michael Stephens