I used to view running as a form of personal punishment. Having spent the majority of my career as a Navy Diver, running was part of my daily routine to keep in shape. As I got older, I chose running as a way to punish myself when I gained weight or let myself go a little.
In 2019, a series of personal events brought me to the lowest point of my life. I was 238 pounds, the heaviest I had ever been, a closet smoker and a heavy drinker. In a matter of a few months my wife and I had separated, my father died and my mom’s cancer had returned for the third time. Not knowing what to do with my anxiety and grief I started to run. I would go on long runs that lasted for hours at a time. Not because I wanted to but because I wanted to hide my grief from my teenage daughter and the sweat was a convenient camouflage for my tears. I would run in any weather: ice, rain, snow…it didn’t matter. I quit smoking and cut back drinking.
I moved across the country to care for my mom as her health declined and it was there that I decided to run my first full marathon. I found Team TEAL, the fund raising branch of the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition. They agreed to sponsor me in the Eugene Marathon if I raised funds and awareness during the training process. My mom passed away the day before the marathon and I ended up running it remotely from Florida.
The NOCC invited me to join their team for the TCS New York City Marathon that November and afterwards I was hooked. Since then, I have completed 6 full marathons on 3 different continents with 3 more scheduled. I have lost 68 pounds, maintained a healthy weight and have paired my passion with a purpose I care about deeply.
What I have found in the running community is this…there is only one clear definition of a runner and that is someone that runs, period. You don’t have to be fast, or skinny, or young. I have been passed by grandmas, women pushing strollers, people that appear to be, by the world’s standards “overweight’ and we have all crossed the same finish line. There is a place for everyone in this community and my hope for this store is that it serves as a safe place to encourage more and more people to run.