GJ was an avid runner growing up and continued to do so throughout treatment and his fight against GBM. The TCS New York City Marathon will forever hold a special place in all of our hearts as it is the ultimate test of grit, passion and togetherness.
There truly is no environment quite like the course of the NYC Marathon and we feel that it is a great metaphor for what GJ went through during his 25 month battle.
There will be ups and there will be downs. There will be stages where our runners are floating on air and there will certainly be a moment where they don’t think their body can possibly make it another stride. However, they will dig deep within and find a way to #LiveStacheStrong!!!
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My running career started on family walks where I would ask my dad to time me running to a random tree and back. I truly don’t know how far it was or if he even ended up timing me…
I ran cross country and track at Candor High School in Upstate New York where I won 5 state titles (3 in cross country and 2 in track). I went on to compete at the University of Colorado and I qualified for the 2009 NCAA Division 1 Outdoor Track Championships in the 3000m steeplechase. At the 2012 PAC 12 championships I placed 3rd in the 10,000m. I graduated with PRs of 13:59 in the 5k, 29:13 in the 10k and 8:49 in the steeplechase. I am still running competitively, including placing 20th overall and the 3rd American at the 2013 NYC Marathon. I also placed 18th overall at the 2018 Boston Marathon. Most recently, I qualified for the 2020 US Marathon Olympic Team Trials by running 2:17:59 at the 2017 California International Marathon. I would go on to place 163rd at the Olympic Trials in the hardest marathon of my life but also the one with the best experience.
To me StacheStrong means to always keep pushing. Cancer did not stop GJ from doing what he loved. He would get thrown off the horse, but always got back on and kept pushing. We all go through tough times, but we just have to keep pushing like GJ did. This is such a good mantra for running a marathon. No matter what level of a runner you are, you will have rough patches during the marathon, but just keep GJ in mind knowing that he never gave up. He just kept putting 1 foot in front of the other.
My Olympic Trials marathon was the most painful marathon I have ever done. It was my first marathon where I was seriously contemplating dropping out. GJ was one of the reasons why I got to the finish. If I did not do everything in my power to get to the finish then I would be disrespecting GJ and what StacheStrong means. I am looking forward to working with all of the StacheStrong runners and honoring GJ!
Sport is my passion. Growing up I played all sports including Football, Baseball, Golf and Basketball. I was lucky enough to take on running seriously during the Spring of my Sophomore Year of High School. Mostly by accident- as a means to stay in shape during my AAU basketball season. A teammate of mine (GJ!) took me under his wing and taught me about PR’s, Mile Repeats, Fartleks etc. etc. and helped me find a knack and love for the sport.
I went on to run D-1 Track & Field and Cross Country at Binghamton University where I won multiple conference championships and lowered my PR’s to 14:30 for 5k and 30:35 for 10k.
Since college I have transitioned to more of a recreational runner, but have completed 7 marathons (3 Boston’s). I’ve also coached many friends and colleagues to PR’s across all distances. My crowing achievement was coaching my favorite runner (my wife Kimberly) to crush the 2018 TCS NYC Marathon.
To me Stache Strong means honoring GJ’s legacy by living every day to its fullest, fighting for every inch and doing it all with a smile. I look forward to supporting all the Stache Strong runners in the same manner GJ did for me many years ago!