In the "Spotlight" with the amazing Kino from NYC!!!
Hello Yolanda and “The Road To Guinness” blog readers! First of all, I would like to start off with
congratulating Miss Yolanda with her 303 completed marathons by 12/31/2011
& 352 marathons by 6/30/2012, qualifying her for the World Megamarathon
Ranking 300+ list (http://www.worldmegamarathonranking.com/World_Megamarathon_Ranking/World_Ranking.html
& http://www.worldmegamarathonranking.com/World_Megamarathon_Ranking/USA_Ranking.html)! Having attained the “megamarthoner” (anyone
who has run 100 or more marathons or ultras) designation myself recently, I can
appreciate the dedication, time commitment, and sacrifice required to make such
a list. Yolanda is one of less than only
approximately 300 people in the world who have finished 300+ marathons! She truly is deserving of the Yolanda
“Guinness Record” Holder nickname that I refer to her by.
So as for my own personal story, how did I become hooked on
(picture courtesy of Anders Forselius)
I ran my first marathon four years ago, on 9/21/2008, at a
small one hundred person race called the Yonkers Marathon. It isn’t a well known race despite it being
the second oldest marathon in existence.
The 2012 version of the race was its 87th running of it! I ran this race out of convenience, as it was
in the same town as my old company, Kawasaki.
The 2008 Chicago Marathon was supposed to be my marathon debut because I
was not accepted into my dream race, the New York City Marathon. A co-worker convinced me to run Yonkers as a
“training run” for Chicago. The only
problem was that the course is a very challenging one that immediately greets
runners with a 5 mile uphill that has to be repeated again on the second half
(it’s a two loop course). Not only that,
but the course has a 5 hour cut-off, which is strict by marathon
standards! I decided to go for it,
figuring I didn’t have much to lose because my goal race was Chicago, and not
Yonkers. Painful doesn’t come close to
describing how miserable I felt on that second loop! My splits went from 2 hours for the first
13.1 miles then 3 hours for the back half.
I finished in 5:00:15. I was very
lucky that the race organizers were generous in letting me finish. Despite almost being cutoff and almost being
the last finisher, I was instantly hooked on marathon running and went on to
better my times at the 2008 Chicago Marathon (4:52:16) three weeks later, then
again at the 2008 Philadelphia Marathon (4:39:42) six weeks after that.
Without my knowledge, running 3 marathons within 3 months
qualified me for the Marathon Maniacs club.
I would later find out about this club and join in 2/2009, becoming MM
#1382. It is through this wonderful club
and the 50 States Marathon Club that I would encounter fellow crazies and inspirational
athletes like Yolanda and others!
Distance running appeals to me because it leads to a 26.2
mile path to self improvement. The
definition of “improvement” has taken on different meanings at times, but the
desire to strive hard and better myself has never changed. My initial goal, in 2008, was to keep
improving my marathon times, which I was able to do by PR’ing my first 5
marathons. Then in 2009, I wanted to use
marathons as an excuse to explore the world and visit as many of the 50 states
as I could (I am currently 3 states away from completing this goal, 4 years
later, and expect to finish at the Honolulu Marathon in Hawaii on
12/9/2012). In 2010, I wanted to be able to run further and completed my ultramarathon goals of finishing
my first 100 miler (in 28:23:21 at Javelina Jundred aka JJ100 in Arizona on
10/23/2010) and running 100 miles in a 24 hour race (102.89 miles at FANS 24
Hour Run in Minnesota on 6/4/2011). In
2011, I wanted to become a prolific runner and attain the highest level within
the Marathon Maniacs, the 10-star Titanium level. I accomplished this on 9/17/2011 at the
NorthCoast 24-Hour Endurance Run in
Ohio, by finishing marathons or ultras in 30 states/provinces/countries in a
365 day period. In 2012, I continued
this goal and ran my 100th marathon / ultra, on 6/3/2012 at Comrades
Marathon (56 mile ultra) in South Africa.
It was my favorite race experience to date. Those South Africans sure know how to make
foreign runners feel welcome! This ultra
finish allowed me to join the 100 Marathon Club North America and the Full
Hyaku Club. Currently, I am focusing on
trying to become a 50sub4 Club finisher by running a sub-4 hour marathon in all
5 states. As of the time of this writing
(9/28/2012), I have run sub-4’s in 35 states, and hope to finish 50sub4 in
2013. I am concurrently trying to lower
my PR time to be fast enough to BQ (qualify for Boston, “Boston Qualify”). To do that I must drop my PR time down by 9
minutes 13 seconds, from a 3:19:12 to 3:09:59, which is a little over 21
seconds/mile faster, for a 7:15 min/mile pace.
This sounds tough, but at least it keeps things interesting by giving me
something to shoot for.
Along the way, something dreadful occurred, inspiring me to
run more often. In 1/2009, my then
girlfriend’s mother was diagnosed with stage IV pancreatic cancer. It was the same disease that took away my
beloved uncle from this world six years prior, and has needlessly taken away
the lives of too many others. My
girlfriend-at-the-time and I began volunteering for the Pancreatic Cancer
Action Network (PanCAN, http://www.pancan.org)
and we raised awareness and funding for the charity for an upcoming team
relay. The fundraiser was so successful,
raising over $26,000, that it made me realize the power of running and its
ability to bring attention to underrepresented causes that are in dire need of
help. My first fundraiser campaign was
for PanCAN, in which I ran 14 marathons in 13 consecutive weekends. I only intended to run 5 marathons in 5
states in 5 weekends, but the support I received was tremendous and I could not
let the fundraiser end so quickly. I
have since gone on to raise funding and awareness for 3 other charities: Back
on My Feet (BoMF) to combat homelessness in our inner cities, the American
Cancer Society (ACS), and Mount Sinai Medical Center’s WTC Health Program to
provide free medical screenings and treatment to 9/11 First Responder veterans. I have raised over $60,000 so far, but I
aspire to continue using running as a vehicle to help out the smaller charities
and the causes they represent. If you
would like to learn more about my efforts, please visit RunKino on Facebook,
Twitter, & RunKino.com .
Thank you very much for your time in reading this post and
learning about my running career, aspirations, and fundraisers!
Strength in Running,