21850349_510706862626339_96408962_nFunny, when I look back on it, things seem ironic. A little over 4 years ago, I was just another IT guy with all the stereotypes, I was overweight, a heavy smoker and a junk food addict. When I decided it was time for a change running was not a thought, I had bad knees from my service in the Navy, shortness of breath from smoking despite that my friend Bradley Cooper would keep pushing me to come out to run with him. My response was universally the same: “I don’t run…I’m never going to be that guy, no interest in it.” I never wanted to be that guy talking about running, posting about running. I would often say Forrest Gump was my favorite runner: All he did was run and he shut up about it. Fast forward 3 years I had kicked smoking and lost over 65 lbs. my fitness routine was well routine I had fallen into a rut. Then, at the beginning of October 2016, at 36 years old, something changed. I showed up for a 5K/1 mile walk charity event and decided instead of doing the walk I signed up for, maybe I will run the 5K, not even knowing what 5K stood for. By the end of this, something had changed….I liked how I felt, I liked it a lot…fast-forward, my first official race was The Rocky Run and the minute that finisher’s medal went around my neck, I wanted more.

So now that I have found myself in the running world, I remembered being encouraged to find a running group. At this point, I was already acquainted with Fishtown Beer Runners, since I went to a Phillies game with them earlier in the summer. The problem being getting to Fishtown all the time wasn’t always going to work, because I live in the suburbs. That’s when I discovered the Elkins Park Chapter. After joining the group’s Facebook page and stalking their runs for a few weeks, I finally got up the courage to join them on a run. I completely expected to fall under the radar, which was OK by me as sometimes I deal with social anxiety and shyness (no really, I can be shy). That didn’t happen. Natasha, the chapter’s “captain”, gets out of her truck in a tutu, walks right up to me and says: “Oh, you decided to stop Facebook stalking us and show up!” I was pretty much hooked right there, and quickly realized that this club and beer runners in general are just a bunch of cool people who leave titles and status at the curb. We lace up our running shoes the same way and leave it all on the asphalt.

I have been associated with Fishtown and Elkins Park Beer Runners for a while now, and I’ve run my 1st half marathon as a member of your team (LOVE Run) and many other runs since, I toasted the professor many times. We’ve all trained together and drank together. I never knew coming into this that I would consider you all brothers & sisters in running, I’m currently in the best shape of my life and I know that it’s because of running and the community pushing me to be better.  I’m truly honored to be a beer runner and a part of the Philadelphia area running community. You all amaze me and I look forward to continuing to see you on the road ahead. “To the Professor”.