An Unlikely Runner – Rich Bracken

I am beyond proud to share that I am in the middle of training for the New York City Marathon.

Now, running a marathon was never the dream of a childhood fat kid or a 260 lb college linebacker, but I was both. Running was a punishment, running was negative, running….was not fun.

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Fast forward 20 years and with a dozen races in the books, including two half marathons, I stand facing November 5th in the face as one of my biggest physical and mental challenges of my life. The ongoing challenge: losing 100lbs and keeping it off for 20 years.

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My main struggles came from being a depressed child who battled weight issues. I was a football player who used size to my advantage, but mentally I was a wreck. After my playing days were over in college, I decided the weight needed to come off. I started by walking and eventually got into running short distances. As the weight fell off and I started feeling myself emerge from depression. It became my escape, my personal time, and my bliss to throw on some music and just go.

What I find ironic is that I couldn’t stand running for so long and then it became my saving grace. Even after having a back surgery from a weightlifting accident and a torn ACL from a soccer injury, I always worked hard at my rehab so I could get back to running again.

Now, as an emerging business leader, running is critical to my health and my peace of mind. I run early in the mornings and sometimes double up at night depending on the day. It gives me the time to balance out my thoughts and winds up becoming a major funnel for new ideas. Disconnecting from everything but the music, I’m not forced to pay attention to anything but my stride and my breathing. The races are a fun way to mix things up as I have always been, and will always be, competitive in nature. I love the support that the running community has which allows us to still be competitive in a truly supportive fashion.

Through a serendipitous Twitter exchange with James Blake (former world top 5 tennis player), I am running the NYC Marathon with his team to raise money and awareness for the James Blake Foundation. His foundation is directly tied to the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, a cutting edge facility in New York.

I am proud to be a runner now, more so than ever. For my health, to set a good example for my sons and now I’m blessed with the opportunity to help others just by running. It truly was a lesson in taking something that I viewed as a negative and bringing it full spectrum to one of the most beneficial things in my life.

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Written by Rich Bracken

You can learn more about Rich’s tie to cancer research and see some of his television appearances on richbracken.com.

One thought on “An Unlikely Runner – Rich Bracken

  1. Thank you so much for sharing my story! I hope that anyone reading this that needs the encouragement to challenge themselves finds inspiration to do so.

    Cheers to this amazing website and our phenomenal community of Runners Gone Wild!

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