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Member Spotlight #9: Jim Gallagher

  1. Why do you run? How did you first start?
    JG: As my sons were growing up, I decided that I wanted to improve my fitness. At first, I did laps around the field during their soccer practices and between games. Later, I started to do runs from my home. I created a 2.8 mile route and started to run the route and record my time. I then began running the weekly Long Island Road Runners Series races at Eisenhower Park during the Spring and Summer. I enjoyed the competition and the camaraderie at the events and found that I made new friends. I also enjoyed the feeling of well-being that I felt after concluding a run- the so called “runner’s high.” Finally, I met Scott Fairgrieve from the Club at the Summer Series. He took my email – and after encountering him at the weekly races – I decided to accept his “offer that you can’t refuse” and attended New Hyde Park- Mineola Club runs from his house and at Tully Park.

2. What is the most memorable or proud moment?

JG: Completing the Michael Murphy 1⁄2 Marathon in the heat last year. It was nearly 90 degrees during the race. It was also the first time that had I run a 1⁄2 marathon. Besides the heat,
the course had some ups and downs – so the combination of hills and heat made the race challenging. I was able to persevere and complete the race – so even though I didn’t run a great time, I still felt a great deal of satisfaction. Also, on trips to Italy with my wife, I ran early in the morning in Venice (while the city was being re-supplied by various supply boats), in Florence and its surrounding hills, in The Borghese Gardens in Rome (filled with beautiful statutes – and the same park my father camped at while serving in the Military Police as a soldier during World War II), and down scenic roads in Tuscany. I found that running gave me a perspective of the landscape of a foreign country that was different and memorable.

3. What do you do when you’re not running? Other hobbies?
JG: Besides running, my other passion is cycling. From age 14-18 I raced competitively as a member of a bicycle racing club located in Westbury, N.Y. We traveled to races weekly throughout the Northeast from Virginia to New Hampshire. We raced in Criterium (loops around towns including the Ellipse around the White House), the Central Park loop roadway in NYC, hilly road courses in New Hampshire and Vermont and on the banked track (on fixed-gear-bikes with no brakes) in Kissena Park, in Flushing, New York. At age 17, I was fortunate to travel for five weeks with my cycling club to Italy and ride in Northern Italy, Switzerland and see the Professional World’s Championships in Gap, France. During the last several years I purchased a new bike and began to ride more regularly. Fitness from running has helped me complete more challenging rides. In the last few years, I have completed rides throughout Long Island, Westchester, New Jersey, Connecticut, the Catskills, Adirondacks, New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine. I love the opportunity to ride on scenic back roads and see many places off the beaten track. My favorite ride is the Kelly Brush charity ride for adaptive sports from Middlebury, Vermont. The last two years I completed the 100 mile ride which has beautiful Mountain views in the distance of The Adirondacks of New York and Green Mountains of Vermont. The ride supports a foundation, led by Kelly Brush, who sustained a spinal cord injury during a ski race while competing for Middlebury College, and provides training and other resources to people with spinal cord injuries to enable them to participate in skiing, hand cycling, hiking and other sports and activities.

4. Do you have a favorite race/route/distance?
JG: My favorite races have been the Ocean to Sound Relay and the Kings Park 15 K. I enjoyed the Kings Park race for its challenge and the beauty of the course. During the middle of the Kings Park race there is a beautiful view of Long Island Sound. I also like the Ocean to Sound 50 Mile Relay – it has teams of 8 runners who each run 6-mile-legs from Jones Beach to Oyster Bay. It is a fun day with lots of laughs and a great barbeque at the end of the event at Theodore Roosevelt Park in Oyster Bay.

5. What is home like? Kids? Pets? Work? And how do you balance daily life, responsibilities and running?
JG: I am married to Michele who has been supportive of my running, cycling and other activities. She has encouraged me in my many adventures. When I signed up to do the Ironman 70.3 triathlon last year in Augusta, Maine, her only request was that “I promise not to drown.” Fortunately, I was able to keep my promise and successfully completed the swim portion of the
event LOL! We have three grown sons – none of which have lived at home for several years. So at this point the “children” in the house are our two Pomeranians, Molly and Bennie who are attached to my wife! As far as work – I have my own legal practice – which of course is of a sedentary nature – but can prove stressful at times but hopefully I have made a difference by helping many clients over the years. My running and other activities allow me to think more clearly, address matters in a calm thoughtful fashion and make me more energetic when I am at the office. As far as, “work around the house” even though I am trying to improve, I admit I am challenged in that department. In any event, I try to pitch in and keep in mind balancing my running and other activities with other aspects of my life.

6. What are your upcoming races, goals and/or dream races you would like to run?
JG: I would like to complete another half marathon and improve my previous time – or perhaps train for a full marathon. I find the thought of completing a full marathon daunting – but the biggest obstacle is to channel thoughts to action. In any event, I know that I have the support and encouragement of many experienced runners from the club. In addition, I would like to compete in another 70.3 triathlon.

7. Is there a piece of advice you received from a coach or mentor that sticks with you?
JG: Prepare and train for an event and put forth your best effort. Don’t worry about whether you are “successful” or what you believe others will think of your performance – just do your best and that in and of itself is a “success” no matter the result.

8. What is your go-to running or other song and favorite sneaker?
JG: I have been running in the Hoka Arahi shoe and that seems to work. I pronate so I need a stability shoe – otherwise my knees begin to hurt. I would love to find a lighter shoe – so I am open to any suggestions! I don’t run to music because I like to hear what is going on around me whether traffic or otherwise.

9. What is the thing that most people don’t know about you or a guilty pleasure?
JG: I like adventures. In May 2018, I traveled the Intra Coastal Waterway by boat (approximately 1300 miles) from West Palm Beach, Florida to Oyster Bay, New York, with my childhood cycling friend Sal over thirteen days. During the trip we were boarded by the Coast Guard in the Chesapeake Bay (they thought we might be drug runners from Florida), were delayed for two days by mechanical difficulties and experienced a bit of stormy weather – but overall we had a great time. I also I hiked “hut to hut” in the Presidential Range of the White Mountains over several days and climbed to the summit of Mount Washington in New Hampshire with my son Michael. I have tried surfing with my son Chris in the last few years – but have been unable to get up on the board – even so I have had fun trying. I love to do outdoor or other activities with my sons when they have time in their schedules or just generally spend time with them. I feel so lucky that I have had the fortune to be their dad and am very proud of them.

10. What is your biggest takeaway from being a member of an organized running club like NHP- Mineola?
JG: When you join the club you become a member of a group of supportive friends and athletes of all ages and abilities from many different walks of life – the camaraderie that you will experience as a member of the club is unfathomable. Aside from a culture of friendliness, acceptance and support you will be in the company of numerous accomplished and competitive athletes always willing to assist you in your training and other goals whatever they may be – whether it is running your first 5K or marathon, qualifying for The Boston Marathon, completing an ultra-marathon, triathlon or more. By observing club members’ training and discipline you will be inspired and learn by their example. Further, as a member of the club coaching is always available. I experienced this first-hand when many of the club members helped me in preparing for the 70.3 Ironman competition in Augusta, Maine last July. Without their help and encouragement, I would never had been able to complete the 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile ride and 1⁄2 marathon successfully within the competition time limit. Further, you will learn from observing club members that the only limitations you face are your mind set and energy. Finally, you will make new friends, have lots of laughs and have a great time!

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