Those of you who’ve read my blog before know that the highest compliment I can pay to anyone is referring to him or her as a BEAST. Think about it for a moment: if you want to go further than you’ve ever gone before…if you want to go faster than you’ve ever gone before…if you want to see something through that you’ve never done before…then you need to push yourself harder than you’ve ever pushed before. You need to work your butt off. You need to be willing to put in the hours and the sweat. You need to have a fierce dedication to a cause, and you need to be disciplined enough to stick to a tough routine – even when you’re sore and every fiber is telling you to take it easy. In short: you gotta be a BEAST. So when I refer to someone as a BEAST, it’s like giving that quiet nod to a fellow runner coming at you in the opposite direction in the park, wearing a race shirt from an event that you aspire to – it’s a big-time sign of respect. (For example: a dude ran toward me on Monday evening in Central Park rocking a Western States long sleeve. To me – that race is one of my unicorns. I gave him the nod. He smiled and nodded back. The silent message: “dude, you are a BEAST.”)
On Sunday morning, I ran the New York Road Runners (“NYRR”) Gridiron 4 Miler in Central Park. Within half a mile of the start, I bumped into some teammates from the NYRR Team for Kids. It was fantastic to see them, and we spent the next half hour chatting as we cruised through the course. Shortly after finishing, we ran into several more of our teammates. They too had finished the race, and were preparing to tack on 12-16 additional miles as part of their weekly long run in preparation for toeing the line in this year’s Tokyo Marathon. One of those fine people is a runner that most (if not all) of Team for Kids knows – and his name is Ira.
I’ve known Ira for several years now, and I can say without a moment’s hesitation that he is one of the most positive people I have ever met. Always greeting you with a warm smile and a soft-spoken demeanor, I look at him as a gentle giant. However, Ira is also a fierce competitor and marathoner. Nothing stops Ira from getting the work in. Oh it’s raining? So what – get out there. Oh it’s a bit cold? Well put an extra layer on and get out there. Oh it’s too warm? Well drink more water and keep working. I’ve watched him evolve from first-time marathoner to running role model. His efforts have raised thousands of dollars in donations for charity – so every mile has a deeper meaning.
So – my first ever BEAST of the Week goes out to Ira. Dude, you are awesome, your dedication is incredible, your positive attitude is infectious, and you just continue to rock race after race. And that’s what a BEAST does.
Ira, along with a contingent of NYRR Team for Kids marathoners, are running the Tokyo Marathon on February 28th. All I can say is: hard work pays off, dedication makes the difference, and you’re going to fly through the streets of that awesome city. Keep charging forward, Ira – you’re an inspiration. You…are…a….BEAST.