Alumni Spotlight: Bruce Stark

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What events have you run with Team for Kids?
The 2012 training, 2013 NYC Marathon, 2014 Brooklyn Half, and a number of other small races- Poland Spring, Japan Run, Giants Stadium 5K, Scotland Run as well as almost 3 years of training runs.

What excites you most about running your event with Team for Kids?
My teammates. Without a doubt, I have the most supportive and friendliest teammates ever. I think if everyone from the United Nations was forced to run together on our team, we would have world peace in no time. Except if they have to do hill repeats, then all bets are off. Running with a coach or a mentor is a special treat. I have never met a teammate, coach, or mentor, I didn’t like.

Where is your favorite place to run and why?
Brooklyn. I had never been to Brooklyn, but have now had 7 runs there, including the half. I did surprisingly well in almost every run. I ran over the bridges in 100 degree temperature like it was nothing. I love Brooklyn.

If you run with music, what are your favorite artists or songs to listen to?
I have never run with music. I don’t believe in it. I am out there to run, not to enjoy myself. The fun starts as soon as I can start talking about the run.

What is your favorite post-run meal?
Chocolate Milk. Coach Scott says it helps, and since it’s always 50-50, whether I survive a long run, I’ll drink anything that brings me back to life.

When did your relationship with running begin and why?
I thought it was good exercise, and liked the idea of pushing myself. I was never a good athlete and always was picked last-if at all. Once I was the captain and I didn’t even pick myself. I would run 1 or 2 miles when I was in my 30’s, but I was 55 the first year I started training for the Marathon (2012).

I thought the Marathon was all about pushing yourself. I never expected there would be so much running involved. And when you sign up, they don’t tell you about hill repeats, or tempo runs, or track work or time trials. Oh, at times, the relationship is complicated.

Do you have any pre-race rituals or superstitions, if so, please explain?
In my rookie year, I would watch the 3 Stooges from 4:30 -5:00am before a Saturday long run. That was a sure sign I would have a good run. Also, I was once late on a Monday Night Run, so I took a cab, 3 blocks to the park. Because I had a good run, I would take a cab the 3 blocks to the park for every training run, the rest of the year.

Why did you choose to run with Team for Kids?
Team for Kids chose me (suckers). I tried to get in via the lottery, but didn’t. I received an email from TFK, offering me a guaranteed spot. The email was like one of those the police send to criminals, saying they won tickets to the Super Bowl, and then they get arrested when they go to claim the tickets. I decided to take a chance. I have thought many times, of turning myself in. Seriously, it was the best decision of my life.

Tell us a little more about yourself
At 58, I am getting married for the first time, this year. I own a family-run Paint and Hardware store on the Upper West Side that has been in business for 115 years. I work there with my brother and sister. I was a volunteer with the Muscular Dystrophy Association for 27 years, the last 10 as studio chief for the Jerry Lewis Telethon.  I was also a volunteer for the Xeroderma Pigmentosum Society for 10 years. I sponsored a Walkathon for 15 years, the last 10 for the benefit of Guiding Eyes for the Blind. This year the walk will be Saturday Night, May 2nd (Yes that’s a plug, but it is for a charity, and it is fun for everyone. We even have a doggies in costume contest!).

5 years ago, I was 250 pounds, not only have I lost 50 pounds and gotten in shape, but  I ran a Marathon! I am a die-hard Mets fan, and have taken a lot of abuse, because of it, but I will have the last laugh, as my Mets are going all the way this year. My turn ons are romantic comedies, running, and anyone willing to share their Gatorade. My turn offs are Hill repeats, track work, tempo runs, fartlets, & column runs.

Are you currently training for any events with TFK or do you plan to run any in the future, if so which events?
I wish.  I am out with an injury, and will miss the entire year. I do plan on staying a part of the team, by going out and cheering them on whenever I can. I will be back in ’16, and will run with TFK.

What would you tell someone who was considering running with Team for Kids?
We have private bathrooms at the TCS New York City Marathon! And a private bus, with a bathroom! And a heated tent! And private bathrooms! But mostly the best coaches and teammates you will ever find.

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