Joe Sarcinella | The 100K Runner

“My name is Inigo Montoya, you killed my father. Prepare to die.”

Joe Sarcinella is not Inigo Montoya from the Princess Bride. He is not seeking to avenge the death of his father. But Joe promised his father he would complete a 100 mile race that his father could not complete. Joe’s drive came from this promise. The question was: could it get him across the finish line?

When Joe was a child, his father attempted a 100 mile race but had to stop at mile 89 due to an injury. MILE 89. Joe thought this a travesty. And as a kid, Joe promised his father that he would one day finish the race for him. He would run a 100 mile race in honor of his father. Little did he know the challenges he would face or the lessons he would learn.

I interviewed Joe last year and we discussed his training regimen and his journey to becoming more healthy, losing more than 85 pounds in the process. I was amazed at his focus and decided that I would interview him after he ran the race. He recently competed. This interview is the follow up after the race.

Joe could not finish the 100 miles. The terrain was steeper and more difficult than he anticipated, resulting in twisted knees and ankles. The weather hovered in the 80s for a large chunk of the race, resulting in cramps and dehydration. After training on flat land, he realized quickly that it would be a tough go over steep, unforgiving hills on a narrow trail.

Joe wanted to quit at mile 38. Think about that. Joe ran 1.5 marathons, but was less than 40 percent completed with this race. Even though he was an athlete, he never had to utilize a well this deep to continue.

Joe eventually ran over 60 miles in his effort. He received a buckle for completing 100 kilometers, which he gave immediately to his father.

On this episode of the podcast we discuss the day of the race, the support he received and his plans for the future. We also discuss the impact this race had on his life. As cheesy as it sounds, I even found a little bit of Forrest Gump in Joe’s story. Joe thought he was running for his father but realized he was probably running more for himself. But that lesson that is not learned without going through the process itself. It is a lesson learned in catharsis.

At the end of the day, Joe Sarcinella accomplished something remarkable. He also found some balance in the outcome. He seems totally content with the results. But he has a bit of wisdom he received. But he is not looking backward with regret knowing now what he does. He is not strewing in any self-defeat but wondering “if I knew how to train for next time…” and “what other endeavors will I take on to challenge myself.”

Even though I did not run the race, I learned a lot from listening to Joe’s experience. You will, too.

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