Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The People of Ted's Run for Literacy; Meet Jonathan Torchia

The People of Ted's Run for Literacy is a 'behind the scenes' look at the many individuals that make up Ted's Run for Literacy; from committee members, to runners, to volunteers, to sponsors.  Every week leading up to Race Day we will interview another individual whose contribution to TRL defines the heart and soul of this fine event. The People of TRL is the brainchild of our Social Media chair, Carly Walsh. 
Jonathan Torchia ripping up the course.
You probably know Jonathan Torchia as the founder and race director for the wildly popular Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service Half Marathon, but what you might not know is he’s only been running for four years, and apparently has a plan if a rabid dog (or bear) starts nipping at his heels.

We’ve been happy to have Jonathan support Ted’s Run by being a fan of TRL and helping to spread the word. This year he won’t be joining us - he’ll be running the Chicago Marathon chasing a “BQ.” We wish him nothing but luck.

Ted’s Run Literacy - How long have you been running, and what got you started?

Jonathan Torchia - Believe it or not I have only been running since 2010! Prior to 2010 I couldn’t run a mile to save my life, literally. I was a big boy ( 225lbs ) and played football my whole life and never ever ran. I knew some lifestyle changes had to be made after my amateur football career was over. So I took up running and changed my diet in 2009 making some big changes for the future, and have not looked back since.

In 2010 I signed for my first race ever - The Manitoba Half Marathon. I figured I would set the bar high and go for it, and go for it I did. My first half marathon ever was a 1:39:11 I will never forget that time, ha ha ). I knew I was HOOKED! Post running The Manitoba Half Marathon I got that great feeling that every runner gets of, “When is the next event I can do?” At this early time in my running career I didn’t know much about local events, and can recall I was flipping through my Runners World magazine at work and saw an advertisement for the Toronto Waterfront event in October and immediately thought to my self, “Yes, that’s the one!” So as soon as I could after returning home from work I registered for the event, booked my flight, and arranged to stay with my family. It has been full throttle since 2010 for me, now with running 27 half marathons, multiple 10 mile, 10k, 5k races, and getting the full marathon itch going after doing Twin Cities Marathon ( fantastic event ) in 2013.

I am currently training my guts out for the Chicago Marathon come this fall in October, and hoping for a BQ. One can dream and set the bar really high. A 3:05 Full Marathon time is a huge lofty goal, but like one of my favourite sayings go “a dream without a plan is only a wish”

TRL - While out running you find yourself suddenly being chased by a bear/cougar/scary animal of your choice. How do you get away?

JT - Ha ha, this is a tough one….I have imagined in the past being chased by a really aggressive dog while out for a run, and always think to myself “what would you do?” I have concluded that I would just give her like hell and hope to out run the dog which likely wouldn’t happen, or find a wall or fence that it can’t chase you up on. Thank god, we don’t have bears roaming around though, I would turtle and throw my bright coloured Asics at it.

TRL - You're back from defeating said animal and come home to find your fridge is only stocked with....?

JT - Hmmm, I have a pretty boring diet that consist of eggs, chicken breast, avocados, bananas, Greek yogurt, oatmeal, fish, quinoa and lots of fruits and vegetables. Now secretly what would I actually want to devour after that…..pizza, burgers, chips oh and a DQ Blizzard.

TRL - When you're on a tough run what's your go to mantra to pull through?
JT - My go to one would have to be “never give up, keep grinding.” While out on my runs as of late I keep muttering under my breath about my goals I have set out for the Chicago Marathon and if I cut my work out short, or didn’t finish the training session to its completion that I will be the only one to blame. And also saying these two letters a few times “BQ” “BQ” always seems to give me that extra little push, that extra little motivation.

TRL - As a race director yourself, what does it mean to you when someone decides to sign up for your race?

JT - I genuinely from the bottom of my heart cannot describe in words how thankful, how appreciative, how much it means to me when this happens. There are so many great running events out there to choose from, and for someone to cognitively say to them selves “Yes, I want to run this event “ is an amazing thing! I am unbelievably humbled and thankful to each and every single participant and volunteer of the WFPS Half Marathon. When I see people out in public wearing one of our event shirts, race hats, or any apparel for that matter, it gives me chills and the biggest smile ever. I could never have dreamt in my wildest dreams when we started out a few years back the event would be the size it is today!

It's a good day to be alive.