Running is powerful form of exercise. In the great game of you vs. you, it’s all about the strength, power and focus that comes from within. Fellow New Yorker, Jay Asparro will be embarking on these challenges when he will run a collective 75 miles this November (48.8 miles from Jones Beach to Teddy Roosevelt Park in Oyster Bay and the next morning he will run 26.2 miles at the New York City Marathon). This intense endeavor is driven by his passion to raise money for The Long Island Alzheimer’s Foundation, a disease his grandmother, Ann, battles everyday. Last year he completed this same run, finishing 90 miles, tired yet inspired by how the awareness of his run had raised $38,000 for the Foundation. This year, the 75 miles represents what would have been his grandparent’s 75th wedding anniversary. Leading up to the run, Jay partners with local business to help raise money and awareness for his cause. This has included family bowling events to selling purple bagels at a Long Island based deli to the first annual Ann Asparro 5K. We had the pleasure to learn more about this run and the incredible cause during our recent interview with Jay. Read on to check out more about him and his cause-driven run.
Interview with Jay Asparro on Running, Causes and Inspiration
Wellness Patterns: How did the idea to raise money through running come about? Why running?
Jay Asparro: I feel as though most people do not like running. If I am going to run an Ultra-Marathon, I believe I’ll be able to grab the attention of these people. Everyone knows the NYC Marathon but I don’t think anyone has heard of someone running 48.8 miles the day before the marathon. Then there are those people who love running. Most do not run more than a marathon, so I felt with an Ultra-Marathon, I could grab the attention of these people as well.
Wellness Patterns: Your goal is 75 miles for this upcoming goal! How do you train for that?
Jay Asparro: I’ll be running 48.8 miles on Sat. Nov. 4th and 26.2 miles on Sun. Nov. 5th at the NYC Marathon. I hired my running coach, Patrick Hammond, from Educated Running and he puts my running schedule together for me. Unfortunately, I sprained my ankle in March and have a torn ligament in my ankle. So I swim, bike, and take hot yoga classes on top of my running 4x a week.
For recovery purposes, I take Epsom salt baths, go to Cryotherapy at Cryofit in Syosset, NY, go to Physical Therapy, get massages, and I do push-ups, sit-ups, stretch and roll everyday.
Nutrition is extremely important as well. So I’m constantly on top of my food intake eating good carbs (brown rice, sweet potatoes), protein (chicken and fish) and drinking at least 100 oz of water a day.
Wellness Patterns: What has been the reaction to your run?
Jay Asparro: When I tell people about my 75 mile run, their eyes get big and they tell me I’m crazy. Then I explain to them that I am running in honor of my grandmother to raise awareness for Alzheimer’s, then they understand. 90% of the time I tell someone I’m running to raise awareness for Alzheimer’s, they begin to tell me someone they know who is living with Alzheimer’s.
As for media attention, I believe it is still too early to get their attention. I’m hoping when the run gets closer- TV, Radio, and any other media outlets will give me an opportunity to speak about Alzheimer’s and the impact it has had on my family.
Wellness Patterns: Why was it important for you to do this for your Grandmother?
Jay Asparro: Unfortunately, my grandmother doesn’t know who I am anymore. I know who my grandmother is and I refuse to have Alzheimer’s define my grandmother’s life. My grandmother lived with Faith, Joy and Love for her Family. That is what I run for and I always appreciate an opportunity to talk about my grandmother. She has three sons, who married three great women, she has seven grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren that she loves and is very proud of. I run all of these miles with love for my grandmother and my family.
Wellness Patterns: What’s something you’ve learned first-hand about Alzheimer’s?
Jay Asparro: I’ve seen the toll it takes on the caregivers. My parents, Aunt and Uncle are the caregivers for my grandmother. I also run for them because I know how much they have sacrificed to be there for my grandmother everyday. Their strength and love for my grandmother is something that helps me train when I don’t want to train.
Again, when I talk to people about Alzheimer’s, I’ve met caregivers and I see the stress and pain they have gone through or going through. I not only run for my family but I run for families living with Alzheimer’ and families who have lived through Alzheimer’s.
Wellness Patterns: How can someone help out if they aren’t a runner?
Jay Asparro: I’m raising money for the Long Island Alzheimer’s foundation, so donations would be greatly appreciated. They can go to www.theannasparrorun.com and click on the donate link. If people want to help me promote the run, that would be great as well. They can email me at email@example.com.
Below is more information about the Long Island Alzheimer’s Foundation:
For 29 years, LIAF has been providing supportive community-based services to Alzheimer’s families on Long Island. LIAF offers critically needed social adult day programs for individuals facing Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias and their caregivers. LIAF takes considerable pride in its pioneering role in the development of cutting edge services that foster the independence, dignity, well-being and safety of individuals with Alzheimer’s. LIAF is pleased to announce that the organization’s headquarters have relocated to a new state-of-the-art facility at 1025 Old Country Road in Westbury. The more centrally-located facility will provide the opportunity to bring services and programs more easily to those who need them. A special community open house and grand opening celebration is planned for spring 2017. For information call (516) 767-6856 or visit www.liaf.org.