On November 4, award-winning film and Broadway performer Patrick Wilson will run the 2012 ING NYC Marathon, his first, with Team Fox to benefit The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research. We spoke to Patrick about the connection to Parkinson’s that has motivated him to race.
Please donate to support Wilson’s run — and come out to cheer him (and the rest of our 200-runner marathon tea) through the five boroughs on November 4!
Stephanie Paddock: Yours is one of millions of American families touched by Parkinson’s. What is your personal experience with the disease?
Patrick Wilson: Our family’s connection to Parkinson’s is a little unusual in that the disease struck both my paternal grandparents — my father’s father and mother. My grandfather passed away due to complications of the disease a few years ago and my grandmother was diagnosed with Parkinson's shortly thereafter. I'm fortunate to have both grandmothers alive (and over 90!) but it has certainly been difficult and heartbreaking to see my father’s mother suffer as a result of the disease.
SP: We hear from many of our Team Fox runners that completing a marathon is especially meaningful when it’s in honor of a loved one. Have you always been athletic?
PW: I played a few sports growing up but I was always the guys who left early to go to choir practice. Soccer was the only sport I could continue through high school because it somehow fell between the fall play and the spring musical! So running has always been a part of my life... just not to this extent. It's athletic meditation to me.
SP: How is training going? Is it hard to fit in enough running time when you’re on set?
PW: I ran my first half-marathon this past spring at the Quintiles Wrightsville Beach Marathon in North Carolina, and it felt good. Training so far has been going well! It has been difficult finding time between a shooting schedule and a family schedule but, honestly, I look at what Michael J. Fox has accomplished in his work, returning to TV, being a husband and a father, and his charitable work for this great cause and I'm inspired. The least I can do is run for a few hours.
SP: MJFF Board member Ryan Reynolds ran New York in 3:50 in 2008 and then vowed never to run another marathon again. Think you’ll be crossing marathons off your bucket list on November 5?
PW: I’ve always said I would like to run a marathon before I was 40. I started training last year but my schedule didn't allow for the hours needed. So this is my last shot while I'm still in my 30s. I've been reading books on ultra-marathoners, if for no other reason than to tell myself, "If they can do a hundred miles, I can do 26.2." I actually plan on finishing the race and turning around and running it backwards. Otherwise, how will I get my car?