This Sunday, 55 Team Fox members will be lacing up to conquer the streets of New York City for the Half Marathon to raise awareness and funds for Parkinson’s research. We caught up with our youngest runner, Zach Weiner (age 13), about the upcoming race.
Zach is no stranger to Team Fox as he raised over $50,000 last year in lieu of presents for his Bar Mitzvah!
What first inspired you to join Team Fox?
I was first inspired to join Team Fox when I started to see how my Grandfathers Parkinson’s symptoms were affecting his everyday life. I never really understood the disease until a few years ago when I choose to do a science poster on it. I was surprised to see another one of my class mates and friends, also choose to do their poster on Parkinson’s and learning that his Grandmother also has PD. It was then that I realized that I needed to take action, not only for my Granddad, but for everyone else living with or affected by Parkinson’s.
Last year, you raised over $50K by asking for donations in lieu of Bar Mitzvah gifts—so inspiring! How did your friends and family react to your generosity?
I made the decision to ask for donations instead of gifts two years prior to my Bar Mitzvah. My Parents were a little surprised and they didn't think I was being serious. They told me to think it over before I made that decision but I was sure that I didn’t want, or need presents. When I told them I was serious, they were proud.
What was most surprising about your first fundraising effort?
I was really surprised by all the support I received and how many people wanted to help my Team Fox efforts.
This year, you’re taking on the NYC Half Marathon— is this first big race?
No… this actually is my third Half Marathon! I started off with a more relaxed Half in New Jersey; a superhero inspired race where everyone was dressed in cool costumes. I was also very lucky to run that race with my best friend, Raphael. My second half was the Boston Half Marathon. This one was my favorite for two reasons; I loved getting to run in a new city that I had never seen before, and it was truly awesome to see that all of the members of Team Momentum (the fundraising team of the MDA for Muscular Dystrophy) cheering me on. I am very excited to run this race in NYC because it is the greatest city on Earth and I’m proud to call it home.
What’s your most/least favorite part about training in New York City?
My favorite part about training in the city is that there are so many different places to run. My most memorable training run was when Rock (my coach in many aspects of life) and I took a cab all the way down to the bottom of Manhattan by the Freedom Tower and we ran all the way up the west side highway to about 80th street, then crossed over through the park and ran home. It was a little over 10 miles. My least favorite part is when you have to stop at traffic lights while running on the street. I really dislike this because I can never really get into a rhythm.
What are you most looking forward to about race day?
I am most excited to finally be able to meet some of the other Team Fox members who have the same goal as I do. I am also very excited to run the city because this is my first half at home.
What’s one piece of advice you’d give to another teen looking to get involved with Team Fox?
I would probably advise them to set reasonable goals because it is a pleasant surprise if you surpass it, as oppose to setting a large goal and then not meeting it.
Good luck to Zach and the rest of this year’s NYC Half Marathon team!