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James Mangini Embarks on 1000 Mile Marathon for Team Fox

James Mangini Embarks on 1000 Mile Marathon for Team Fox

Team Fox Mentor, James Mangini will run 1,000 miles from Charleston, SC to New York City in honor of his father, James Sr. and the millions of others worldwide with Parkinson’s disease.  On his planned 30-day journey, James will have to brave busy streets and knee-pounding pavement for more than 33 miles every day.  He kicked off today at 10:30 AM. Follow James over the next month for daily inspiration and help him raise $100,000 for Team Fox!

A few months back I got a call on my cell phone.  It was from someone named James Mangini.  I’d never met him.  He introduced himself, told me he was a Team Fox member, and started to give me the details of an adventure/fundraiser he was trying to pull together.  His plan was straightforward enough; he’d run 1,000 miles, between Charleston, SC and New York City, and he’d do it in no more than 30 days.  Having heard that I just completed a 2,400 mile adventure run of my own for Team Fox, James wanted to ask some advice about life under the stress of so many miles.

James started in on the questions.  What kind of socks did you go with?  How many hours should I rest each day?  Was the cold weather worse, or the hot?  And is chafing really that big a deal?  I threw myself back into my trail mind-set and started to line up answers to his questions, but what I really wanted to do was shout into the phone – DON’T DO THIS!  I wanted to tell him how painful it would be, and how lonely, and how dehydration and muscle cramps would be the very least of his many concerns.

I held my tongue, though, and after more than an hour on the phone with James I realized it wouldn’t have mattered if I hadn’t.

In the course of our conversation I had never sensed any doubt in his voice.  He had asked countless questions about nutrition, joint and muscle maintenance, and running shoes.  But he never asked things like, ‘How hard is this going to be?  How much will this hurt?  Will I want to quit?’ (which is good because I would have been honest with him).  I got the sense he left those questions out because he had already accepted the answers.  James emanated that quiet confidence that comes from being out of options - when you know your task will be painful and damn-near-impossible, yet you have no choice but to face it anyway.

Having now known James for months, it has become clear that he is no stranger to challenge or sacrifice.  James served in the United States Army as a Combat/Explosives Engineer for the better part of a decade, earning the rank of Sergeant in the process.  While on base at Fort Hood, TX, he saved the life of a soldier in distress using Combat Lifesaver skills he learned in training.  James has received numerous commendations from the Army including Recruiter of the Year in 2003.  James’ build betrays his military past.  There is no doubt that he is an athlete, but your first thought on seeing him is not runner (body-builder is more like it).  Before training for his 1,000 mile marathon, James said he had never run more than 5 miles at once, and that was during basic training more than a decade prior.  His challenge is big, but his inspiration is bigger.

James’ father is his hero.  His lessons pushed James down the selfless path that he has traveled through life. It’s his father that James will think about on particularly tough days for the next month.  When asked why he is willing to put himself through this, James responds simply, “because my Dad taught me that people need us, and we should help them anyway we can.”  Well now it’s his Dad that needs the help, and James has stepped to the plate in a BIG way.

James began his journey at City Hall in North Charleston, SC this morning.  For every one of the next 30 days, James will run, walk or crawl more than 33 miles closer to his father’s house in Hillsborough, NJ and his eventual finish in New York City.  Follow James’ Progress and offer a donation to his efforts on his Team Fox page, and wish him luck on the 1000 Mile Marathon facebook page.

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