New York Runner Magazine published a nice profile on yours truly in their “Run This Town” section.
You can check the profile above (click here for a larger image). A big thank you to John Honerkamp for making this happen, Duncan Larkin for the wonderful writing, Stuart Calderwood, Jillian Babcock for the flattering photograph, Mary Wittenberg and the New York Road Runners.
If you’d like a closer look at the process behind my Fred Lebow painting, please click here.
Some Thoughts on Running
From 1993-2002, running was more than a lifestyle — it was my identity. I took to running for many reasons, but the two key factors were a lack of politics (run faster, win the race) and the ability to beat someone twice my size (a big idea to a 4’11″ frosh). My teen evenings were spent sifting through Dad’s voluminous archives of running magazines, dreaming of greatness. I’m embarrassed to say I once penned a letter to Frank Shorter, telling him I would be winning the 2008 Olympic Marathon (we all know how that turned out).
In high school I had some immediate success as a freshman, running 4:52 and 10:11 for the 1600 and 3200 respectively. My big breakthrough came in the spring of my junior year when I ran 9:22 at state. When all was said and done, I finished with PB’s of 4:20 (mile), 9:18 (2 mile), 12:48 (Van Cortland XC) and 15:40 (5k track). From there, I was incredibly fortunate to receive a scholarship at Boston University where I ran for Bruce Lehane and Pete Schuder.
There, I achieved a low level of success (particularly when compared to the astonishing accomplishments of today’s collegiate athletes). I ended up with one team America East Conference Championship, two individual conference championships in the 5k, an All-Northeast honor in cross country and PB’s of 4:17 (mile), 8:32 (3k), 14:48 (5k), 25:14 (Van Cortland XC) and 30:35 (10k Franklin Park).
After college, I began to explore other interests while still holding on to the dream — after all, I was certain a vicious cycle of injuries held me back. Upon my arrival in NYC, I had a brief tenure with the Manhattan Track Club. While juggling design work, performing stand-up comedy and training, I posted some decent races and solid workouts. Then, as it happens, life caught up with me, I took a corporate job and no longer had a chance to train with fortitude.
What would mark my eventual swan song, I ran the 2005 Las Vegas Marathon under-trained carrying an extra 20 pounds of Jason. My finishing time of 2:50 was well under my goal of 3:00, and I even ran negative splits (1:27/1:23). Following this race, the fire burned once again, so I trained in earnest for the Boston Marathon. However, weeks before the race I hurt my calf and had to put things on hold.
After that, I decided to target the New York Marathon. Training was going exceptionally well. I recall a workout of 2X10 miles on the Bridle Path run in about 55 minutes a piece. I figured, if I can run New York in the 2:30′s, I’d give it one last go and dedicate a year to the dream. Alas, the cruel mistress injury struck yet again and I’d finally had it. I bought some goalie pads from the trunk of a guys car, signed up for an ice hockey league and became a beer league hockey player.
Today, I’m finally at peace with my career. It took years to stop saying, “I ran this time, but could have run much faster if this and that didn’t happen”. I ran what I ran, accomplished what I did and had an extremely fortunate go at it. Having been a serious runner for so many years, I’ve lost the ability to enjoy running on a basic level. A few months ago, I went on one run with my brother Tim. Five hours later, I’m telling my wife my scheme to poolrun, get fit and run a fall marathon. I’m not ashamed to admit, competitive running is an addiction no different than coffee, booze or drugs. I’m exceedingly envious of the people I know from many years ago who took up running as an adult and can enjoy the journey.
Some of my best friendships were developed over long runs full of deep conversation. This has lead to a great deal of interesting situations, projects and life experiences. I worked with friend and fellow reformed runner Glenn Anderson on a feature documentary entitled The Long Road, following two terrific Achilles Track Club athletes in their quest to compete in the New York Marathon. George Malley, legendary American runner and the Letsrun famous “Malmo”, spotted me in Time Out Magazine and put me in touch with Jim Carney and Susan Weeden, who I then worked with on Bomb Wines. John Honerkamp, who facilitated the article above, was my camp counselor at The Running School as a freshman — we’ve been friends ever since. Both of my parents, Steve Borbet (Bayshore HS) and Kathie Borbet (Smithtown HS) are prolific coaches and continue to shape young adults into good people. My brother Tim and Dan both ran, so did my cousins Bobby and Kelli, as well as all of my Uncles. Just last week, college roommate Paul Ryan (9:48 HS, 14:07, 29:32, 2:27 Marathon) rolled through NYC to rock-out.
So many runners I know have gone on to do exceptional things, both on and off the track. I wouldn’t trade the connections I made from this community for anything. Today, hanging with guys like Chris Lear at a Letsrun party, and shooting the breeze with the Brothers Johnson is something I can enjoy on a different level. Will I ever seriously train again? My heart and gut (both references) say no. Will I continue to follow running closely and enjoy the sport? Always.
Running will always be there — however, in painting, I’ve found the road I can chase to the heights I was never able to attain with my legs.