On the Road to the Marathon: Peter Riddle Joins Team JAF

Every JAF runner has a different journey to undertake on their road to the Marathon finish line. Winter weather, grueling training, and early morning runs can seem insurmountable, but for Team JAF runner Peter Riddle, this year’s marathon—his very first—is a labor of love and recovery. 

Peter was at our marathon watch party at Forum last year, and sprang into action as a first responder, bravely jumping the barriers to get to those in danger. In the wake of those terrible events, Peter decided the best way to heal was to hit the road and cross the finish line at this year’s marathon, proving that his spirit—much like the spirit of Boston—could not (and will not) be broken. 

Jen and I are so excited to welcome Peter, a long time Foundation supporter and board member, to Team JAF’s marathon team, and so proud of his strength and determination. His drive and upbeat attitude represent everything the Foundation stands for, and we can’t wait to see him succeed this April. 

Click here to help Peter continue his outstanding fundraising efforts for Team JAF!

– Joe Andruzzi

HOMETOWN: Tewksbury, Massachusetts
OCCUPATION: VP/Group Director—Staffing, DigitasLBi
FUNDRAISING GOAL: $26,200 (and beyond!)

JAF: What inspired you to run for the Joe Andruzzi Foundation Marathon Team this year?
Peter: The events of last year really motivated me to run for the first time in 2014. Like many others, each year I would party along the Marathon and tell myself that I’m going to run it next year. Somehow that desire disappears in January when it’s so easy just to sleep in on a cold, snowy morning.

My decision to run was also made as part of my personal PTSD recovery. Startle response is an uninvited condition that I work through every day and training for the Marathon lessens its effects. With running, I am forced to go back to April 15 and work through so many things that I saw in the hope of being myself again. Running the route during trainings and passing Forum allows me to embrace my fears and anxieties and become stronger because of them.

JAF: What’s your marathon fundraising goal? How do you plan on reaching that goal?
Peter: My goal in running the Boston Marathon is just to finish! Very similar to my fundraising, there is no number associated with it, other than as much as I can! To raise as much as possible, I am reaching out to as many people as I possibly can: friends and family, Facebook friends, colleagues at work and anyone interested in supporting the Foundation through my training.

I hosted an event at Forum on March 9.  We had a great turnout, and raised a lot of funds to help support JAF patients and families. Every dollar we raise has an impact on the families in need. Those families, along with the memory of what happened last year at Forum, keep me driven and motivated as race day approaches.

JAF: How’s training going? What is your regimen?
Peter: Training is going well. I participate in all the long runs organized by Susan Hurley of CharityTeams and other meetings that JAF facilitates. I have my personal trainer, Ramon Garcia, conditioning my upper body to increase my strength to help carry me longer and faster. Lastly, my overall diet is improving. Eating right as you train up to Marathon day is a huge component of that day.

My personal regimen consists of working with Ramon twice a week, Monday and Wednesdays at 5 a.m. Hill training on Tuesday’s. Six to eight mile runs on Mondays and Wednesdays.  Four to six mile runs on Fridays, depending on how I feel. Saturdays are for long runs, 10 to 15 miles. Sunday is set aside for 60 minutes of elliptical and 30 minutes of random stretching.

JAF: Do you do other charity work? How/why did you get involved?
Peter: I am a JAF Board Member. The work that the Foundation does for so many is my passion and focus at this time. Giving and helping others is in my DNA. DigitasLBi is a very philanthropic workplace. We are constantly being asked to help out so many and when asked, it is very natural for me to just do and rally others to join in. Cradles to Crayons, Community Servings, American Heart Association and the Pan-Mass Challenge are charities that give me inspiration and allow my philanthropic passion to come out.

JAF: Do you have a “theme song” and – if so – why is it YOUR song?
Peter: My theme song is “The Man” by Aloe Blacc. To me this song is about being great. Being great isn’t about being perfect or the best. It’s about being who you are, being honest.

JAF: What do you do to stay “upbeat” and motivated while training?
Peter: I stay “upbeat” and motivated while training by laughing a lot and poking fun at the strangest things that one experiences as you train for this Marathon. I never imagined how much laundry training generates, how time consuming preparing for a marathon is and how great I look in zebra striped tights!

JAF: What would surprise the inexperienced about marathon training?
Peter: The amount of gear you need to buy. Also, even though it’s an individual sport, you never really run alone.

JAF: What’s the best training meal or snack?
Peter: Everything! When you train for a marathon, you are always hungry and eat constantly!

JAF: Is “runner’s high” a myth… or real?
Peter: I am not sure if “runner’s high” is real or not.  I do know this year is/will be a very emotional year, and I have found myself at about the eight mile mark filled with emotions and tears.

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