Welcome to the first installment of Marathon Memories, a series that will highlight the marathon experiences of a number of Gainesville’s runners.
My hope is that the marathon stories of Gainesville’s runners will inspire others in this area, and all across the country, to run, race and, above all, challenge themselves.
The series’ first subject is Anthony Traina, a 25-year-old University of Florida alum, longtime runner and 8-year resident of Gainesville.
I have known Anthony for many years, as we first met as trumpeters in our sixth grade symphonic band. Back then Anthony was something of a middle school athletic hero, winning award after award and setting school records for running.
To my 11-year-old eyes, it seemed like Anthony was bound for the Olympics. And although that didn’t happen, I can with pure certainty say that I never met anyone else, throughout middle and high school, as in love with and intensely dedicated to the sport of running as Anthony.
Last week I sat down with my old friend in downtown Miami, just removed from the race path of the Miami Marathon, his one and only marathon experience. We chatted about his running background, his marathon experience and his thoughts, in general, on the marathon as an event.
Fastest mile: 4:40
Fastest 5k: 16:20
Marathon finish: 3:19
Favorite running accomplishment: “I’m just happy to have been running 15 years strong now.”
Advice to new runners: “Don’t be afraid to take as much time to get into the sport as possible. Don’t get sucked up into a training program without listening to your body.”
*Thanks to Anthony for sitting down and talking with me, and a special thanks to Jake Diamond for filming the interview.