Recognized as one of the country's premier events, the TCS NYC Marathon attracts runners from far beyond the city's five boroughs. One runner set to make the journey for the big day is Tampa resident Mark Capobianco.
Though currently a Floridian, Mark was born and raised a Long Islander. His early training for sports like hockey and boxing was rooted in the familiar terrain of his neighborhood. "I would run down the length of Deer Park Avenue all the time. When I moved to Babylon, I would run trails in Belmont Park, and Argyle Lake was one of my favorite spots," he recalled. Now, he spends much of his time training along Bay Shore – not the community in Long Island's own Suffolk County, but rather Bay Shore Boulevard, the longest continuous sidewalk in the world located in Tampa Bay.
Since moving to Florida, Mark has also had to make other adjustments to his regiment: "It's definitely easier to train in Long Island than in Florida. I have to wake up at 4 a.m. to run before it gets too hot." Fortunately, heat won't be too much of a problem when he returns to New York in November.
The trip will mark a visit to old stomping grounds for Mark, who completed the Long Island half marathon with his brother in 2014. Now, amidst preparations for his first full marathon, he admitted, "I'm a little nervous, but very excited." His much anticipated full marathon debut takes on even more importance in light of his commitment to Team Mission United.
When his father Phil Capobianco, Vice President of Local IUOE 138, suggested that Mark find a spot on Team Mission United, he was happy to join. “Local IUOE 138 is proud to support Team Mission United, a cause that is very important to our members,” said Phil. “I cannot wait to be with my son on race day as he crosses that finish line.”
“Many members of Local IUOE 138 are veterans themselves, or have family members that are veterans,” added John Duffy, Business Manager of IUOE Local 138. “It is a tremendous honor to have Mark represent us as he races on behalf of those who fought for our country.”
"I'm thrilled to be part of the team and the efforts to raise money for the cause," added Mark. "I have friends down here in Florida and back home on Long Island who have served in each sector of the military. I have the utmost respect for the military, especially our Long Island veterans." Running for Mission United provides the perfect opportunity to support these veterans, as its programs focus on providing services such as career training and emergency financial aid to those who have served.
For Mark, all the early morning training is worth it when considering what he hopes to accomplish as part of Team Mission United. "Whatever money and awareness we can raise isn't anywhere close to the sacrifices they've made, but it's something we can do," he said. His dedication to the cause provides Mark with more than enough motivation to complete the race.
In the end, he shared, it all comes down to mind over matter: "Once you're in the moment – in the race itself – you have to know you're capable of it. I just have to know in my mind that I
absolutely can finish it." With determination like that, Mark already has Team Mission United halfway across the finish line.