During 2019, we’ll highlight NYRR Open Run participants, volunteers, and groups whose stories and accomplishments have had an impact on their neighborhoods and communities.
George Caggiano, center, with mom, Stacy, and dad, Steve.
George Caggiano is not your average boy. After he celebrated his 9th birthday at NYRR Open Run in Cunningham Park in mid-July, one of his fellow finishers asked him if he planned on indulging in a kids’ meal at a local fast food restaurant to commemorate the occasion. George, who had also completed his 48th Open Run that day, responded politely, “No thank you, I don’t like that stuff.”
George’s atypical aversion to fast food is just one aspect of his unique view on health and wellness. At age 7, he began running regularly with Open Run and participated in youth 5Ks. He kept returning to Open Run weekly because of how confident finishing made him feel. He also already understands the link between proper nutrition and fitness ability, explaining that “by eating healthy, you can go faster!”
George running with mom, Stacy, and cousin, Shea.
Each week is a different mix of fitness fun and healthy eating for George, whether it kicks off with his favorite Meatless Mondays or Taco Tuesdays. In addition to cooking meals with and for his family, George loves riding his bike (as fast as possible) and swimming. In his free time, he likes to watch the New York Mets and tackles math problems from school. Either way, he always likes to finish his week at Open Run and gets as many of his friends and family members as possible to run alongside him.
While George has already achieved more than most 9-year-olds might, his journey is just starting. He dreams of one day working in the culinary industry, either as a nutritionist or chef de cuisine, and eventually wants to finish a marathon. But, just like the humble beginnings of his culinary skills – mixing pancake batter in his highchair – George’s story is reminder that it doesn’t matter where you start, but how much effort and care you put into the job at hand. Progress will be made.
George post-race at an Open Run in July.
So, next time you are deciding between a burger and fries or a healthier option, think of George. Your diet, and future race times, will thank you! Do you think you need the support of a running group to get things going? Open Run meets weekly in 20 locations across the five boroughs and New Jersey.