Wayne Joseph’s Blog

Running with the Big Dog

NYC Runner, Mel Deida, Has lots of Aloha

NYC Marathoner, Mel Deida

NEW YORK CITY – If you’re ever looking for big city adventure then NYC needs to be added to your list of travel.  For someone from the small town of Hilo, Manhattan can be somewhat overwhelming.

   Wherever I go on my travels the first thing I look for are safe places to run and walk and NYC has no shortage of either.  On one adventure my wife, Randee, and I took the subway to the Empire State Building, and then spent the rest of the day walking to our other destinations.

   Walking around the city on a beautiful summer day is a great way to get exercise and a fantastic way to see the sights.  We spent the day walking past Madison Square Garden, the Rockefeller Center, Greenwich Village, and of course Chinatown.

   For running areas I wanted to do all the high profile sections of the city that we read about in travel magazines or see on television.  To accomplish this task I recruited the help of Brooklyn native, Mel Deida who grew up in an area called Sunset Park.

   Deida has been a member of the New York Road Runners for the past 11 years and participates in many of the road races held throughout the five boroughs of NYC.

   “I started out being a swimmer and lifting weights in high school,” Deida said.  “I didn’t really start getting into running until my company put together a team to enter the Chase Bank Corporate Run.”

   Deida, who works in the Accounts Receivable Field, was asked to join his company’s team to participate in the Chase Run.  “We needed seven runners, a mixture of males and females, and we each ran three races of 3.3 miles and our times were calculated based on an average and prizes were awarded,” he said.

  From those summer races, held more than 11 years ago, Deida became hooked and hasn’t stopped running since.

  “I look for races with a cause and I dedicate my runs to my deceased brother who passed 25 years ago as he instilled upon me the true meaning of discipline in any sport,” Deida said.   “My brother was active in karate, reaching the Brown Belt level, and he was an active weight lifter.”

   The next race coming up for Deida is the Front Runners NY Lesbian/Gay Pride-Run.  “That race touches my heart dearly as I’ve lost exceptional friends to the AIDS disease,” he said.   “I will also do the UAE Healthy Kidney Run which brings awareness for additional funding for those receiving dialysis.”

Mel Deida

With Deida guiding me around the city for a few morning runs I was able to do some of the most breathtaking adventures that most running tourist only dream about.

   A must for me was spending an hour doing laps around Central Park in the heart of Manhattan.  I’ve seen and heard about some of the races that are held here, but now I’ve experienced firsthand the uniqueness of the area which was an experience in itself.

   On another day Deida took me for a run over the famed Brooklyn Bridge.  The Bridge connects Brooklyn to Manhattan which is an historical land mark and is used during the running of the NYC Marathon.  On this particular day there were other runners, some walkers and several bicyclist crossing over from one borough to another.

   Deida also took me for runs in his hometown area of Brooklyn as we ran along the Belt Parkway, Prospect Park, and Shore Road in Bay Ridge.  My personal favorite is running along the promenade that goes under the Verrazano Bridge.  On a clear morning you can see the Statue of Liberty in the distance.

  I was fortunate enough to have a running tour guide in Mel Deida, but every place he took me to run was safe and had many other fitness buffs either running, walking or riding their bikes.

  Deida is 44 years of age and looks at least 10 years younger and he credits running and a healthy diet with the positive results.

   “The benefits that are attributed from running are in keeping with a healthy life style for me,” Deida said.  “It helps me to keep my cholesterol in balance and it slows down the aging process which is enough to keep me running.”

   As with most fitness buffs Deida still wants to improve his overall conditioning and hopes to add a weight training program and some speed and tempo training in preparation for an upcoming marathon.  “I’d also like to change my eating habits and introduce more proteins and fewer carbohydrates in my daily diet,” he said.

   “I’ll run four to nine miles on any given day,” Deida said.  “I usually eat foods low in sodium and consume lots of Soy milk with mild carbohydrates as possible.  Fruits are part of my daily breakfast.”

   It’s easy for fellow runners, who have never met before, to easily bond as they share their love for running together.  On our final run together, before I packed up to head for upstate New York, Deida presented me with his finisher T-shirt from the New York City Marathon.  “It’s brand new and I’ve never worn it,” he said of his NYC finisher shirt.  I wanted you to have something special to take back to Hawaii.” 


June 14, 2010 Posted by | Health and Fitness, Marathon Running, Profiles | , , , , , , | Leave a comment