Mitzvah Maker – Andy

AK half Marathon 1Want to recommend an outstanding leader to be featured on GTJ? Nominate him/her at info@gatherthejews.com.

Rachel: What brought you to DC?
Andy: My wife was offered an amazing opportunity with an education company in Bethesda.  It was too good of an offer to pass up, and we both agreed she should take it.  I remember thinking to myself at the time that if it was this good for her, how awesome an opportunity must be waiting for me in DC.  We have been here for over two years and it has worked out wonderfully.

Rachel: Running a marathon is a big feat.  How did you get to this point?
Andy: I started running for exercise when I was still 100 pounds overweight.  I started by running for as long as I could (only about a minute), walking until I caught my breath (usually taking several minutes) and then running again.  It was slow, I got very sweaty, and I felt like an idiot bumbling down the street looking like that.  I would remind myself over and over again that I looked even more idiotic being morbidly obese and doing nothing about it.

Overtime, I would get farther and farther before having to stop.  One block became two, two blocks became a mile, and then multiple miles.  After several months I started training for my first 10K (6.2 miles).  Over the years, I challenged myself to keep going farther and faster.  After more than six years of running, last spring I worked up the nerve to enter my first marathon (26.2 miles).

Running my first marathon coincided with reaching my weight loss goal (over 100 pounds lost).  Crossing the finish line after nearly four and a half hours of running was incredibly emotional.  I reached two great milestones that day, completing the race and putting obesity behind me forever.

Rachel: You’re raising money for PresenTense. What is it?
Andy: PresenTense is where community and entrepreneurship meet.  It is an organization that equips passionate people with the tools and support to address communal challenges in the – well-present tense.  I had the privilege of working with the organization when I was the coordinator of the ConnectGens Fellowship at The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington.  Since moving on from that role to work as a Weight Watchers leader and life coach, I still work with PresenTense as a Social Start Trainer for their curriculum.

I hope that others will be inspired to get involved with PresenTense because of my campaign.  They can learn more about my efforts and donate at www.100reasonstowin.com/marathon.

Rachel: What kind of an impact does Present Tense have on the community?
Andy: PresenTense is one organization that has successfully drawn out the course map for entrepreneurs to take their ideas and run with them. PresenTense programs provide the framework for passionate people to address communal challenges.  Over 1000 people have been touched directly by the organization and the ventures started as a result have exponentially been