Loren Zitomersky has gotten used to the jokes: “Hey, you’re working the mistaken manner!”
Slamming straight into bushes he didn’t see behind him? Not a lot. Additionally, ouch.
However the Disney film manufacturing lawyer is on a singular quest to interrupt the world document for the quickest marathon ever run backward. Zitomersky, 33, who’s recognized on social media as “Backwards Man,” hopes to perform the feat at subsequent month’s Boston Marathon to boost cash and consciousness for an epilepsy remedy.
The Related Press caught up with Zitomersky, who lives in Los Angeles, to search out out what makes him tick. (Or is that tack?)
AP: Let’s begin with the query everybody certainly asks after they see you: Why?
Zitomersky: My dad misplaced a son to epilepsy in 1977 earlier than I used to be born. I by no means acquired to fulfill Brian, however his loss clearly had a huge effect on my dad. He and I began driving bikes and working marathons to boost cash for the Epilepsy Basis. No person needs to speak about epilepsy — it’s such a stigmatized dysfunction — but one in 26 individuals has it.
APAP: What are your plans on the Boston Marathon on April 16?
Zitomersky: Final June, I certified for Boston with a three hour, 14-second marathon. Instantly I informed myself I’m going to go large with my epilepsy fundraising and consciousness marketing campaign. I used to be wracking my mind making an attempt to determine what to do for Boston. Somebody threw out an concept: What a couple of world document? However a lot of the data have been sort of tacky — quickest marathon run whereas dressed as a clown; that form of factor. Then I stumbled upon the document for the quickest backward marathon.
AP: Who holds that world mark now?
Zitomersky: Xu Zhenjun set the document on the Beijing Marathon in 2004 with a time of three:43:39. Beating it’ll imply working backward at a tempo of about eight and a half minutes per mile. In coaching, I’ve labored myself as much as 45 backward miles per week, however I can’t emphasize sufficient how onerous it’s. It’s not environment friendly in any respect. Your calves really feel like they’re on hearth. You employ 33 % extra power working backward than ahead.
AP: What are the occupational hazards?
Zitomersky: At first it was powerful simply getting my bearings and steadiness. Early on, I ran right into a tree and reduce up my again. Once you’re working ahead you’ll be able to zone out. You possibly can’t do this working backward. However I’ve gotten used to it. Typically I run with a pal who acts as a spotter. He’s mainly the eyes behind my head: “Proper, proper … left, left … in 100 yards we’re going to make a left flip.”
AP: How do individuals react after they see you?
Zitomersky: Hey, it’s LA — there’s numerous weirdos out right here. Lots of people simply stare at me. Some get actually excited and run backward with me for a number of steps. I had a girl run up and hug me. Children love me — most of them, anyway. A little bit woman noticed me and she or he instantly rotated and began working backward. Then she fell down and began crying. I assume backward working isn’t for everybody. However I do get numerous messages of assist from individuals who undergo from epilepsy.
AP: How assured are you of breaking the document?
Zitomersky: It’s actually going to be the toughest factor I’ve ever carried out in my life. I’m certainly not 100 % certain I’ll handle it, however I’m going to provide it my all. I’ll be a wreck, crying my eyes out. I’m going to be a working meme.