Archive for the ‘Running’ Category


With more than 330 disabled athletes  – in 150 wheelchairs, the TCS NYC Marathon has the largest fields of athletes with disabilities of any race in the world.  As part of our partnership with Runners World for this year’s marathon Amy Freeze caught up a New Yorker who has done more than 30 marathons on two wheels.

With arms that barely function and legs of diminished strength, Bill Reilly must use steady kicks in small motions to move his chair. What seems like a method against the odds – is actually the inspiration of an endurance athlete.

He’s become so familiar racing through the boroughs, the crowd gave him a nick name explains his guide Harold Chayefsky. “He’s famous on the course. They approve and they scream and they know him on the course after 25 years or so.”

“Backwards Bill,” is the nickname of Bill Reilly who has Cerbal Palsey yet claims nothing – not even training for 26.2 miles – to be difficult. He takes a trip in 1.5 hours to get weekly workout in every Saturday  with his team.


He meets up with his Achilles Team Guides – and they simulate the steering and breaking they will do on race day – where downhills can take them to a 7 minute pace amongst their 10 minute pace.  On the course when runners are shoulder to shoulder on the course,  “First ave is tricky and in harlem some of the hills are tricky and 59th street brigdge…” Harold explains.

His never give up and never give in attitude comes from his family –

“Started with his mom – his mom they wanted to put him away – his mother said no he’s my son and I’m going to make him grow and productive.”  It’s the same  message Bill hopes others get from seeing him on race day.

Bill says, “Disabled people you can do anything you want if you put your mind to it!”


IMG_6800_2See the story with video CLICK here   While most people her age are playing bridge, an octogenarian is training for this year’s TCS NYC Marathon. I joined a marathoning Grandmother from New Paltz for a training run in Central Park. We started by her stretching ME out.  “Work work it girl one more stretch.” At 80 years old Geri Owens can show you a thing or two.  Make no mistake about it.  This marathoning grandmother has taught fitness in New Paltz for a couple decades – she says runners are the best kind of people.

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 Geri explains marathoners just watch out for each other, “if ‘ faster than me you slow down and I speed up and if I speed up and you slow down.”  She began running in the early 80s when her kids were all finally in school, explaining “the fourth  of my four children went to kindergarten…. So now is my chance.” And she was good at it.  Winning her age division at track meets and even qualifying for the Boston Marathon!

Geri says, “I think better I sleep better more energy more tolerance… clean cabinets after running 13 miles? I don’t think so…”  Geri has finished races from subfreezing 9 degrees to sizzling 90 degrees!  Her challenge in this year’s 26.2 mile race – finish under 7 hours as she pays tribute to those she has lost. 

Especially her siblings, “it’s the memory of my family… lost brother to Alzheimer’s and my sister died at 30,  my other sister at 57. I just want to do it and cross the finish line for them and I will get there because of them.”

Her strategy on race day is – high fiving kids on the course!  See you at the finish Geri and Goodluck from TEAM ABC7!  See her story on



NBA Basketball Pro Amare Stoudemire is not the only athlete in his family –  his wife and mother of their 4 children is taking on the TCS NYC Marathon this year.  Amy Freeze joined his her for a run in Central Park to hear about her training.

Athletics is nothing new for their family but – now the spotlight is on Alexis Stoudemire  – who is literally turning in to a  a marathoning mom! I have four children ages 9 8 6 and 16 months… I take the kids to school and then I’m running literally running after wards,” says Alexis.

Her training includes weekend training runs including all the ins and outs of marathoning from chaffing to goos. It’s a brand new sport mixed in with her duties as a supportive wife and doting mother – she’s pounding the pavement to help others!

 “My gf amber sabith whos husband plays for the ny Yankees signed me up!” Alexis said.  To run for charity!  What started as a way to raise money for the Sabitha’s inner city youth charity became a Bucket list item!


Alexis was an athlete growing up – but that was before babies and being and adult life took over! Now, she admits training is tough! “Its one of the hardest things ive ever done the discipline waking up and setting a schedule – figuring out when I can run.”


After years on the sidelines encouraging Amare – she says her husband has become her biggest cheerleader – Watching over the kids while she does long runs on Sundays – and of course he gives her recovery tips!  “He knows how to recover rest and taught me to ice espon massage eat correctly have to recover –enough rest!”  And it’s all paying off!

Alexis said “I feel good about myself and I feel lean and healthy!!  It’s something that i’ve noever done before so that is the joy I’m getting out of it!

Goodluck – see you at the startline Alexis AMY FREEZE & TEAM ABC7



Bionic Man

Posted: October 29, 2014 in PERSONAL, Running
Tags: , , , , , ,


Amy Freeze with Marathoner Fred Volpacchio

Amy Freeze with Marathoner Fred Volpacchio

Natvie New Yorker Fred Volpacchio was concerned he would never be the same. the 55 year old had run 28 marathons when a high speed bike crash in Central Park took him off course.  Fred says, “I swerved to avoid a biker and I crashed.”  His wife got him trauma care at the Hospital for Special Surgery with Dr. David Helfet. “He fell off his bicycle – broke his pelvis and ball of the hip joint went into the pelvis… well, after this your lucky if you could walk without a limp,” Helfet says. 

Remarkably, Helfet performed a surgery that would put all the pieces back together using metal plates and screws. The process would allow the hip to heal instead of a total hip replacement.

Fred had not missed at new York marathon since 1995 and he still hasn’t!! Ironically his surgery was the year of Superstorm Sandy’s cancellation – now rebuilt, he’s become somewhat of a bionic man! “I’m actually in better shape now than I was before the injury.”

Dr. Helfet says “We are focused on an accident not being the end – get you back in the game back to what you were doing before…

Doc Helfet explains trauma care can make people whole again but he credits Fred’s pre injury active lifestyle and his marathon mindset to securing his full recovery. “For a guy like fred many marathons he had made up his mind mentally to get back to marathoning, back to doing that.” Fred ran new York last year and he’s looking for a 3:40 PR this race visualizing the last turn from Central Park South! Fred says, “tasting the finish and seeing it in front of you that little extra bit to spring and cross that TCS NYC Marathon finish line  is thrilling!”

See you at the finish FRED!

-Amy Freeze

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GO DAD! Fred’s Wife and Daughter will be cheering him on on race day!

Chasing Amy: Running After an Artist

Posted: January 6, 2013 in Running

CAPTURED!  Artist on the Hudson Riverside Running Path

Storms come and go.  The River brings the wood.  The Artist finds his medium.  The runner wanders by and wonders…  Who the heck takes wood knocked over by a storm and carried down river and turns it into an art display?   I found him! 

I run along the Hudson on Riverside Park and for the last year I've been taking pictures of these mysterious sculptures crafted out of driftwood… I run early and late and everywhere in between but I have never seen them being assembled…I have asked the neighbors, the sailors, the park rangers, and I even left a note on one of them one time!  But today I caught him in the act… the artist was pulling driftwood by bicycle up the path!  

"Is it you?" I asked as I ran up in a full sprint.  "It's me, you caught me," as if he knew how elusive he has been for people who travel the Riverside Bike and Running Path.  I caught Howard pulling driftwood from the beach by George Washington Bridge (where the biggest pieces wash up) and he was taking it south down by Chelsea Pier.  His artwork, which is basically, driftwood put into special shapes, can been seen from the GWB down to Chelsea Pier.  Until now, I don't think anyone has revealed him!  But this is not a case closed… I asked him when he builds, he says usually at night….  But, get this, upon further questioning he says he has discovered some art *NOT* made by him… an imposter, a copy cat, or an inspired young budding artist? 




Meteorologist Amy Freeze






Thought I'd kick off my part of the blog with how I started running.  I've asked several runners I know to do the same.  I'll be including their stories in separate profiles.  Please share your story of how you were Raised to Run!


Amy Freeze covering the running community in NYC's Central Park in 2012

Everybody has a story about how they started running as a sport. Mine started young. I began running road races when I was 8 years old growing up in Southern Indiana. My father Bill Freeze would get up on Saturday mornings and enter the local races of the 1980s. His example and love for running is why I am a runner today. He started taking my sisters and me along with him to races from the time we were in strollers.  

At first, we ran the kids “fun runs.” Looking back, I still think there was an energy and excitement to those Saturday mornings that is better than any party or concert or club. Plus, a race was my first brush with fame!  I remember meeting a local TV news anchor, the beautiful Jackie Hays (now retired from WAVE-TV) in Louisville.  She was so nice and even took a photo with us.  After years of running with my age group, I eventually got a number and joined my Dad in the 5Ks… and then 10Ks… and then my first Mini Marathon in 1983. It was such a thrill to run along side my Dad in the races. I grew up loving to run. In a time where there were not many sports for girls, I was taught a love of physical fitness that I have had my entire life. 


My Dad was usually a “middle of the packer” but that didn’t keep him for admiring the guys that won the races. He met many of them and had his photo with them. And for many years, a personally autographed poster of Bill Rodgers hung in my father’s home office.  “Boston Billy” is still the only American born (Hartford, CT) US Citizen to have won the NYC Marathon.  I think I knew his name before I was able to write my own!



Bill Rodgers 1979 NYC Marathon

Rodgers was the King of the Marathon boom of the 70s. Track & Field News ranked Rodgers #1 in the world in the marathon in 1975, 1977 and 1979. Of the 59 marathons Rodgers ran, 28 were run under 2:15. In all he won 22 marathons in his career.  My dad tells the story of meeting Bill Rodgers in the early 1980s in Louisville KY at a Cherokee Road Runners 10K Race in Iroquois Park — where Rodgers actually placed 2nd.  He finished behind a young man in his 20s.  When asked why he lost, Rodgers replied, “this is a sport of fitness and he was fitter than I was today.”

The summer after my first Mini Marathon my Dad sent me to camp to learn how to run better.  I attended a running camp put on by the legendary Swag Hartel.


Rare Video of Swag Hartel in 1983 Mini Marathon

At Swag's running camp, I joined other preteens learning form, how to run sprints, drinking just enough water before races and how to chose the right shoes. I still think about the tips Swag taught me during that camp:

Form – holding my fists gentle enough to carry an egg!
Sprints – sprints can be incorporated into any run… it’s called tempo training

  • Water- drink the day before a race, sip on race day

  • Shoes- ALWAYS get them at a Running Store so you have the right size

I ran Middle School and then High School Cross Country with my Coach Robert Calbert.  We traveled all over the State of Indiana to attend meets. I loved running and my teammates.  When I was a senior, two of my sisters and I made up half of our high school cross country team.  I didn't win many races but looking back, the most important victory was learning to run.

AmyhighschoolfinishAmy Freeze crossing the finish line in a JHS Cross Country Meet

AmyhighschoolteamJHS Cross Country Team 1992 Coach Robert Calbert

Running is a habit that I have had throughout my life.  Doing it I have found some of my fondest friends.  Training for races, I have learned to cope and endure.  Competing I have been able to travel and see great places.  And running has given me humility time and time again.   

“If you run enough marathons, you’ll learn that the race can humble you.  If you’ve been humbled, you can go on to greater glories.”

Bill Rodgers 


By Meteorologist Amy Freeze

on Twitter  Amy Freeze