Flipping through Facebook pictures one day in January 2011, Queens Village resident Joseph Gordon realized he was gaining too much weight.
He had just started a job as an accountant after college and attributed his weight gain to lack of exercise and sitting at his desk “all day.” So that same day, he decided to start working out and joined a local Bally Total Fitness.
Gordon is 6’2” and was 345 pounds then. Now he’s 255 pounds and gearing up to compete in his first ING New York City Marathon next month.
“A lot of feelings are overwhelming me,” Gordon said. “But I’m just trying to keep my eyes on the prize.”
The prize is completing a grueling 26.2-mile route that travels around the five boroughs and ends in Manhattan, which a few years ago would have seemed impossible for Gordon.
When he started exercising, he had lighter workouts and started to change his diet. He began running at a friend’s suggestion and eventually entered a race. Gordon fell in love with the racing atmosphere and continued to enter and compete in various racing levels.
“My whole perception of running changed from those couple of months,” Gordon said.
To train for the marathon, Gordon started running 25 miles a week since July. He gradually increased his pace until it peaked at 40 miles a week.
Gordon adjusted his diet as well. He eats five meals a day, mixing in two small meals with traditional breakfast, lunch and dinner. His meals are filled with lots of protein, fruits and vegetables.
Gordon posts pictures of his meals and workouts on his Instagram account, @senor_gohard, to more than 2,000 followers.
Some followers who have noticed him at races told Gordon that his training has inspired them.
“It’s really interesting to hear, ‘You’ve motivated me to do this,’” Gordon said. “It makes you feel like what you say or don’t say could affect someone. It motivates me.”
The furthest distance Gordon has ever run was 19 miles, a remarkable achievement, but a far cry from completing the city marathon. But no matter what, he’s determined to finish it, much like how he was determined to lose weight.
“Even if I can’t run the whole thing, I want to be able to finish,” Gordon said. “Even if it takes five or six hours.”
UPDATE: Gordon completed the marathon with a time of 4 hours and 36 minutes.
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