On the Run

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VALLEY VIEW - If you see 'some strange guy running in the dark with a headlamp on,' that's him, he warns.

Brenden McCormick likes to train in the wee hours of the morning. The Schuylkill County man, who turns 38 this month, will be competing in one of the biggest challenges of his life, while running for a cause to benefit others.

He's one of more than 45 runners (from first-timers to accomplished, elite athletes) joining WNEP-TV's Ryan Leckey in "Ryan's Run", and will race in the ING New York City Marathon on Nov. 3. Ryan's Run raises funds to benefit Allied Services, a non-profit health care organization assisting children and adults with disabilities. McCormick was chosen by his employer, Jack Williams Tire & Auto Centers, to participate.


"May of this year, I was diagnosed with cancer, underwent surgery and needed something to pick back up my spirits," said McCormick. "When Jack Williams asked me, the timing was just right. A marathon was always on my 'bucket list'. Not knowing if I could or couldn't, I love a challenge and got involved.

"After meeting Jim Brogna (Assistant V.P. of Advancement) and touring Allied services, I realized there are a lot of people that need help and on all different levels. These people provide the help needed to return people to a normal life as they once knew it or to help them to achieve the best quality of life possible.

"As Jim told me, 'we can never have a bad day'. I truly believe every day is a gift and it is what we want it to be. They prove that and I saw that in their patients' eyes. Regardless of what cards are dealt to us. I now knew this was something I had to be part of. Running a marathon should be nothing compared to the struggles their patients face every day.

"It's such a great cause," said McCormick.


McCormick graduated from Tri-Valley High School and attended Vale Technical Institute in Blairsville, Pa., where he earned an Associate's Degree in Automotive Techniques and Management. He works as a Technical Service Trainer for Jack Williams Tire & Auto Service Centers.

He resides in Valley View with his wife of 16 years, Tammy, and his two children, Austin, 15, and Emily, 12.

As a long-time soccer coach and community volunteer, he took up running and cardio work as a way to keep in shape for coaching his daughter's soccer team and to also go cycling with his son. He coaches the Tri-Valley U-13 Girls' Team, in the Schuylkill County Rec League.

Since then, he has completed many 5K runs, a Century (100m) bike ride to benefit the MS Foundation, many Warrior Dash runs, and his favorite, a mud obstacle race called the Spartan Race Series.

McCormick started training for the NYC marathon in June of this year. He had been racing the last two years in the Spartan Race and has been conditioning over the last two years, on and off, he said.

"I train four or five days a week, depending on what my body is telling me. I usually run anywhere around our local Hegins, Valley View area. I try and get most of my runs in during the week early morning. I also will run with some fellow Ryan's Run members in the Mountain Top area and Pottsville. I also take some long runs on Sundays with my son from Valley View to Gratz. He rides his bike while I run. He supplies me with water and energy supplements as I run. He is a huge help."


Brenden's employer, Jack Williams Tire, is a three-time major sponsor of the Ryan's Run campaign. Over the past three years, the Ryan's Run campaign has raised more than $500,000 for children and adults with disabilities in Northeast and Central PA served by Allied Services.

"The funds raised with the help of our runners and the local community allows us to invest in the staff, services and cutting-edge technology that mean we can provide the high level of care and expertise usually only found in bigger hospitals in New York and Philadelphia," said Charlotte Wright, Director of Special Events & External Affairs for

Allied Services. "Essentially, families recovering from life-changing injuries or seeking rehab and therapy for children and adults with disabilities don't need to be separated, to look for care outside of the local area," Wright said.

'Role Model'

According to Jason Williams, Executive Vice-President of Jack Williams Tires, Brenden is a first-rate candidate.

"Brenden is in involved in other outdoor athletic competitions and enjoys staying in shape and being fit," said Williams. "Brenden is an energetic and motivated team player who is engaged in developing our employees and is a perfect role model for automotive technicians," he said.

Beat two things

Training for the marathon, as well as battling cancer has presented challenges McCormick has addressed, head-on. He's lost 25 pounds, since training in June.

"How has it changed me? On my facebook page I wrote a post - 'Today I am 37 years old and have done something I have never done before. I ran 18 miles.' Next week I get to post the same but it will say 20 miles. It showed me that my family and friends were right. Brenden, I know you, you can beat this, you can do whatever you set your mind to. I am running to do both. Beat two things I thought I never would have to."

Brenden has a brief biography on the website: http://www.allied-services.org/ryansrun/?popup=mccormick where donations can also be made.

Any dollar amount can be donated. You can also pick up a Ryan's Run Calendar for $5 at a local Jack Williams Tire and Auto Service Center in either Shamokin, or Pottsville at the Fairlane Village Mall. For any $30 donation on the above link, contributors can get an official Ryan's Run Dry Wick T-shirt.

For more information on Allied Services and the run, visit http://www.allied-services.org/ryansrun.

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