Written by Joe Scotchie Sunday, 07 April 2013 00:00
Emily Lipari has long reigned as Roslyn’s top long distance runner. Currently a member of the Villanova University track team, Emily has earned a national reputation, illustrated most spectacularly by a cover appearance on ESPN magazine. Emily was inspired by her older brother, Tom, also a long-distance runner. At the same time, Emily is proving to be an inspiration herself. Adam Sirota, an eight-grader at Roslyn Middle School, has also made great strides in the world of long-distance running. He recently completed his third New York City Half Marathon, running for the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research. Of the 14, 527 runners in this legendary race, Adam’s time of 1:38:01 ranked in the top 10 percent of all runners. In addition, he raised close to $1,500 for the Fox Foundation.
Adam’s rise in the running world is due not only to inspiration from Emily Lipari, but also from his mother, Paige, who is also a runner. Paige told The Roslyn News that her son thought running would be “something fun to do” between parent and child. It has turned out to be more than fun, as Adam has proven persistent in making his way from races on Long Island to the big race in New York City. Once he turns 18, Adam hopes to run the full New York City Marathon. As a rising freshman at Roslyn High School, he hopes also to become a member of its cross country squad.
In 2008, Adam became interested in competitive running. In November of 2008, Adam ran with his mother in the Port Washington Turkey Trot, a 5-mile race held every Thanksgiving morning. Adam ran that race in 43:06. And as Paige recalls, ‘[that was impressive for a 9 year old who hadn’t trained, and truthfully, he ran it effortlessly. He was hooked.”
The next year, Adam ran in the Cow Harbor race, his first 10 kilometer run. He also ran in the Turkey Trot and repeated both races in 2010. By 2011, Adam was ready for the half-marathon. His research revealed that the minimum age required for the New York City Half Marathon is 12 years old. And so, 2011 was the first of three consecutive half marathons. That year, Adam had just turned 12, officially making him the youngest person ever to run the half marathon.
Paige said that Adam begins training 12 weeks in advance for the big race. During the week, he runs outdoors with his dog, Cody or, when the weather is bad on a treadmill. On weekends, he runs 8-12 miles, often with his mother as a partner. In addition to running, Adam plays basketball, hockey and tennis.
As noted, Adam runs for charity. In his first half marathon, he ran for the Livestrong Foundation, before doing charitable running for the Fox Foundation. Here are responses from an interview Adam gave to the Fox Foundation following his most recent half marathon.
Q: Why Team Fox?
Adam: My best friend’s mom, Sharon Greif, has Parkinson’s. I’ve known the family for a long time. And a grandparent of another friend has PD. Once I decided to run the half, it made sense to run for Team Fox since I know people with PD.
Q: Why a half marathon?
Adam: I like running — I do track and cross country. I knew it would be a good challenge for me.
Q: Greatest challenge?
Adam: It’s a lot of work to train for the race. I’d do shorter distances during the week and longer runs on the weekend. It was a pretty busy schedule. But it helped that my mom ran with me during my training.
Q: Greatest reward?
Adam: The best part is the end. Your family is there cheering you on, the adrenaline kicks in, and you sprint to the finish. I enjoyed fundraising, too — talking to people about Team Fox and why the cause means something to you.
Q: What’s next?
Adam: I’m running the half again for Team Fox this spring. In 2012, I finished in 1 hour, 42 minutes. I’m not sure I’ll be able to beat that, but I’ll try. Either way, I love the experience.
Q: Best advice?
Adam: Work hard. Do something you think you couldn’t do — something unexpected. It will make you feel great.