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New Jersey Special Olympics athlete, Bobby Fredericks had lunch with Apolo Ohno last Friday as part of a blogger lunch where Apolo discussed his training regimen for the NYC Marathon, which he ran in support of Special Olympics.  Bobby participated as a blogger and shares the following post:

Hi everyone, my name is Robert Fredericks but everyone calls me “Bobby”.  I am from New Jersey and I’ve been participating in Special Olympics since 1986 when I started running in track & field.  I’ve had the chance to do many cool things like running in a Torch Run in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and taking part in Capitol Hill Day but this  experience was even cooler because I got to meet Jared (The Subway® Guy) Fogle,  Olympics speed skater Apolo Anton Ohno and his trainer, Todd Rushworth.  Apolo Ohno accepted a challenge from Jared to run in the NYC marathon on Sunday, November 6th and he decided to run and support his favorite charity, Special Olympics.  Subway agreed to donate $26,200 to Special Olympics if Apolo could complete the marathon in less than four hours.

On the Friday before the marathon, I got invited to attend a blogger event at a Subway® restaurant in New York City.  My day started with riding the train from my hometown of Lincoln Park, NJ to New York City which was fun because I really like trains.   We spent some time at my mom’s office before taking the subway to the Subway® restaurant where we met a lot of nice people from Subway® and numerous media outlets. The purpose of the blogger lunch was to have the opportunity to talk with Jared, Apolo and Todd and ask questions about their training programs for running the marathon.  Jared ran in the 2010 NYC marathon and shared his experiences.

Apolo Ohno is probably the best Olympic speed skater and has won many Olympic medals.   For his speed skating races, he trains for races that last only forty seconds.  He said training for a running marathon is a lot different because of using different muscles and the fact that it is sustained running for 26.2 miles.  That takes a lot longer than forty seconds!  One of the biggest adjustments Apolo had to make for marathon training was to not go all out in his workouts, like he does when he is training for short track speed skating. His trainer, Todd talked about the importance of a healthy diet of carbs and protein for long distance running.   It was fun listening to their stories about Apolo’s training program and adventures.

I asked Apolo what it was like to make the transition from short distance speed skating to long distance running and Apolo said that it was difficult at first because you don’t have the “drafting effect” like you do in short track racing and running longer distances required more than just being able to run.

One of the bloggers asked how he felt about his bronze medals in the most recent winter Olympics and he said that the color of the medal doesn’t matter to him because what truly matters to him are the experiences of being a part of that event, training with his teammates, and the memories, which were more important to him than any medal.   All of the bloggers asked many questions.  They ranged from what he eats, where he trains, what he was going to wear and how he was going to wear his hair the day of the marathon (I didn’t ask him that question).  One of the bloggers asked him if there was going to be a special someone waiting for him at the finish.  I really liked his answer because he said his Dad would be there waiting for him.

I also had the chance to ask Apolo what sort of things he’s had the chance to do because of his work with Special Olympics. He talked about being part of the announcement that the Special Olympics World Summer Games will be coming to LA in 2015 and that he also got to walk in with athletes at the 2011 Special Olympics World Summer Games in Athens, Greece.  So it truly shows that Special Olympics affects all athletes including the professionals and that while they may influence us as far as how we would like to be perceived by others.   We (the athletes of Special Olympics) can also be an inspiration to all professional athletes no matter what town/city, state/province or country we live in.

Afterwards, we had lunch which consisted of Jared’s, Todd’s and Apolo’s favorite Subway sandwiches.  Apolo’s favorite sandwich is a 12 inch, double meat, turkey sub on honey wheat bread with lettuce, banana peppers, and oil & vinegar dressing.

After lunch, I was able to talk with Apolo one on one and I  shared three of my medals with him,  one from the 2011 SONJ Summer Games, another from the 2010 Special Olympics USA National Games in Nebraska, and another from the Philadelphia Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon that I ran in September.  He was really excited and gave me a pat on the back.

It was really cool because as a Special Olympics athlete I’ve always looked at how the professionals react to the outcome of their competitions and I noticed that Apolo always responds with honesty about how he performs in competition. He takes responsibility for his performance and is a really a nice down to earth person. This is why I’ve always looked up to professional athletes like Apolo Ohno.

Blog and Race Update:    Awesome news, Apolo Ohno finished the NYC Marathon in a time of 3 hours, 25 minutes, and 12 seconds and Subway is donating $26,200 to Special Olympics.  Congratulations Apolo and many thanks for supporting the over 3 million athletes of Special Olympics around the world.

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One thought on “Lunch with Apolo Ohno

  1. Great write up! I was at the lunch also and was impressed by Apolo’s honesty, enthusiasm and passion. He seems like a great guy and is inspiration to many.

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