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Scott and Tony
RUNNING FOR THEIR LIVES
The reasons runners cite for tackling the Marine Corps Marathon are as varied as the race field itself; some run to honor military members, others are raising money for their favorite charity, and still others run for the glory of completing a seemingly impossible distance. Then there are runners like Scott Shiminski and Tony Zoroya. Over the course of their marathon training Shiminski and Zoroya have lost a combined total of nearly 200 pounds. These men are literally running for their lives at the MCM.
For Munhall, PA native Zoroya, 33, it was genetics that prompted him to reexamine his lifestyle. A family history of health issues frightened him from continuing his poor habits. In February of 2010, Zoroya’s weight topped out at 380 pounds, and he made the decision to get fit.
"My mother passed away at an early age," says Zoroya. "It was too much building up and I realized this was no way to live, and I was setting myself up for an early death. Something clicked, and I was literally terrified of what I had let my life become. "
Beginning with the Couch to 5K program, Zoroya has worked his way up to participation in half marathons and triathlons. With the aid of a personal trainer, he has continued his preparation for the 26.2-mile distance. Over the course of training, Zoroya's total weight loss to date is 140 pounds. A strong finish at the MCM will be representative of the changes he has made in his life.
"For me, it [the finish] will show I have changed my life around 180 degrees for the better," says Zoroya. "Being overweight left me very sad and depressed, something I never realized was happening. I’ve also gotten over that mental road block of feeling limited. Now, there’s nothing I feel I can’t do. Completing the MCM will solidify that."
Shiminski, 42, from Clemmons, NC, can also credit family for his decision to pursue a healthier lifestyle. As Marines serving in the 1970s and ‘80s, he and his brother Dennis were held to the high physical standards set forth by the Corps. At a recent family gathering, however, Dennis noted a decline in Scott’s physical fitness. He challenged him to prepare for and join him in running the 2011 MCM. In February Dennis held his brother to his promise; they signed up for the marathon and Scott committed to eating better and training for the race.
"Running and a big dietary change has been the biggest part of my weight loss," says Shiminski. "The running has been more enjoyable than I would have ever expected."
Shiminski's effort has yielded a weight loss of 50 pounds and a great deal of positive changes in his everyday life.
"As my weight continued to fall my job got easier (I am a self-employed farrier), my stomach no longer gets in my line of sight when I am working, and my back doesn’t hurt near as bad at the end of the day," shares Shiminski.
Another important benefit to Shiminski's weight loss is the promise of an MCM finish with his brother. The duo plans to keep sibling rivalry at bay and finish together as brothers and Marines. The only competition will be against the clock.
"Crossing the finish line will be one of the biggest accomplishments of my life. I am sure there will be a few tears shed...and probably a sigh of relief," says Shiminski." I don’t know that I can prepare myself for the emotions that will follow this event."
Finishing the MCM will be the culmination of months of dedicated training for both men. They agree that embarking on the path to physical fitness and adopting a healthy lifestyle are worthy endeavors, and they readily offer encouragement to those considering doing the same.
“You have to decide for yourself that you want to change your life for the better and stick to it,” says Zoroya. “There will be good days and bad, and the longer you stay on your training program the easier it gets. You also have to learn that nothing is impossible. If you have a dream or a goal, if you can think it you can do it. You’re only limited by your imagination and outlook on life.”
Shiminski adds, “The most important thing for anyone taking on a weight loss program is to do this for yourself. If you surround yourself with a great support group you can go as far as you want to. The keys to success in any program like this are to set realistic goals. If you set achievable goals you will succeed. This will be an emotional ride, enjoy every minute of it.”
A key part of the mission of the Marine Corps Marathon is to promote physical fitness, making it the ideal place to showcase these fitness achievements. Running with the Marines highlights the dedication Shiminski and Zoroya have exhibited throughout their weight loss journeys.
“I know that ‘honor, courage, and commitment’ are the cornerstones to Marine Corps values,” says Zoroya. “If you can follow those three objectives in your journey to a happier and healthier lifestyle, you’re on the right track and it will be easier than you think.”