August Athlete of the Month – John Longo

What is your age, occupation, background, hobbies, and other sports?

I am 32 years young and work as a physical therapist in the area. I have held a number of jobs in a number of outpatient clinic settings, but now am happily employed in East Greenbush working with the geriatric population. I also coach varsity boys’ cross country and track at Ichabod Crane.

I grew up playing a lot of sports other than running and am a bit of a latecomer compared to others to the sport. Now I primarily run and lift in our recently renovated home gym. I also like to hike and bike (mountain and road) but those take a back seat to running when I’m training for a race, which recently has been for like 15 consecutive months.

I am an avid Buffalo Bills fan and Syracuse basketball fan, and admittedly a fairweather Yankees and Knicks fan. 

When and why did you start running? 

I started running in 7th grade, mostly because my parents wanted us to be involved in some sort of sport or afterschool activity.

I got more involved with running as a junior in high school. I always ran cross country but played basketball and baseball for my school in the other two seasons. 

As a sophomore I got hit by a pitch and had some internal bleeding and it was then we discovered I was only born with a single, solitary kidney! I didn’t have my right kidney. As a right-handed batter I got hit below my ribs and injured my left kidney. And surprisingly, my only kidney. If not for the imaging, we would have never known. This more or less ended my time playing other sports and made my life more running-centric.

What’s your favorite race to date, and why?

This is a tough one! To stay motivated I divide my running into “during college” and “after college.” So, I don’t get discouraged as an adult with a job, a house, and real responsibilities, when I don’t get near my old times. As a college runner I think my favorite one has to be a race we did during spring break at Point Loma Nazarene where I ran the 1500 and the 5000, and it was such a pretty track. You should look it up online! In the 1500 here, I raced against an Olympian (decathlete Bryan Clay)! He went to Azusa Pacific University, which was pretty close, and continued to train at the school after he graduated.

As an adult, I think the 2022 NYC Marathon was pretty cool. Even though I didn’t really race it, the crowd was wild! It was rows of people deep at every single point and felt like an actual party.

What is your approach to training? Do you follow a particular training plan, or do you work with a coach and if so, who?

I have been working with a coach, Matt Lopiccolo, for the past four years. He was my coach in undergrad at Oneonta and then went on to coach at ZAP Endurance before being named Director of Operations at Duke. We had worked together for three years in undergrad and then again for another four years when I ended my running hiatus and decided to start training again (because I was outgrowing my wardrobe and it’s cheaper to buy running shoes every few months and sign up for a race here and there than it is to buy brand new clothes). After the recent Boston Marathon build, I decided to put a pause on the coaching relationship to take a break from marathon training (having done four in the last 15 months).

Matt is one of my favorite people and it’s been fun watching him grow into his new role and being a dad from when I knew him 10+ years ago. Duke is on the rise as a program, and he was getting busier with his role flying all over the country to recruit and watch his athletes race. At the same time, I was realizing that he had taught me a lot, and I was more than capable of figuring out how to dose workouts appropriately, what I seem to respond well to, etc.

I think the freedom will allow me to enjoy running with my high school athletes, Run Club., and CREW Racing more. I expect to do a conglomerate of recycled workouts from my time with Matt, help my wife out with some of her workouts, and jump into a few of the “Run Club” workouts.

What is your weekly mileage in peak racing/marathon training season? What is your approach to the off season?

My mileage during peak marathoning seems to hover around between 72 and 80 miles. I’ve done four full and two half marathons the last 15 months so I haven’t had much of a “down season.” This summer and fall will probably be my first down season. The last few days I have been reviewing some old training logs to see what I’ve been neglecting during this time. 

Spoiler: It’s been missing a lot of speed.

The next few months, like I said, will be helping out some of my high school athletes in workouts as their season comes to an end. I imagine I’ll help them run a few workouts this summer while they train for college. But I will probably let my wife, the CREW Racing girls, Charlie, Aidan, and Ryan Udvadia tell me what workouts they’re doing and see if I can help lead a few reps.

During our cold winter days, do you brave poor weather conditions or stick indoors on the treadmill? 

My wife and I are before-work runners, so the winter is challenging! Saratoga County usually does a pretty good job of tending the roads so most of the time we will put on some trail shoes and only have to brave the half a mile it takes us to leave our neighborhood to get to some pretty well-groomed roads. But we each have our own treadmill in the basement so if it’s terribly snowy or windy we will not hesitate to hide there – thankfully this winter was not too bad.

List your PRs: Race, time, year:

This is semi-difficult because TFRRS (Track & Field Results Reporting System) wasn’t consistently used when I was in college. It became an NCAA rule that races had to be logged on here in 2013 or later. I’m like 99% sure these are right:

1500: 3:57 in 2011/2012(?)

1600: 4:18(?) in 2011

3000: 8:32 in 2011

5k road: 14:48(?) as a grad student in 2013 when I ran with Stotan Racing

5000 track: 15:02(?) Maybe 15:03(?) Probably 2011, 2012, and 2013 – never broke 15:00 as a college student.

My half PR was set recently and is 1:10:50-ish

My marathon is 2:35:34 from Boston.

What is your favorite distance?

I love the 3000m, man. It’s such a fun race. 

Your favorite shoe for training and racing

I thankfully don’t have very picky feet. As a PT though I do like shoes with a wider toe box and my posterior tibialis also agrees. I probably do like 60% of my easy run mileage in Topos, my workouts in some Puma Deviate Nitros, and race in the Asics Metaspeed Sky. 

But my rotation also has a few Mizuno models. I like to change up my shoes every day, though, and try to not wear the same pair two days in a row. There is a little bit of research coming out too, that indicates it may not be a bad idea to wear different brands or shoes with different midsoles, outsoles, toe boxes, drops, etc., which may keep the over-use and stress injuries at bay. 

Ever run in a costume?

I haven’t. Just a blue jeans mile once.

What are your favorite pre-race and post-race meals?

I seem to be able to stomach most things, thankfully without messing up my runs/races. Pre-race (like the day before) is probably pizza. You know you get plenty of calories in. Post race is probably a hot breakfast? Maybe when my wife makes pancakes?

What challenges / races / adventures are you planning for the coming year?

We have the Boilermaker on the calendar this year and that’s about it at the moment. I’m going to see what Run Club wants to do. We have chatted about doing a few cross country races as a team. I’ve lived here since 2017 and haven’t ever done the Turkey Trot or the Stockade-athon. So maybe those? 

I’d like a chance to break 2:30 in the marathon at some point. But no immediate plans to do that within the next year. I am looking, though! 

What is the greatest piece of advice you've ever received in the sport?

Matt Lopiccolo used to tell us in undergrad, “Once you’re in shape you don’t have to kill the workouts. Just do what’s written and they'll take care of the results.”


My name is John Longo and I’m 32. I grew up in Endwell, NY and spent many of my summers in Buffalo, NY, so I consider that to be a second home, of sorts.

I’m a husband, Corgi-dad, runner, physical therapist and high school cross country coach at Ichabod Crane. I got into running my senior year of high school, having played baseball and basketball prior to that. I found out that I only have one kidney in my junior year of high school, which meant I shifted my sport focus to something with less contact. Cue running.

I ran at Oneonta and got pretty-ok. From there I went to SUNY Upstate to study to be a physical therapist and ran semi-pro (?)/sub-elite (?), with Stotan Racing on a Nike-kit deal. I got a lot of my shoes, uniforms, warm-ups, entry fees, all paid for or mostly paid for. I met my future wife and followed her around the northeast for a few years before we got settled in the Capital District.

As many of us do, I fell out of the sport for a while before realizing I was growing out of myclothes and could either sign up for races to motivate me to train, or spend more money on all new clothes. For a recent college grad the decision was easy.

Thankfully, my wife and I have very similar interests and value a life that includes running, biking, and hiking, so with the exception of a 3-4 year hiatus running has been a very prominent piece of my life and our relationship and something we bond and connect over. I met Charlie and Aidan when I was working as a physical therapist and even when they weren’t my patients any more, we stayed connected and I was quick to commit when they began this group.

Who knows what the next few years hold? One thing I know is that running, exercising, and building friendships through those have been a great part of my life in recent years, and will hopefully remain at the forefront for years to come.

John with Run Club members: Charlie Ragone, John, Aidan Canavan, and Ryan Udvadia

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