Compete 4 CMV Spotlight: Rob Pickus
Do you have a personal connection to the National CMV Foundation?
Yes – my son, Noah, was born with Congenital CMV in October 2004.
How did you learn about National CMV Foundation?
My wife, Lynn, was a Board Member of Stop CMV before they joined forces with the National CMV Foundation a couple of years ago.
What motivated you to sign up as a Compete 4 CMV runner?
I single-handedly raised over $10,000 for Stop CMV for my first marathon in 2013 and over $15,000 for my second marathon in 2017. I have long lobbied the NYRR to make Stop CMV/National CMV Foundation an officially recognized charity. That finally came to fruition this year. So of course I wanted to be part of the inaugural Compete 4 CMV Team.
How would you describe your running style?
I am a competitive runner. I recently joined the Greater Long Island Running Club Racing Team (May 2018).
Have you run a marathon before?
I have run two marathons – both in NYC – 2013 and 2017. I was supposed to have run in 2012, but it was canceled due to Superstorm Sandy which devastated our area, and in 2016, but I tore my meniscus that required surgery.
What’s your favorite marathon memory to date?
In my first marathon, my family had been doing their own mini-marathon that day trying to meet up with me at Miles 8 and 18. They had just popped out of the subway at Mile 25 when my wife saw me. She is not known to have an exceptionally loud voice. I was in so much pain at this point of the race that I practically had tears coming out of my eyes. She started screaming my name and I heard her above the cheering of enormous crowd. I then started thinking about all the things that my son had to contend with and it motivated me. I finished the last mile very strong.
A close second is crossing the Queensboro/Ed Koch Bridge in virtual silence – other than the pounding of the pavement by other runners and the cars on the other side of the bridge. Then hearing the loud roar of the hundreds of thousands of spectators as I came off of the bridge at 59th
Street, turning onto First Avenue. It’s a very emotional, overwhelming experience.
Do you run with music or without? If with, what artist or song is a must have on your marathon playlist?
I do run with music. I generally listen to 80’s music sprinkled with some Top 40 from today. I love Billy Joel, Def Leppard and Huey Lewis. Of course, “Eye of the Tiger” by Survivor is a MUST for Marathon Sunday!
What are you most excited about when it comes to the NYC Marathon?
Finishing – and the cold beer and wings that follow!! I do enjoy the comradery of the runners and the support from the crowds as we race through the various neighborhoods.
What are your fundraising tactics?
To make people give until it hurts! I do it via Facebook and e-mail campaigns.
What keeps you busy when you’re not marathon training?
When I am not with my family or working, I cross-train by swimming and biking – doing triathlon sprint races. I did my first one last year and second one on August 26th
this year. Additionally, I am a Board Member of the Plainview Little League where I developed one of the larger Challenger Baseball Programs for kids with special needs. I am also an avid Yankee and Islander fan and try to go to as many games as possible with my son.
Do you have a message for our National CMV Foundation community?
Never give up and don’t take “no” for an answer. Kids are very resilient. When Noah was born, at a week old, our short-time pediatric neurologist told us that we shouldn’t bother with hearing aids, glasses or early intervention. He will never walk or talk. We should essentially just institutionalize him. Needless to say, Noah is thriving! He attends a special needs school in Old Brookville on LI. He plays every sport under the sun – baseball, skiing, ice hockey, basketball, soccer, surfing, swimming, lacrosse – and he’s a runner too (he’s run three 5K races). He truly is the strongest human being that I know. HE is MY hero!
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