On November 1, Stany Leblanc will step to the start line of the New York City Marathon with more than 50,000 people. As one of Asphalt Green’s charity racers, Stany is racing not only for himself but also to improve the lives of New Yorkers through sports and fitness. Get to know Stany better, and find out what motivated him to run 26.2.
Q: What motivated you to run the NYC marathon?
A: I really enjoy running. It’s a stress reliever but also a good way to stay in shape. I started running for physical exercise early on in life. Then, I challenged myself by running farther, up to half marathon length. It’s exciting, especially because as an adult there are not as many things to train or aspire for in terms of physical fitness. For me, it was exciting to have a new feat to work toward. I’m competitive, I like to push myself, and I like to be physically fit. All those combined made a marathon something really exciting for me and something I really wanted to strive for. The NYC Marathon will be my first marathon!
Q: Why did you want to run with Team Asphalt Green?
A: I live in the Upper East Side, so Asphalt Green is something I run nearby every day. It was really exciting to me when I heard about its mission of working with low-income students and providing swim lessons and other things of that nature. I'm an assistant principal in the south Bronx, and I work with low-income students and disenfranchised communities. I'm also getting my doctorate in urban education leadership at Columbia University. Anything dealing with minority communities and equity is a big part of my life because it connects my passion for my career in education and it’s something that I believe in.
My parents are both from Haiti; I’m a first-generation American citizen. It’s exciting for me to be part of something that gives back to the community and provides students with opportunities they wouldn’t normally have. Physical fitness and access to resources are all part of people having equal opportunities and the ability to express themselves and experience things that will push them on that path to success.
Q: What do you love about running?
A: My favorite part about running is the release. I love pushing myself physically, relaxing, enjoying nature, and listening to music. I like exploring different routes—East River, Stuyvesant Town, West Side Highway, and Central Park. I'm one of those runners who smiles the majority of the time that I'm running. It’s the only hour or two hours where I put my phone on do not disturb. It’s time for myself; a form of self-care. I get my best ideas when I'm running.
Q: Did you play any other sports growing up?
A: In high school I was on the wrestling, track, and cross country teams.
Q: What’s on your running playlist?
A: I like really good pump-up hip-hop songs. A few are “Blow the Whistle” by Too Short, “Turn My Swag On” by Soulja Boy, “Hold My Hand” by Jess Glynne, Whip My Hair by Willow Smith and anything by Rihanna or the Ying Yang Twins.
Q: Who inspires you?
A: My students inspire me. I'm using the marathon as an example of what you can achieve when you put your mind to something and hold yourself accountable. When you're running, it’s on you to put in the work; your perseverance, your persistence. I see the parallels between running, setting goals, and doing the marathon with going to college or whatever you want your path to be. When you’re running, there are so many times you’re by yourself, and you could give up and nobody would ever know. It's all up to you to push yourself and motivate yourself because it’s your goal. I think about pushing myself and about how proud my students would be of me. I want to set an example for them. I see the parallels between my running and my students’ pursuit of excellence.
Q: How do you stay motivated during training?
A: I think I have a very good accountability system for myself. My parents modeled what it means to be accountable. It was difficult for both of them coming from Haiti—they are both doctors. They taught me from a young age to appreciate what you have and always do what you say. It’s not in my personality to quit or give up on things.
Q; Why are sports important?
A; Sports and fitness lead to someone being balanced. I don’t think our society values balance enough. Mental and physical health are just as important as other things like education, health care, and access to resources. Those things all make a healthy human being. One of the things that limit minorities is the idea that mental health is never the priority. At the end of the day, you a need healthy mind and body because it will help you through many struggles or any ailments. Health is put on the backburner, and some ailments are preventable. It’s undervalued but one of the most important aspects of a human life.
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