Jim Walsh Runs the Five Boroughs for Fitness and Family
When Jim Walsh runs the 2018 NYRR Staten Island Half on October 14, he’ll savor the stunning views of the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge. The span has special meaning for Walsh, as it connects his childhood home in Brooklyn with Staten Island, where his mother spent her final years.
“She was the healthiest person in the world,” says Walsh, 43, who lives in Milltown, NJ. Before her death from ovarian cancer in October 2015, Walsh’s mother walked three to five miles a day.
Walsh had started running a couple of years earlier as a way to get in shape. After his mother’s death, he doubled down on training and entered races connected to the fight against cancer. Last October, he braved the rain to run his first New York Road Runners race, the NYRR Staten Island Half.
“I love the Staten Island race,” says Walsh. “I’m a big guy, six feet, three inches and 270 pounds. Doing this is extra motivation.”
This year, Walsh is kicking it up another notch by running all five races in the NYRR Five-Borough Series. Then, three weeks after the NYRR Staten Island Half, he’ll take on all five boroughs in one day at the 2018 TCS New York City Marathon. He did the race for the first time in 2017, finishing in 5:41.
For Walsh, running is a family affair. His sister is a two-time New York City Marathon finisher, and when Walsh first started running, she’d tease him by saying, “Call me when you’ve run the New York City Marathon.”
In July, Walsh was delighted to see his 7-year-old daughter complete her first one-mile fun run. “Now every time I sign up for a race, she goes, ‘Do they have a fun run?’” Walsh says. “It’s a family event now: We get up early, we go to a race, and we go to breakfast. It’s a nice way to kick off our day.”