Who I Am
My name is Evan Wood and I discovered running by accident– in fact, I grew up with terrible asthma, was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease at age 14, and by 17 I was severely underweight due to my symptoms. It was in 2011, when I attended a sustainable living school in The Bahamas called The Island School, that I would go for my first run. Every student was required to train for and complete a 4-mile swim or half marathon… and I failed the swim test, so running it was! When I started, I could barely jog the 4-mile loop without using my inhaler. But even if it was difficult, it was nothing compared to the pain I had already been going through. And as I pressed on, I became stronger and healther, relying less on my inhaler, and the stomach aches began to disappear. For the first time since my diagnosis, I felt a great sense of control and comfort in my own skin, and that I could be rewarded for my hard work. By the end of the program, I had not only completed the Half Marathon, but I had come from the back of the pack to finish near the front, in a time of 1 hour and 46 minutes.
I fell in love with running and in 2012, I decided to run the New York City Marathon for Team IBDKids, a charity which supports pediatric Crohn’s and Ulcerative Colitis patients like me at Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York, where I received my care. My coach was none other than my doctor, Keith Benkov, who has been running marathons since the 1970’s. I survived the training, and even though the marathon was cancelled due to Hurricane Sandy, I met my fundraising goal and joined thousands of other runners to run the distance in Central Park anyway. When I had finished, I was overcome with emotion and fulfillment– I had come a long way since the sleepless nights, doubled over in pain. Life didn’t have to be a constant repeat of “woe is me”– not if I had any say in it.
Since then, I have run 7 consecutive New York City Marathons (including three Boston Qualifying times) and 20 Half Marathons (including 7 NYC Marathon Qualifying times), and I won the 2016 Foot Locker Five Borough Challenge, representing my home borough of Manhattan. I have remained injury-free since I began running and continue to set PR’s almost every time I cross a finish line. Today, I run for the West Side Runners club, serve as the group run leader at JackRabbit 3rd Avenue, and combine my professional skills as a filmmaker to create "Just Another Runner", a documentary series about runners with inspiring stories.
Current Personal Bests:
5k: 17:37 Half Marathon: 1:17:08
10k: 35:23 Marathon: 2:54:08
Click the logo above to check out Evan's documentary series and join the movement!