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 with my Crohn's. And as I pressed on, I became stronger and healthier, 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 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 1970s. 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. It had taken many hours, but 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 not only reclaimed my health, but I have run 12 Marathons (including 10 NYC's), over 25 Half Marathons, have won age group awards and prize money in races with thousands of participants, and was the winner of the 2016 Foot Locker Five Borough Challenge, representing my home borough of Manhattan. My times have improved significantly since I began running over a decade ago, and I am still striving to improve each year. I have always been self-coached, although I would be remiss to say I haven't benefited from incredible support, wisdom and guidance from so many along the way.
Today, I am a Road Runners Club of America Level II certified coach, an Equinox Precision Run instructor, and the leader of Just Another Running Team, an informal run group in NYC. I love sharing the joy of running however I can, whether it be through inviting new runners to group runs or combining my professional skills as a filmmaker to create "Just Another Runner", a documentary series about runners with inspiring stories. I would love to hear from you and be a part of your running journey!
Current Personal Bests:
Mile - 4:44 - 5th Avenue Mile, September 2022
5k - 16:56 - Washington Heights 5k, March 2024
4 Miles - 21:41 - Al Gordon 4M, February 2023
10k - 34:51 - Joe Kleinerman 10k, January 2024
10 Miles - 55:36 - New Balance Bronx 10-Mile, September 2023
Half Marathon - 1:15:23 - United Airlines NYC Half, March 2024
Marathon - 2:42:01 - TCS NYC Marathon, November 2023
Empire State Building Run-Up (yes, that's a thing!) - 15:23 - October 2023
Click the logo above to check out Evan's documentary series and join the movement!