It was the early days of the 2020 pandemic and Eddie Feliciano had some time on his hands. Newly furloughed from his job, Eddie, who has been running for years, now found himself able to run every day, filling the hours doing something he loved.
Living nearby, Eddie would frequently run in Van Cortlandt Park, which is a must-visit park for NYC locals. The park spans over a thousand acres and is known for its legendary cross-country course - a grueling test of endurance and seemingly endless hills for high school and collegiate runners nationwide. It was on these trails that Feliciano twisted his ankle during a run and dragged himself back home. Given it was peak COVID, he was too scared to see a doctor. At the time, unless it was an absolute emergency, people weren’t visiting doctor’s offices in the city.
So, Feliciano stayed home and watched his ankle get bruised and swollen, significantly extending the time it took to heal. And even after it felt like he was on the other side of the injury, he was unsure as to when it would be okay to run again.
“There was a mental healing factor,” he says. “Even though my ankle seemed to be better, I was afraid to use it as much. I gained pandemic weight. They canceled the marathon. There were a lot of things that just kept piling up. It wasn’t my best year.”
But like most runners beleaguered by injuries, Feliciano worked his way back into shape and made it to the starting line for the 50th anniversary of the New York City Marathon—just as he was welcoming home a newborn baby.
This is my redemption year. Last year was overcoming injury and sleepless nights. Schools constantly being opened and closed. It was just a lot of things for your mental and physical health. It was a pretty emotional time. That’s why I run. It’s a time for me to be alone and gather my thoughts.
Up to put his fitness to the test - Feliciano is taking part in more races as part of his redemption year, including Race the Bronx’s inaugural 5k. With a love of running in the Bronx with the Boogie Down Bronx Runners, and when he learned that there was a homegrown Bronx race happening, he signed up immediately.
“I was like, whatever it is, you don’t even need to tell me what the course is, I just want to support this as much as possible,” he says.
But now after signing up, Eddie is looking to see if he can get a 5K PR, which for him is sub 19 minutes. That kind of performance takes work, and Eddie is putting in the time and energy despite his busy schedule.
The 38-year-old spends his days working in shipping, specializing in imports and exports. With his schedule, he has to fit runs in at the end of his day or later in the evening. “My life begins at 8:30 p.m. when my kids are asleep,” Feliciano says. “That’s when I’m running outside, or in the gym on the treadmill when it’s too cold.”
For Eddie, his love of running in the Bronx manifests by experiencing the variety of backdrops that he encounters on his daily 10K routes. Typically taking him from Pelham Bay and then through Van Cortlandt— his run starts out in a concrete jungle and then suddenly he’s on a trail watching deer skip by him.
Eddie has big plans this year besides a 5k PR. He’s signed up for a few marathons—Berlin, Chicago, and New York—and hopes to BQ in one if not all of those races. He also wants to make time to join Achilles International and become a pacer for runners with disabilities.
But bringing it back to April, he hopes the Soundview 5k will draw more runners from other boroughs to run in the Bronx. “Just prepare for some hills,” he advises. “We are a very hilly neighborhood, but it’s very scenic if you explore the parks. If you want to lose yourself and still be in the city, this is the way to go.”Bandit invites you to race the Soundview 5K on April 9th in the Bronx - for more information visit the Race the Bronx website.