Name: Anthony Carl Ricci III
Nicknames: The Flash, Captain America
Hometown: Copiague, NY (and still here)
Parents: Anthony & Cynthia
Siblings: Nick, 30 & Troy, 22
Marital Status: Married to my beautiful wife Renee
Pet: Thor, Newfoundland/Black Lab, almost 2 year old “puppy”
Preferred App: RunKeeper
Preferred Sneakers: Nike
I came into this world on April 26, 1984 at 11:44pm in Good Samaritan Hospital. For all the mothers out there, I was a piece of cake; only 22 hours of labor! The first 3 years were between Levittown and Brooklyn and then my parents rented a house in the small town of Copiague. Most people ask where it is—between Lindenhurst and Amityville, or just about as far south and west as you can go in Suffolk County. They have since bought and renovated that house and I lived there up until last April when I moved in with my wife, but we’ll get to that later.
The joke in my family is that once I started talking, I never stopped! I’ll try not to be too long winded in this spotlight, but no promises. Growing up I was always into sports. I played baseball, basketball, and soccer in the youth league and was lucky enough to be coached by my dad for the majority of my childhood. Most days in the summer and afternoons during the school year were filled with playing outside (gasp!). There was endless games of kickball, whiffle ball, hide and seek, etc. Let’s fast forward through the awkward middle school years and onto high school.
I attended Copiague HS and was very active in all sorts of extracurricular activities including Marching Band (for one year), French Club, Soccer, Baseball, and more. I also started my officiating career at 16, umpiring baseball and referring basketball. I more or less lived at Tanner Park which was great since it was so close to home. It was nice too because my mom was baseball commissioner, my dad coached and officiated, and both my brothers were on teams. My senior year, I was captain of both my soccer and baseball teams, but we were awful—the baseball team went 0-18 😫. Notice, no track or cross country teams for me. I graduated in 2002, ranked 6th in my class and in August headed off to college at the University of Connecticut.
Going away to college was an awesome decision and I tell anyone looking at schools to go away. Although I am very close with my family, it is a great learning experience. I initially was enrolled as a Computer Science major but switched over to Psychology. I’ve always been someone that my friends come to for advice and guidance, so it was a natural fit. As for my individual sports career, I played Intramural soccer and flag football, but again, no competitive running. I was lucky enough to develop friendships with a group of guys that I still hang out with on a regular basis today, even 10+ years after graduating.
This is also the time I would point to my running “career” starting. I didn’t gain the Freshman 15, but I did gain the Sophomore 20! I asked my roommate to make sure I started going to the gym after winter break. I would run the treadmill a few days a week and eventually ventured outside into the New England coldness to run around campus. I would track my stats using a stopwatch and enter them into Microsoft Excel. This seems like ancient methodology with what we have today!
The party ended in May 2006 and I headed out into the “real world”. The catch about a degree in Psychology is that the next step is usually more schooling. I decided to enter the workforce instead as an Assistant Manager at Walgreens in Deer Park. That was short lived and less than a year later I made my first career change, entering into the field of education. My first position was as a paraprofessional in Half Hollow Hills School District. After about a year, I returned to school to obtain my Master’s Degree in Childhood Education. Back in my day (tongue in cheek) there was a small school known as Dowling College. While earning my degree, I moved up to a Substitute Teacher position. Even with my degree, the teaching market was very difficult. I made a lateral move to Assistant Director of Education at Huntington Learning Center. About a year there led me to my first “own” classroom! I was now a teacher at Queen of All Saints in Brooklyn. It was an extremely challenging year, especially with the commute. I only stayed for one school year and then headed back to Half Hollow Hills as a substitute teacher. In November of 2013, my Uncle Jay called me to ask if I knew computers and was looking for full time job; this led to my next career change. I accepted a position as a Security Technician, installing and programming security equipment. I am still in this position and really enjoy it!
My Better Half
This Spotlight would not be complete without a section about my amazing wife, Renee, who has a smile that lights up a room. We started talking in November 2012. The timing couldn’t have been better as I was getting discouraged about teaching in Brooklyn; she helped me get through the school year. When I asked her out to sushi for our first date, she accepted without hesitation so I had a feeling she was a keeper. We dated for a while and eventually realized we were made for each other. I proposed in May 2014 on a private beach in Greenport (more on that coming this week). We married on June 4, 2016 and went on an epic honeymoon cruise visiting five countries in twelve days, with stops in Spain, France, Italy, Turkey, and Greece. We adopted an adorable puppy in August 2016 and if you’ve followed any of my social media, you’ve seen Thor in all his glory.
Renee is truly my everything: an amazing cook and baker, runs a successful lifestyle blog while working fulltime, understands my craziness, is an avid sports fan (even though we root for mostly opposite teams), and makes me the man I am today.
My Running Story
I was never really a “runner” per se, even though I always played sports that involved running. Starting in about 2010, I would run 2, 3, maybe 4 mile routes around the neighborhood just to stay in shape. I like to joke that I was a founding member of RunKeeper since I paid $9.99 to download the app way back when. I ran the occasional 5k race once in a while but I didn’t get serious about it until October 2016. Renee registered for the Rock ‘n’ Roll Half in DC that took place in March 2017. We were excited to go away for the long weekend since we’d never been there. I then thought to myself, “why don’t I sign up to run it also?” My longest distance ever completed was 7 miles but it would give me something to do all winter. It is amazing what you can push your body to do when you truly put your mind to it. I completed that first half in 1:51:01 and hadn’t been so proud of an accomplishment in a long time.
My first foray on the Hills was just about a year ago. Lou asked David Rockitter to “guide” me. Instead of doing the traditional 10k, we added in an extra loop to make it just over 7 miles! But I survived, have been back plenty of times, and am also on the sub-50 minute list.
If you are still reading this, I truly appreciate providing you a glimpse into my life story. I would like to thank everyone I have met over the past year or so for making me feel like a part of this family. Finally, a special thank you to Lou for asking me to share an “abbreviated” life story and I look forward to sharing more throughout the week.
P.S. – A special thank you to the two ladies I met before the Brewery Run in 2017 on the line for the bathroom before the race. They told me I should come “run the hills” to enhance my training. Unfortunately, I was so nervous about the race, I don’t remember who it was (feel free to take identify yourself if you remember meeting me!)