Saturday Spotlight – Kevin Gercke (9/26/20)

Saturday Spotlight

Name: Kevin Gercke

Age: 47

Kids: 2 Daugthers (Lauren almost 17 and Lily 13)

Pets: 2 cats (mother/son) Maia and Dexter.

Current town: Selden

Favorite teams: Mets, Jets, Islanders, Penn State football.

(I hate the Rangers and all teams from Philly.)

Hi Hillbillies! You may know my face from the Rush Hour Renegades pictures. I’m usually the picture taker. Sorry for traumatizing you all with close-ups of my face.

I know I haven’t met a lot of you in person yet. It seems that most of you folks are morning people. Yeah, that’s not me. I’m a night owl. Never in bed before 1AM.

You may have noticed that I left out the “hometown” line that most WOTW’s include.

The reason being that I don’t really have a single hometown. My parents divorced when I was 5, so I grew up with a single mom and my older brother.

We moved A LOT. What’s a lot? I moved 8 times in the 10 years between Kindergarten and my freshman year in high school. It actually felt really strange to NOT move during the 4 years of high school. So I was always the new kid. Sometimes it was great because I made cool, new friends but it was always short lived as we were moving again. My older brother Eric, is 2.5 years older. We were very different in most ways. He was 6 feet tall by age 12 / I was 5’ 1” until a growth spurt at age 14/15. He was quiet and mild mannered….me? Well, let’s just say I was that kid in the neighborhood that parents tell their kids to stay away from. I sometimes got in fights, but it was never my own fight. It was always to protect my older, bigger brother who was too meek and shy to defend himself. He was a big target for bullies because of his large size but mild-mannered ways. I, on the other hand, was fiercely protective and almost welcomed the job of protector.

The one thing my older brother and I absolutely had in common was our love for sports. Now, due to the aforementioned age and size difference he had a natural advantage in most sports. But like any typical little brother, I was super-competitive with him and it drove me to excel. We played every sport you could imagine – soccer, football, baseball, basketball, hockey, wrestling, volleyball, tennis. We also played “running bases” and “kill the guy with the ball”. We rode our bikes everywhere.

But running?…like, JUST running? Nope, That was usually punishment from the coaches for not playing or practicing how they wanted.

I did run with a track team from age 13-17 but not for school. I was our team’s 1-mile and 2-mile guy. My best times were 5:08 and 10:38. I would also run the relays when needed. However, I never “trained”. I just showed up to the meets and ran. Not once did I run outside of the meets, unless it was for another sport.

Anyway, I feel like this is going on a bit longer than anticipated. So fast forward – I played volleyball competitively until age 36. But after that, nothing organized. I just kept going to the gym a few times a week with my good buddy Roger Belz, whom many of you know. So in 2018, after Roger had dropped a bunch of weight, we signed up to run the Michael Murphy “Run Around the Laķe”. That was the first time I had seen the infamous red shirts. Now I had moved to Selden in 2001, so I was like “Who are these people?” We ran a few more races, saw more red shirts. Then at the Hamptons Half Marathon, Roger met Yolanda Roma Szymanski who invited him to run the hills. Then I did the same in November 2018. However, I injured my knee on that very first hills run (wet leaves suck!) It took just over a year of several failed comebacks before finally being able to be back in the hills full time starting this past March.

If you made it this far, thank you for taking the time. Thank you to Lou LaFleur for the opportunity. Lastly, thank you Team Selden Hills. I love that this group has so many different personalities but it seems there is one thing we all have in common: You all are so supportive of one another and that’s what I’m most proud of as a member of this group.