Meet Avaya’s Marine Corps Marathon Runners
“Oorah, soldier, get going,” yelled out a Marine in full uniform as Vinny Vercamen ran down a hill, nearing the finish line after 26.2 miles.
Two years prior, Vercamen would’ve laughed at the idea. Him? A marathon? He could barely get himself on the treadmill to run a mile!
But in 2004, Vercamen walked out of a routine doctor’s appointment with unexpected news: his cholesterol was high. Something needed to change.
Vercamen began running–a half-mile here, a mile there. What started as a necessity quickly morphed into a passion. In 2006, just two years after his doctor suggested he increase his cardio, Vercamen finished his third marathon, the Marine Corps Marathon.
And so, when Avaya Government Solutions presented the opportunity for Vercamen to tackle the course again, he couldn’t resist.
“It’s the best of both worlds – a chance to do this awesome, flat, beautiful race again with an improved time and to run for the company I work for and am proud of,” he explained.
Vercamen’s no stranger to the 26.2. In fact, he’s been conquering a marathon a year since that fateful doctor’s appointment… including the illustrious Boston Marathon in 2010.
“The Boston Marathon is the Cadillac of marathons,” he said, followed by a chuckle. “That’s like going to the Super Bowl as a football player.”
Heading into the Marine Corps Marathon, Vercamen’s looking to nail a personal record. To do that, he’ll need to maintain a 7:27 mile pace. He’s training with 60 to 70 miles a week, hitting the pavement for long runs, pacing at the track and doing bridge sprints.
Still, he’s most excited to be running for Team Avaya.
“I’m looking forward to meeting the other Avaya folks at the tent and getting everybody pumped up and motivated,” Vercamen said.
- Back in ’06, the day before the Marine Corps Marathon, Vercamen found out his wife was pregnant with their third child. She was waiting to tell him until after the race, but accidentally spilled the beans early!
- Vercamen has been with the company for around 13 years in total.
- Knowing Vercamen was an avid runner, US Service Provider Account Leader Emma Carpenter encouraged him to run as part of Team Avaya.
John Roeder knows how to put mind over matter.
Roeder will take on the Marine Corps Marathon at the heels of one the most challenging, grueling events in America: the Blue Ridge Relay, a 208-mile running relay that treks through the mountains of North Carolina and Virginia. Roeder was part of a 12-person team for the relay and ran more than 1,000 feet of ascent and 2,000 of descent well into dawn.
Now, though his legs are still sore from the relay, Roeder’s getting his head back into training mode for his next challenge: keeping up with fellow Team Avaya member Vinny Vercamen.
It’s the competitor in him.
Roeder’s the youngest of five siblings, but other than birth order, he won’t settle for anything less than #1. He wakes up early in the morning, heads out on long runs and works out with a group of guys, too.
“I’m naturally competitive, and I also know I perform better when I’m exercising,” he said. “I become sharper and faster.”
And he’s ready to give the race all he’s got for–what he calls–“a great way to honor the Marines and a great race.”
- Most of the time, Roeder shows up just as a race is starting or (he joked) even late!
- Though he’s been a consistent runner since college, he’s only run one marathon before, the Charlotte Run for Peace in 2003. He was so tired after his first marathon, he couldn’t bend over to untie his shoelaces!
- His tenacious energy is an inspiration to his three kids, aged 10, 8 and 6. His daughter, the 8-year-old, brought a map of the Blue Ridge Relay race route to her classroom’s show-and-tell.