Marc Pallozzi a letsrun.com visitor has an incredible story. He went from recruited football player to walk on to the track team at Iona, to eventually transferring schools, wanting to be a distance runner, but ending up an All American (D1) in the javelin and an Olympic Trials qualifier. Now he's trying to get on the MTV Real World. Voting for round 2 closes in 4 days and you can vote for him once a day here:
We first heard about him from his buddy, we emailed him and he emailed us back. His incredible story which he said we could share is below:
I never ran track in high school, I played football and baseball, but I was that kid who stayed up at all hours of the night in 2nd grade and 6th grade to watch the summer olympics, and I cried my eyes out for a week straight when that Canadian Seal-lookalike Donovan Bailey beat Michael Johnson in the 150m dash, so running has always been in my blood. In fact when I was 17 I made a list of 10 things I wanted to do before I die and 4 of them had something to do with running; either directly or as a result of a sexual conquest. I own every running book imaginable and I have an autographed copy of Once a Runner; even though Again to Carthage wasn't really on par. Movin on!
I originally went to Iona College because I was recruited to play football but the second I got there I realized that the football team sucked and it wasn't going to be a good fit for me, so I trotted into Mick Byrne's office (who is a great guy by the way) with a crazy idea of running track.
Mick: "What do ya think ya can due far oos?" (my attempt at his accent)
Marc: "well I've always been a pretty good athlete, I'd like to try long jumping"
Mick: "Sounds gewd, see you tamarra at 3 pm"
So my first day of long jumping practice ended up running a 5 mile run with the middle distance guys. I had no prior running experience so I was not aware that Iona was a distance school. So I sucked it up, and just went with the flow. After 4 weeks I was up to 40 miles a week and actually handling the distance pretty well thanks to asst. coach Jay Saretsky (who is now the head coach at Harvard). I didn't have much interaction with Mick seeing as how I was from America and I couldn't run the hills of Van Cortlandt to save my life, but god knows I tried. It was here though that my love/interest in track really came to fruition, and I knew at my next school I would take advantage of that.
So after the keg party in my all dry-quad, and my ensuing dismissal from housing (with a 4.0 gpa), I elected to transfer to the school where all my friends chose to go after high school (SUNY Plattsburgh). It was here that I met Scott Slade. (who is now the XC/Distance coach at Texas - San Antonio). He cultivated my abilities and turned me into a 400 runner/long jumper. After my first year I started to realize that I may be better suited for middle distance. Unfortunately after that first year Coach Slade departed to pursue other interests and the new coach they brought in was a bit of a dick (not the current coach, he's awesome I guess). My passion for Track grew but this wasn't the right fit for me either, so after running for a year, and walking onto the baseball team and playing for a year, I decided to head on home to U-Albany for financial reasons.
Seeing as how I transferred schools twice, I knew before going into Roberto Vives's office that I would have to sit out a year. I wanted to pursue middle distance so I was up to 50 miles a week and was getting into really good shape. I trained by myself for a year, I had no human interaction at all, other then logs with Coach Slade. When my time to tryout finally did come along Roberto Vives looked at me and said "we want you to tryout in the 400". Grrrreat. I walked onto the team as a sprinter and was moved down from my 50 miles a week to repeat 2's and dynamic hurdle drills, I was now a sprinter. When conferences came around indoors I took 7th place in the open 400 and was the leadoff on our 4x4. We lost the meet by 1 point and it was heartbreaking for me, I felt I could have and should have done more. I stormed into Roberto's office the next day (sunday), and asked if there was anything else I could do to help the team for outdoors so this didn't happen again. He asked me to try the Decathlon...I said no problem. With 4 weeks to go before our conference meet our throws coach wanted me to throw the javelin in a meet "just to get your feet wet" as he put it. I threw 150 feet, not impressive. The next week he entered me again, 170 feet, getting better. The following week: 180, I was now a potential scorer in the open javelin as well, and being undermanned I was put in both the Decathlon, the open javelin, and as an alternate on the 4x4 for conferences. In the javelin final I threw 205 feet to win conferences and qualify for regionals. But more importantly we won the meet and this would be the abrupt end to my decathlon/sprint career. At regionals a few weeks later I threw 209 to take 8th place.
The next year I threw 228 to take 10th at nationals and earn all-american status. I also lost a proposition bet in the summer of that year so as part of the bet I had to tryout for U-Albany's football team; unfortunately I made the team, and ended up with a starting position for the year...2 concussions and a cracked rib. I hate proposition bets.
The following year (my senior year) I threw 230 and took 8th at nationals and qualified for the olympic trials. I missed by a few spots for Trials but I was satisfied with what I had achieved.
The last 1 1/2 years I've been volunteer coaching the throwers at U-Albany, working my day-job as the head of tech support for an internet startup (even though my degree is in U.S. History), and next year I'm attending Law School. I have since put the javelin away and started logging miles again, I think I may try a triathlon for fun....I get bored fast. I'm getting pissed at your prediction contests because I can't seem to ever score higher than 365th place. (my screen name is herbnerd11).
My reasons for wanting to make the real world are pretty simple; its the f***in real world! I'm 24, i'm not ready to pack my life in yet, and this gives me another opportunity out. When I thought to include letsrun it was simple why, because it was something you guys probably would do yourself had you known about the contest. And the contest itself is so simple, its a standardized voting system, one vote per day allowed, no registration required; simply log on to my page, click VOTE, type the automated word, and go about your day. The most votes right now is like 6000, thats peanuts. I thought it would be kind of funny and interesting if you guys had like a tiny box that said "real world letsrun hopeful" and had my place and how many votes I had.
I know this got long in a hurry, I just didn't want you to think I was some mindless drone. Thanks again for the consideration, regardless letsrun.com will still be my homepage.