If you passed Gian-Paul Caccia on the street, you probably wouldn’t know he’s one of the fastest amateur runners in New York City.
The 31-year-old New York native didn’t light the world on fire in high school, but after a solid college career at Loyola University Maryland he really came into his own in the streets of his hometown, where he joined the legendary New York Athletic Club’s (NYAC) running squad.
NYAC has a long tradition of supporting post-collegiate athletes trying to make a go of it, whether that’s in shot put or the 10k. (And American marathoner Meb Keflezighi is technically Caccia’s teammate). For Caccia, that meant qualifying for the Olympic Marathon Trials—in 2012 and 2016—the highest honor for sub-elite guys who also work demanding 9-to-5 desk jobs. When Caccia qualified in 2015 at the Houston Half Marathon, his time, 1:04:56, was the same mile pace (4:57) as his fastest mile in high school. (Special note to the slackers reading this: We all have room to improve!)
“Everyone has got a job and things get in the way,” Caccia says. “Life gets in the way.”
That doesn’t mean their training suffers. The guys on the team are scattered across the five boroughs so they’re never lacking teammates to train with.
“It's very rare that one person is by themselves,” he says. “Someone will find someone on the team to run with because we can all run at different times throughout the day. So, it's usually we're running in pairs. I live in Williamsburg in Brooklyn and I have a couple of good teammates who live out there. We might not run with the guys from Manhattan every day but we'll meet up in Brooklyn.”
The key to maintaining a ridiculously high level of fitness and not suffering at work—Caccia is a business development manager at Gerson Lehrman Group—is, as boring and cliche as it sounds, balance.
Caccia has his eyes set on the 2020 Olympic Marathon Trials and in the meantime he’ll continue to find the perfect balance between work and not turning into a total running hermit with no discernible social life. When we asked him if he still, you know, likes to drink beer despite the heavy workload and mileage, he didn’t hesitate.
“Beer is the best recovery, man!”
You can learn more about the NYAC Men's Road Team on their website.
Photography by Sung Han.