An Interview with Greg Simony, Founder of Push2Inspire
Founder, Swimmer, Biker, Runner and Pusher/Puller
Q. What is the plan behind Push2Inspire?
Greg: For 2018, I will complete seven triathlons in seven days while I push and pull wheelchair-bound individuals, in adaptive equipment, through each race. A different special needs individual will join me for each leg of each triathlon.
And then for 2019, the goal is to be the first to complete 50 triathlons in 50 days in 50 states, again including three special-needs individuals in the race each day.
Q. Why are you doing this?
Greg: I started my Care2Tri and Push2Inspire non-profit organizations for several reasons. I have always aligned myself with the underdog, so I wanted to embrace a segment of the population that is often overlooked and treated as less than. I love nothing more than to prove someone wrong when I’m told that I can’t do something. I knew that many people with disabilities often feel this way but aren’t able to fight back, so I wanted to be their vessel to “show people.”
Additionally, I spent a lot of time with differently-abled people while growing up as my mom made this an integral part of my life.
With this event I hope to reach those who may be sitting at home struggling with self-absorbed issues. I want to inspire them to realize that by putting in an effort to help others, they innately will help themselves. But to be clear, I don’t want them to necessarily do triathlons, I simply want them to find a passion of their own, embrace it and do something positive for others.
Q. What is your end goal?
Greg: I don’t know that there is ever an end goal, because people like me always look to keep going and build on the last event. I would say that a successful outcome for this event will be to complete it, and have people be inspired from all walks of life. Additionally, I would hope these people make the choice in their own lives to discover who they are and what they can do that might be “bigger than themselves.”
Q. When starting Care2Tri, what was most important to you?
Greg: The goal behind Care2Tri was to inspire people and to lend a hand to another group of people at the same time. Because I had failed at change so many times in my own life, I was hoping to find a perpetual goal for myself, but one that served a purpose much larger than me.
Personally, I have always said that what I do is a two-way street. Yes, it does promote a group of people who are often overlooked, gets them in the limelight, and helps them feel empowered. However, at the same time, it shapes my choices and structures my life so that I am mentally, physically, and spiritually ready to perform.
Q. How would you describe Care2Tri to someone who is new to the effort?
Greg: We are simply a conduit to assist those who, without us, could not otherwise participate in races. We also hope to inspire people to give, serve and lend a hand.
Q. Why / when did you start running triathlons?
Greg: I started participating in triathlons in 2009 because I was tired of being unhealthy. I founded Care2Tri at the same time because I knew that I needed something big to keep me going when life got in the way.
Q. What is your favorite part of a Care2Tri adaptive athlete race?
Greg: Usually the end of the race is the most important to me. Once we cross the finish line, I know that another life has been directly impacted (my adaptive race partner), and I know that we have touched spectators and other athletes in the race as well. It’s such a rewarding feeling and my motivation to keep going.
Q. What would someone be surprised to learn about you?
Greg: I always identify as an average, everyday guy. I think people would be surprised to learn that despite a five-year personal storm, I have risen above and even thrived. I don’t talk about it much, but one day I think it will be a great testament to what the Care2Tri philosophy can do for someone.
Q. How are you training for these events? What does your average training day look like?
Greg: I’ve been fortunate to meet some great people along the way, one of whom is my coach, Tom O’Neill. He has me concentrating on a Half-Ironman Training plan which will intensify about 6 months prior to the events.
Q. What do you eat to be able to do this event? Favorite go-to meals?
Greg: My go-to food is sushi. It has tons of protein, and it’s lean. After a race, I love Coke and pasta.