The Red Cross marathon team has many people to be thankful for, one in particular is Josh Stickler from Seattle. He has been continuously inspired by the work the Red Cross has done and has chosen to run with us this Marathon Monday. Josh has not only dedicated himself to team Red Cross, but he also took time out of his only day in Boston to help us out at the Boston Food Pantry! Here is a quick interview from our team member:
1. Could you share a bit about your experience stopping by the Boston Food Pantry?
Although I'm based in Seattle, I want to stay connected to Team Red Cross and stopping in Boston for the day was a great opportunity to share time with my teammates and do some good.
Team Red Cross volunteered at the Red Cross Boston Food Pantry in January. When I arrived, I got to work immediately in an assembly line preparing packages of food for local families. Being someone who works in software, it was good to work with my hands.
When the Food Pantry opened and people came in to collect groceries I was stationed at the front of the line next to big containers of Brussels sprouts and bananas, which I dispensed with a greeting and cooking advice.
The experience felt rewarding in a way that I hadn't expected and it brightened my day to have the chance to help out.
2. Josh, give us a little information about you. What do you do, what are some of your interests, and what is your history with running?
I am a program manager at Microsoft, where I work on a new product called Office Delve. I live in Seattle, but a lot of my team is based in Oslo, Norway, so I fly back and forth a lot. I moved back to Seattle a few months ago after living in Norway for a while and I'm enjoying getting to rediscover the city! Before I started at Microsoft, I studied at Boston University. A bunch of my close friends come back each year the weekend of Patriot's Day for some alumni events, to watch the marathon, and to catch up.
I ran cross country and track and field all through high school, but didn't keep up with it in college. After experiencing the Boston Marathon for a few years as spectators, one of my close friends ran, but that year turned out to be the year of the bombing. My fiancée had run for her high school and college teams and resolved to run her first marathon. Afterwards, I was inspired to follow suit and got much more serious about running.
I love traveling and took advantage of my time living in Europe to fit in running and races wherever I went. It's a fun way to experience a new place and change up the running scenery. Running has a global appeal and is a great way to connect with people from around the world.
3. Tell us a little about your experience with the Red Cross and what inspired you to run for Team Red Cross in the Boston Marathon?
In 2013 my friend Taylor, my fiancée (then girlfriend), and I were walking to the finish line to watch friends finish the Boston Marathon. It was a beautiful day.To move faster and avoid the crowds along the race course, we took a parallel route along Marlborough Street. Since I had a flight back to Oslo later that day, I was pulling my suitcase along.
Our conversation was interrupted by a noise. It was like the sound you hear when someone slams a dumpster shut in the morning. We weren't sure what to make of it and kept going, but when we turned the corner suddenly lots of people were running toward us.
We had been blocks away from the bombing; maybe if we hadn't had suitcases or had started a little earlier we might have been right in the middle. The Red Cross' response was immediate and lifesaving and that left a big impression on me.
I had donated to the Red Cross before, for aid related to specific disasters like the Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004 and Hurricane Katrina, but those incidents seemed distant and extraordinary. What I've come to realize is that anyone might need help, and sometimes even close to home.
Over the following months, as I got more serious about running, some friends who had run before suggested I sign up for a charity team. I was glad to learn the Red Cross had a team, because I believe in and want to support its mission, both globally and locally in Massachusetts. It is an honor to be able to support this organization and I am looking forward to joining my team on the course this April!
On behalf of Team Red Cross, we would like to thank Josh Stickler for his support and decision to run alongside us this year!