Personal Best: Runner uses marathon to raise money for ill friend 

Finding motivation is a common challenge facing long distance runners. A commitment to his ill friend’s recovery has provided Josh Maszle, a newcomer to the sport of running, with all of the motivation that he needs.

When Seun Adebiyi was diagnosed with leukemia and lymphoma last summer just after he had completed Yale law school, his
ex-housemate made the commitment to raise money for Adebiyi by soliciting support for Maszle’s participation in the San Francisco Marathon.

The choice to train for and run in next Sunday’s 26.2-mile race was an unlikely one for Maszle. A resident of Pacific Heights since moving to The City in January, Maszle is not a competitive athlete, having given up wrestling and baseball in ninth grade after discovering a passion for the dramatic arts.

Adebiyi, who at the age of 6 moved to the U.S. from Nigeria 20 years ago, nearly missed representing his native land as a swimmer in the 2000 and 2004 Summer Olympics. His current goal is to be Nigeria’s first ever Winter Olympian as a competitor in the 2014 Olympics in the skeleton event, the head-first version of the luge.

“I feel like I’m investing in him. My part is easy,” Maszle said. “The world needs this guy around, not just for inspiration, but for the practical reasons of what he has to offer.”

Against his doctor’s orders, Adebiyi, a two-time Rhodes Scholar finalist, flew to Nigeria, organized a bone marrow drive and registered 300 potential donors.

“The bone marrow registry is only 7 percent minority,” Maszle said. “Seun’s goal is to register 10,000 new people. And in a year he’s already signed up 2,500 people through all of the various drives that he, his friends and family have organized.”

When he isn’t at the Orpheum Theater, where Maszle is the assistant sound engineer for the production of Wicked, the native of Pittsburgh, is either touring The City with girlfriend Stephanie Roberts or running The City with his Nike iPod Plus training program.

Maszle’s longest pre-race training run is 20 miles. The S.F. Marathon will be his first ever experience exceeding that distance.
“I’ll have to dig deep to get that motivation to get me to 26.2 [miles],” Maszle said.

His plan is to push the center button of his iPod.

“It’ll play your power song,” Maszle said. “What I want is for Seun to send me a recorded message. I’ll use that as my power song.”


San Francisco Marathon


When: July 25, 5:30 a.m.

Where: Starts and ends near the Ferry Building


Maszle’s blog:

Donation site:

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A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
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