Endurance Events Program PowerTeam Member Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon and New York City Marathon
Posted: November, 2011
Retail Management executive Gary Jockers is a resident of Bakersfield, California who grew up on New York’s Long Island. In late 2011 he returned to New York to run his first New York City Marathon and experienced the thrill of being “back” with his family, in more ways than one.
Jockers was an athletic father of a one-year-old when he went to the doctor for a minor medical issue in 2005. A routine blood test revealed unusually high blood counts, and soon after Jockers was diagnosed with multiple myeloma. Gary underwent seven months of aggressive chemotherapy treatments followed by a stem cell transplant in January of 2006.
While still in the midst of this treatment, he promised himself that if he was ever well enough he would take on the Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon. This event in San Francisco is a demanding and unusual race which features a 1.5 mile swim through chilly waters from Alcatraz Island to the shoreline, an 18-mile bike race featuring hairpin turns and the famous hills of San Francisco, followed by an 8-mile run through the rugged trails and sand of Golden Gate Recreation Area. Despite the toll that the treatment had taken on him physically and the resulting pain in his legs and feet, Gary embraced the rigors of endurance training. In June of 2011, Gary completed the grueling Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon – for the second time.
Gary continued his fundraising efforts for the MMRF with another strenuous challenge by attempting to climb California’s Mount Whitney, the highest peak in the contiguous United States. He didn’t quite make it to the top but neither did the rest of his group due to something that can plague any climber – altitude sickness. Undeterred, he jumped into training for the NYC marathon.
On November 7th, 2011, Gary crossed the finish line of the ING New York City marathon while his family cheered him on from four special seats on the grand stand. Gary also served as the keynote speaker at an MMRF reception and inspired many with an emotional speech about his story and his mantra that when it gets tough out there you just need to keep moving forward. Jockers raised over $7,000 for the marathon effort, joining an MMRF PowerTeam for the New York Marathon of 120 runners who collectively raised more than $550,000.
Gary and his family strongly believe in the vital need for continued research as the only hope for a cure. “We felt scared and powerless when we learned I had myeloma, but we knew that by joining the MMRF team we could do something that really helped,” stated Gary. In fact, his wife Nicki was the first in the family to participate in an MMRF Power Team Endurance Event, and raised over $8,000 with the Napa Wine Country Half Marathon in 2008. Nicki is now thinking about which MMRF Endurance event she wants to do next and may be competing with Gary for who will watch the kids while they both train.