By Michael Bell
This year, a professor from Lehman strode to make a difference in the 2012 Chicago Marathon on October 7.
Christopher Bonastia, a current Associate Professor of Sociology at Lehman, ran to raise funds for “Bronx Works,” a humanitarian organization that feeds, shelters, teaches, and supports members of the Bronx community in need.
“Because I teach in the Bronx, and many of my students live there, I wanted to raise money for an organization that helped people in that borough,” Bonastia said.
This is the fifth marathon he participated in. He ran the New York Marathon three times and the Steamtown Marathon (in Scranton, Pa.) once.
A marathon is 26.2 miles, which means Bonastia has covered approximately 131 miles during the course of his marathon running career.
Born in Philadelphia in 1967, raised in Northern New Jersey –- and now a Brooklyn resident –- Bonastia picked up running during the course of his teenage years, but began to run marathons in 2007 when he turned 40 years old.
While impressed with the deep respect and dedication “Bronx Works” has for the people it serves, the professor shares the same level of respect and dedication to the student body he serves.
“I consider student mentoring to be a very important part of my job, and I do my best to be available to my current and former students to give them whatever guidance, encouragement or advice they might need,” he said.
While juggling teaching, research, and raising his 7-year-old son, giving back both on and off the track is an integral part of Bonastia’s life. “I always feel I could be doing more, but I’m happy to be able to use a personal challenge -– trying to improve my marathon times as I battle father-time –- to raise money for and awareness about an extraordinary organization.”
“I finished in 3 hours, 19 minutes, and 51 seconds — my best time ever,” said Bonastia tallying the results of his effort. “I finished in 2,561st place out of approximately 37,000 finishers, and I raised approximately $1,700 for BronxWorks.”
“The soreness really kicks in and it’s painful to walk,” Bonastia laughed when asked how he felt after crossing the finish line. “You tell yourself that was your last marathon. But then in a week or two, you start thinking about the next one.”