The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local Sports

June 9, 2007

Local grad’s marathon task: A race in all 50 states


Youchak and Waddell made the jump with the 1988 Pittsburgh Marathon, and Youchak spent the next 10 years racing there, hooking up with Forbeck in 1991. But again, Youchak grew bored and he and Forbeck decided to race in New York, then call it quits.

“We were just doing the Pittsburgh Marathon, once a year, and then we just got burned out, tired and bored doing the same thing,” said Youchak, who has his own environmental engineering consulting business in Pittsburgh. “We went to New York City because I always dreamed of doing that, and then we could retire.

“Then we saw the shirts, and we thought, ‘That’s a great idea, let’s do that.’ ”

The two began by running two or three marathons a year, but as they started to get older, the numbers had to climb if they were going to make it by Forbeck’s 50th, which is in November.

Youchak and Forbeck are coming off their heaviest year of racing, finishing eight marathons a year ago, and have already done three this year, the latest came in Fort Collins, Colo., a few weeks ago.

Youchak, the youngest of three sons of Michael and Virginia Youchak, has raced with his brother, Tom, in five marathons, and grew up sprinting against his other brother, Greg, at the old Cochran Junior High School.

Of course, the question begs to be asked: Why such a task?

“You get hooked on the endorphins, you get hooked on the high (of running marathons),” Youchak said. “This is one good thing, and I tell my friends this, when you run these big races, such as New York City, there’s 2 million spectators. There’s no other sport that you have 2 million people cheering you on.

“Football, NASCAR, baseball, you don’t have 2 million people cheering you on. It gives you the inspiration and the drive to get it done. Then again, we’ve done races where there are more cows and horses spectating than people.”

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What is the biggest key to reducing gun violence in Johnstown?

Tackling the area's drug problem.
Controlling folks moving into city housing.
Monitoring folks in treatment centers and halfway houses.
Tougher sentencing by the court system.
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