Race Committee

Mark Cucuzzella
Race Director
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Mark is a Family Physician at Harpers Ferry Family Medicine and Associate Professor at West Virginia University School of Medicine. As a Lieutenant Colonel in the Air Force Reserves, he is coach and captain of their marathon team and designing programs to reduce running injuries in military personnel. His passion for health extends beyond the walls of the clinic into the medical home’s “backyard”- the trails and open space that create the arena for optimum wellness.

Mark has been a competitive runner for nearly 30 years, completing over 60 marathons and ultras, and continues to compete as a National level Masters (age 40 plus) runner. His marathon best is 2:24 and has run under 2:35 for a marathon 22 of the last 24 years including a 2:34 in the 2010 Boston Marathon at age 43. His only misses were his medical intern year and 2009 when he ran 2:37.

The 5 race event Freedom’s Run fulfills Mark’s vision of integrating natural and community assets to promote health and preserve the land for future generations. Mark is the lead in for a community initiative called “Wild and Wonderful Trails for Every Child” which aims to halt the epidemic of childhood obesity. He is the father of two young children who love to explore and play in the outdoors. For his efforts in these areas, he has been awarded the US Air Force Athlete of the Year in 1997, the Family Physician Teacher of the Year for the State of Colorado in 2000, the Harpers Ferry National Park Volunteer of the Month, the West Virginia University Deans Award for Community Service, and was a finalist for both the prestigious Hartzog Award for National Park Volunteerism and for the State of West Virginia Governor’s Award for Community Service.

He has applied his passion for helping people run healthy for life to studies involving the ChiRunning technique. In his daily practice, Mark encourages walkers and runners at all levels of ability to discover the trails and country roads he explores his daily local runs. He teaches classes both in the clinic and the community on “Exercise is Medicine” and healthier and pain free running.

Mark is thrilled to host Freedom’s Run and assist runners to set a goal, improve their health, and have fun. Mark also recently opened Two Rivers Treads- A Center for Natural Running and Walking in his hometown of Shepherdstown WV (pop 3000). The citizens of this small community are now learning the benefits of barefoot and flat footwear. tworiverstreads.com

Lois Turco
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Heightening awareness of visitors and residents about the rich cultural heritage of the region of the Upper Potomac Valley is what the Washington’s Way West Heritage Alliance is all about. Lois is establishing our region as a National Heritage Area. Freedom’s Run is an event to celebrate our region’s history and bring awareness to healthy living while enjoying and preserving the three national parks. After living abroad for many years and settling in Shepherdstown, she found a setting that is all about involvement in community. We are very fortunate to have a university as our neighbor, a town that is a living museum and great folks to work with in community service.

Lois was Involved in community service in five overseas American Embassy communities. She worked as a cross-cultural trainer with the Department of State after returning from abroad, followed by a 13 year career as a network administrator and researcher at a firm in Rockville Maryland. She holds Degrees in Education and Cultural Anthropology and Linguistics with post graduate credits in American Studies.

Chris Amores
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Chris Amores retired as a stockbroker after 15 years. He and his wife are raising 2 daughters and he is currently serving on two philanthropic boards. Chris finds a deep passion in helping others reach their goals.

As a stockbroker he often ate breakfast, lunch and dinner in his office. The long hours of work and a smoking habit contributed to Chris weighing 240lbs and barely able to climb a flight of steps without getting winded. In 2006 he decided he would find a passion for himself and started training for his first half marathon. "I remember my first goal was trying to run for 20 minuites at 6 mph, boy was it tough." He now finds himself weighing 185 lbs and doing triathlons, marathons and century bike rides. "I would say my biggest triumph to date was doing a 100 mile bike ride averaging 21 mph which took about 4 hours and 30 minutes. My bike computer said that on the ride I burned almost 7,500 calories." To date he has done 4 half marathons and 3 triathlons. This year his goals are to do 2 half Ironman Triathlon (1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike and a 13.1 mile run) the 100 mile Cheat Mountain Challenge, which is a bike event and the JFK50 ultra marathon. "If there is one thing in my life I would change it would be the smoking. Though I try and try, I think I will always be limited by the damage I have done to myself being a former smoker."

He is currently working on Freedom's Run in the hopes that it will result in the reduction of obese children in the state of WV and highlighting the triumphs of the African American community in our area. He is also currently enrolled at Shepherd University working towards a Masters of Arts in Teaching.

Bill Bondurant
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Bill is a former Marine and Veteran of the Gulf War. He has worked for AOL for the past 11 years, currently working as a Senior IT Manager in AOL’s Operations and Services group. His running accomplishments are: 1989 Oklahoma 5a 800m Mid-State Champ, Completed 10 Marathons, Captain of the 2007, 2008, 2009 Winning Frederick Marathon Relay team, lost to Lance Armstrong by 8 minutes at the 2006 NYC Marathon. Bill’s greatest running accomplishment was not losing to Lance Armstrong by only 8 minutes, but watching his 6 year old run in his 1st kids fun run!

Bill hopes to the Freedom’s Run is a spring board for a host of year-round running activities and running culture in the historic and scenic Eastern Panhandle of WV.

Karen Valentine
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As the 'Pioneer Gal' of GoGreenGals Freedom's Run is exactly the kind of event we support and want to see flourish in our community and beyond. The event encompasses every component of the term Health...exercise, history, heritage, natural beauty, environmental sustainability, vision, and hope. GoGreenGals is proud to assist in the greening of Freedom's Run and believes that the power to save the planet rests with each individual inhabitant through the choices we make daily. Kudos to the Freedom’s Run Team for including Green as part of their mission.

Horowicz DPT, ATC
Medical Support
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Chris is a Doctor of Physical Therapy and a Certified Athletic Trainer operating Professional SportsCare and Rehab in Shepherdstown, WV. At a young age he had an appetite for athletics. Eventually, this passion and his drive for engaging in a little healthy competition led him to compete in college athletics including lacrosse and swimming. When the glory days came to a close and his body said…no more…he searched out a new outlet. At that time he and his wife were living in Salt Lake City, Utah. As a relief from the time spent working toward his doctorate, Chris began running in the foothills and canyons of Utah. The beauty and serenity of the mountains and landscape was rejuvenating. A new passion had been found. He began running in 5k races and soon decided it was time to take it to a new level. He ran the New York City Marathon twice for the charity “Team for Kids”, which raises awareness of and fights childhood obesity by instituting running programs in schools in New York City and throughout the United States.

As a father of three active boys he believes in the power of “get up and go”, which encouraged him to help in organizing a local running group. Chris is also involved in the community as member of Rotary, Shepherdstown Historic Society and serves on the vestry at Trinity Episcopal Church. In his spare time he enjoys sharing the great outdoors with his family.

Chris is excited to be a working with the Freedom’s Run organization and hopes to help this team in promoting awareness and a love of health and activity in the community where he lives and works.