Roodley Preval had run competitively as a young man in high school and college. He was a middle distance runner who focused primarily on the 800 meter distance. In 2013, he happened to come across results from his very first road race, which he had completed in 1994 as a high school student. He saw that he had run a 5 mile race in 35 minutes. In recent months he had come to realize that he had gotten out of shape. Roodley says, “I was at my lowest point 13 months ago. I was walking up the stairs one day and felt like I was going to die. I decided I was sick and tired of being sick and tired.” Roodley made a copy of those road race results from 1994 and told himself he wanted to get back into that kind of physical condition.
Roodley started running again seriously in 2013. As he trained, the weight started coming off and he started feeling healthier and stronger. He began thinking about getting back into racing. A friend suggested that he try a Spartan Race, which is a mud run with an obstacle course. Roodley competed in his first Spartan in Tuxeduo, NY and he was instantly hooked on the challenge. He felt great when he crossed the finish line. The next day, he went out and ran another 14 miles and realized that he did not push himself hard enough in the Spartan. He knew he wanted to come back and try another one in the future.
In 2014, Roodley wanted to challenge himself in another arena. He had long wanted to run a full marathon. The New York resident looked up registration information on the New York City Marathon website. He saw that people could run for charity organizations, and he thought that sounded like something he would like to do. Roodley looked through the list of charities and found Project Purple. His wife, Nikkia, had recently lost her grandfather to colon cancer, so running for a cancer charity appealed to his sense of altruism.
Roodley contacted Project Purple founder Dino Verrelli and inquired about running as part of the New York City Marathon team. He learned that the slots were already filled. Roodley was offered a spot on the Marine Corps Marathon team, and he gladly accepted. Roodley trained hard for months for the marathon only to find out that he had a work conflict the weekend of the marathon. Roodley is the General Manager of Moe’s Southwest Grill and he was opening a new restaurant over the weekend of the marathon. He was very disappointed to not be able to run that weekend, but work had to be his top priority.
This past spring, Roodley was finally able to participate in a Project Purple team event when he ran the 2015 New York City Half-Marathon. Roodley reminisces about the race, “It was the best race experience I have ever had. I was pumped from beginning to end by the cheering spectators, the camaraderie and the Project Purple after party. It felt different because I was running for a cause. It was not a victory for myself. It was a victory for those who could not run that day.”
Roodley still plans to come back and run a full marathon. For now, he continues to run Spartan races for Project Purple. Spartan races come in three distances. The Sprint is 3 to 5 miles long, with 20 to 23 obstacles. The Super is 8 to 10 miles long with 24 to 29 obstacles. The Beast is 12 to 14 miles long with 30 to 35 obstacles. If a competitor does one race of each distance, it is known as the “Trifecta”. Roodley is planning to complete a Trifecta this year. He is even considering completing a double Trifecta. For now he plans to complete one Spartan per month for the remainder of 2015.
Roodley is grateful for the support he has gotten from his family. His wife, Nikkia, just completed her first mud run and the couple has plans to finish a Spartan together in June.
His children 12-year-old Jalen, 8-year-old Jordan, and 16 month old Essence all think of Roodley as “super daddy”. Roodley feels good about the fact that he is setting a good example for his children by emulating a healthy lifestyle with an emphasis on having fun.
“At the end of the day, life is about having fun and doing things that make you feel good,” Roodley says. Beyond having fun, Roodley enjoys knowing that he has helped others. The combination of having fun and helping others drives Roodley to continue his work with Project Purple. He says, “If I can help just one person, I did my job.”
Please visit Roodley’s Crowdrise page to make a donation to his Project Purple campaign: https://www.crowdrise.com/projectpurplenychalf2015/fundraiser/roodleypreval