July 3, 2014

Please meet recycling runner Joe

What a coincidence that a teammate at a recent golf tournament has a son that runs and raises money while doing so.  Joe Sullivan, AKA Recycling Runner is retired from active duty in the army after suffering a heart attack before the age of 43.   However, this guy is no couch potato.  Please read what he does to earn money for American Heart Association while he is out running!

Joe started running back in 1984, with a first 10k in Nashua, NH that turned into a love for the sport and a new recreational runner.  It was after completing one of his runs that he suffered a heart attack.  During the recovery period, these were his thoughts:

 " I remember my Physical Therapist telling me that I was only allowed to walk at 2.0 mph on the treadmill. I recall looking down the rows of treadmills filled with cardiac patients that were 40 years older than me and I would tell you that seeing that was just as painful as the actual heart attack itself. From that point on, I said to myself there is no way possible that this is it "  

With alot of hard work, Joe managed to get back to running after all the negative comments and three years later he completed the Richmond Marathon. Although he was happy with the performance, his true comeback to running came at the Army 10 miler in 2010 at 7:24 pace in 74 minutes.  I would say that was a truly amazing comeback.   His latest goals include " to one day qualify for Boston and do some Ultras all while fighting heart disease, raising environmental/litter/recycling awareness and fundraising for the American Heart Association."

Here is Joe's version of how he became a runner and recycle king at the same time. 
When I finally felt confident enough to run on my own, running was never the same. I started paying attention to and having more appreciation of everything around me. I felt greatly effected by all aspects of my run and all things were great except for the cleanliness of the run routes. It got to the point were I knew I had to stop complaining and fix it myself or my runs would continue to suffer. So, I started to wear a backpack to clean up my routes and dispose of the trash properly. After time, I thought that there has got to be something more I can do with this mission. So, I started RecyclingRunner!

Turning trash to cash

By picking up bottles and cans in a backpack while running, last year he raised over $1500 from recycling and hopes to meet or exceed that this year.  His wife AJ is his inspiration,  and his best runs are those shared with her. He tries to log 50 miles per week, but that is weather dependent and he does those miles while pushing a double stroller with nearly two year old twins riding along. 

His story was featured in Runner's World earlier this year, and clearly a great honor for Joe.

January 2014 Runner's World issue
Please be sure to check out his Facebook page and Twitter accounts. I have shared the links below so hopefully you can give him a little support.  

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RecyclingRunner
Twitter:  https://twitter.com/RecyclingRunner


  1. What an incredible mission - doing good raising money for an important cause AND cleaning up local running areas! Joe is quite the inspiration, thanks for sharing his story!

    1. He has done incredible things after going through something as tough as a heart attack. So happy I met his mother and found out about Joe.

  2. I love this story. What a great guy!

  3. This is just an incredible story, unlike anything I've ever heard. What an awesome guy. Thanks for sharing his story, we need more people like him!

  4. Thanks for sharing his story—what a wonderful person!