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From Blueprint to Finish Line: The Marathon Journey of Joe Dornicik

Joe d runner
Joe kids
Joe Dornicik (center) with his children, Christine and James, at the TCS New York City Marathon.

At the age of 85, Joe Dornicik is not your typical Stony Brook University employee. This octogenarian is breaking stereotypes, lacing up his running shoes, and conquering marathon courses with the determination of someone half his age.

For the past 27 years, Dornicik has worked as an architectural draftsman with Campus Planning, Design, and Construction. It has been a second career for Dornicik, who worked at Grumman for over 25 years prior to coming to Stony Brook.

He began running at 73, inspired by his son James, a local high school science teacher, and daughter Christine, an operating room nurse at Stony Brook Hospital, who are both marathon runners.

Joe d runner“I used to go watch them, and I said one day, why don’t I do it? It’s great keeping active and meeting new friends through the New York Road Runners,” said Dornicik.

He completed the TCS New York City Marathon last year and was recently the oldest runner to complete the New York Road Runner Al Gordon 4M race on February 24, a day before his 85th birthday.

Dornicik’s evenings are spent rehearsing and performing with the Sound Symphony Orchestra, a community-based performance group in which he plays the violin.

While he looks forward to retiring in the near future, he will miss his colleagues, who have been the highlight of his time at Stony Brook. “I love the people I worked with, and I love working with AutoCAD, designing on the computer,” he said. “I will miss the holiday parties and the time spent together. They made it a nice place to come every day.”

Though he is crossing the finish line of his Stony Brook career, he has no plans to turn in his running shoes. His advice: “Get out and do something. Keep active; don’t just sit home. It makes you feel better.”

— Beth Squire

 

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