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Meet Mario “The Italian Horn” Diurno: One Of The Last Finishers of the NYC Marathon & His Inspiring Message of Recovery


My guest for today’s episode is Mario Diurno. Just a few days ago, you got to hear the story of Molly Seidel who finished fourth in the elite women’s race. I want to share with you the story of a friend of mine and one of the last people across the finish line.

While many of the people who ran on Sunday were getting ready for bed, Mario was working his way through Central Park and crossed the finish line just before 11 pm – 10 hours and 55 minutes after he started in Staten Island.

Mario is a client support specialist at Release Recovery. You’ve heard me speak about Release Recovery in previous episodes. I interviewed the founder and my friend, Zac Clark, after he was on The Bachelorette and before we did the Goggins Challenge in April. Mario works to get people treatment for addiction and substance abuse and sometimes that means he travels out to meet people and get them the help they need. He’s one who speaks openly about his recovery story and message in order to inspire others.

He is a bigger fella with not much of a running background or consistent training so when he said he was doing the marathon, many of us had our doubts he’d be able to do it. We did these Monday night community runs in Central Park and Mario would be there every week pushing himself to make it through two miles, four miles, six miles no matter how long it took. The journey to the starting line was enough of a win. When I Facetimed him at 4 pm on Sunday from a restaurant and the Release Recovery afterparty, he was only at the halfway point but all smiles and he made a new friend along the way named Freddi that helped him get to the finish line.

He just kept going and truly shifted my perspective on the power of what setting your mind on a goal can accomplish.

Catch the latest episode of the podcast on Apple Podcasts. We are also on Stitcher, Google Play and Spotify.

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– “I truly believe in my heart that if it wasn’t for my recovery journey, I wouldn’t have been able to do any of this. I kept thinking of that during the marathon. I kept thinking about all the hard times and trials and tribulations. All the stuff that I got through and I thought, ‘If I can do that, then why can I do this?’”

– “It’s a mental thing to keep pushing your body. I’ve heard that my whole life. Did I believe that? Yes but not for me. This was mentally one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in my life. It was all mental. My body was numb…I could’ve quit at any moment. I could’ve grabbed an Uber. People would’ve said, ‘Hey at least you started.” But who doesn’t want to finish? It’s not about the time. It’s just about finishing. I just knew you guys would be so proud of me and all that stuff was for a reason the whole time. This opened up my eyes a lot. I want to take it more seriously next year.”

– “My friend Zac Clark always says it: Keep going. Joey (Zappone) always taught me: Finish the job. Those are two things I think in life that you can take anywhere with you. I’m just a big believer in community…There were a lot of times where I didn’t believe in myself and I wanted to quit. I wanted to run away – not the marathon. I was scared. It was all fear. Community is what got me through. My suggestion for anybody whether it’s stuff going on at home, addiction, personal goals, work or whatever, it’s OK to ask for help. I recommend it. Once you ask for help, the secret is out. Now what? It’s not always easy to listen to the help but if you stay close to a community like friends or a group of people – for me, that always carries me. If I was alone, I wouldn’t have done this. Number one, I wouldn’t have signed up. Why? It wasn’t in my card. Number two, I definitely wouldn’t have finished. I can tell you that with 100% assuredness. It’s because of you guys, the faces, the little sayings and all the times you spend together. That’s what gets you through in that moment. 


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