Coach Chris “40” Forti 

It should come as no surprise that Jessy made a splash in the NYC running scene by winning a July 4th road race a couple months after arriving in 2016. Having competed ‘unattached’ – not affiliated with a team – Whippets cofounder Matt Wong reached out to her via social media to see if she would be interested in joining us. Having unsuccessful experiences with other running clubs, she joined us for a few runs and joined the team. And we are so grateful she decided to make us part of her NYC journey.

Jessy carried her fierce, competitive spirit from college to the roads, tracks and trails of NYC running races from the mile to half marathon. She was the first Whippet to win a New York Road Runner event by winning the 5000m at NYRR Night at the Races in January 2017. She also immediately asserted herself as one of the team’s best runners finishing in the top five – a scoring position – in nearly every NYRR points race that summer. NYC is home to some of the best runners and teams in the country and her addition helped maintain our top 3 standing in the city so much so that we named her team MVP at the end of the year.

But Jessy didn’t simply impress us with her running ability. She was also ‘different’ than most of us. Mentally, runners can be a rigid group. Sure, runners are a socially welcoming bunch since we all appreciate, in our own way, the struggles to be a runner. However, our training focus often boxes us in since we plan everything out in such detail to achieve a specific goal: daily exercise to food to bedtime. Similarly, many of our professional lives revolve around that same specificity whether they be in finance, medicine, teaching, etc. Jessy was different. She was a creative. Drawing. Writing. And, for some (like myself), it confused us but also intrigued us. Most runners don’t have that “side” of our brain, so we lived vicariously through her drawings and writings. Whether it be doodles in her sketchbook to professional drawings, she made us appreciate and laugh at the little things we runners often don’t see.

Not only could Jessy draw, she was also quite witty in written word, too. Strava is a social media app where activities are uploaded then athletes can title those activities and others can comment on them. And it’s in the activity “title” where Jessy thrived. Writing about one of her final NYC runs before heading back for a semester at SCAD, “jumping over trash and poo… ah, NY I’ll miss you.” Whether at SCAD or in NY, always thanking and supporting teammates with runs entitled “Lemi making long runs possible, yet again” and “Good luck Boston bravies”. And then there were simple comedic ones like “it’s a ‘pool of sweat in my belly button’ kinda morning”, “realizing it’s Halloween, realizing I’m old and don’t care”, and “back in the motherland, while mother bikes.” Jessy certainly had a way with words, too.

Jessy will always be part of the Dashing Whippets family and forever in our hearts.

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