Our 2024 February Runner Spotlight is on the Bencivenga family!  We interviewed them below.


Name:  Joseph (J), Heather (H) and Michael (M) Bencivenga

Q: When did you start running? Why did you start running?

J – I became a track and field athlete in high school, but a sprinter.  I sprinted in college also.  I took up long distance running when I turned 30 by signing up cold for the NYC Marathon.

H – I started running in 12th grade because my Dad told me that if I run, I can eat anything I want.

M – I have been running since I was four years old.


Q: How many events a year do you typically do?

J – When I lived in NYC, I would run New York Road Runner races and there was pretty much one every weekend.  This year, I have done about 40 Bishops Events and about 15 other non-Bishop’s races.

H – I usually run between 20-30 events a year.  This year I have run more races than a typical year.

M – I usually run between 15-20 events a year.

Q:  Most embarrassing running experience? or biggest accomplishment?

J – My biggest accomplishment was qualifying and running the Boston Marathon, which I was able to do five times.

H – My biggest embarrassment was giving myself food poisoning days before the Mercedes-Benz marathon in Birmingham, AL.  I ate shrimp that was undercooked and was throwing up for two days prior to the marathon.  I made it to mile 20.

M – My biggest accomplishment is running a 25:03 5K at a Bishop’s race at Hains Point.


Q: Something we should know about you?

J & H – We met while hashing.  Hashing is a drinking club with a running problem.  We have met great friends through the hash community.  We get the same feeling from the Bishop’s community and the Sippin’ Series reminds us of the Hash.  It’s worth the sometimes long trip from our home in Annapolis.

M – I also play baseball, basketball and flag football.  My favorite is baseball but I am excited for the next sports season coming up, which is basketball.  I almost pitched an immaculate inning in a game earlier this year.  An immaculate inning is 9 pitches, 9 strikes, 3 strikeouts.  I threw 10 pitches in that inning – one ball and 9 strikes and had 3 strikeouts.


Q: If you could run any race, what would it be?

J – I would run a race in Antarctica – any race would do.

H – I like the famous Van Cortlandt Park cross country course in the Bronx, NY.  I used to love running that race when I lived up there.  I would love to take Mikey there and have him run that course with me.

M – I would like to run a race in Scandinavia – it sounds pretty there.


Q: What keeps you coming back for more of our events?

J – I love the small crowds, interesting courses, and we have met some really great people along the way.

H – ditto

M – ditto


Q:  How has running changed your life?

J – The health benefits from being a regular runner have been wonderful.  I have a low resting heart rate and now I have modified my eating habits over the past year and lost about 40 pounds, which has made my running much, much better.  Plus, I met my wife while running!

H – It helped build confidence and has opened up a social network for me.

M – I don’t know.


Q:  Favorite post run food?

J – Watermelon!

H – Whatever is on tap at a Sippin’ Series race.

M – Gatorade and whatever is in the Bishop’s snack bin.


Q: Favorite race/course?

J – for a Bishop’s race, it’s Columbia Island.  For a non-Bishop’s race, it’s the NYC Marathon, with the Boston Marathon a close second.

H – for a Bishop’s race, I like the Burke Lake courses.  For a non-Bishop’s race, it’s the Brew Run in Brewster, Massachusetts near where I grew up.

M – I like the Mason Neck course.


Q: Favorite parts of an event or things you look forward to at one of our events?

J & H – The Bishop’s crew is an interesting bunch and it’s fun to race against familiar faces each time we show up.  We love the Sippin’ Series events – sitting down with a glass of wine, or a locally brewed beer and getting to know some folks better.

M – I like how the Bishop’s courses are all pretty.


See the Bencivenga family at a race coming up!