There's no question that in today's world there are many stressors and challenges to overcome. Whether it's the everyday stressors of living in New York City, or trying to balance family and a career, we are all challenged on a daily basis.  

But what if the challenges you were faced with were more than that? What if you had a family member struggling through chemo; or you were part of the military and deployed overseas multiple times?  How do you manage those challenges?  

This year, Foot Locker pays homage to those that have overcome extraordinary circumstances through sheer will, positivity, and what else? Running!  

We've chosen five runners who credit running to helping them overcome their challenges.  The team will join together for the Foot Locker Five Borough Challenge at this year's ING New York City Marathon on Sunday, Nov.6.

For the 12th consecutive year, Foot Locker is proud to unite five total strangers, one from each of the five boroughs, to participate in this unique "race within a race."  

The team of runners must run together for the first 13 miles of the marathon, and then they can break away for the remainder of the race.


The runner in the group who finishes the marathon in the fastest time will become the Foot Locker Five Borough Challenge Champion, winning a Tiffany trophy, a $1,000 donation to a charity of the runner's choice, and city-wide bragging rights.


These five inspiring runners — all unique and outstanding in their own right — are strong, determined and passionate runners. They are:


Bronx- Rob Vassilarakis


Brooklyn- Andrew Rausa


Queens- Salvatore Polizzi


Staten Island- Michele King Gonzalez


Manhattan- Elizabeth Maiuolo


31-year-old Salvatore Polizzi, grew up in Ridgewood, Queens, bordering Brooklyn. In 2009, he ran his first marathon with Fred's Team, raising money in support of his mom as well as an ex-girlfriend's mother, both battling cancer.  


Salvatore began running as a way to fundraise for a cause that was dear to his heart, but also a way for him to clear his mind of any debilitating thoughts of what his mom was going through.  

It was a reminder that he wasn't helpless; it was an opportunity to make a difference by raising money in hopes of one day eradicating cancer.  


Salvatore owns and operates Tony's Pizzeria & Restaurant in Brooklyn, and often does his training late at night, after long hours at work.


However, any challenge he faces in completing his goals is put into perspective when he considers what his mother has endured in her battle against cancer.


Salvatore's is humbled by the community's generosity and support, and is proud to represent Queens in the Challenge, and once again run to support Fred's Team.


The premier event of New York Road Runners, the ING New York City Marathon is one of the world's great road races, drawing nearly 105,000 applicants. 

Business Advice, Charitable Giving, News