Richard Gonzmart is a bundle of energy.
You will rarely find the president of the Columbia Restaurant Group standing still for very long. From juggling his various restaurants ventures to his numerous charity endeavors, Gonzmart is always on the run – literally.
Running is Gonzmart’s way to relieve stress, but it also helps the cancer survivor maintain a healthy lifestyle.
“When I'm running by myself or running in a race by myself, I use it as a time to reflect and to pray,” Gonzmart said. “And to give thanks to all that I have.
"And for those challenges I have faced and may face in the future.”
Gonzmart faced prostate cancer and beat it. And now he’s combining many of his loves into one event, one that will not only benefit cancer patients and their families, but something the Tampa native hopes becomes a holiday tradition.
He’s joined forces with the Tampa Metropolitan Area YMCA for the Goody Goody Turkey Gobble on Thanksgiving Day. Proceeds benefit the YMCA’s LIVESTRONG program that helps cancer survivors and their families.
“I'm showing that you can't stop life,” Gonzmart said. “I want to show men that you can't be afraid, you've got to take cancer on.”
A lot of Gonzmart’s outlook on life can be traced back to his days as a Jesuit football player, playing for the late Wild Bill Minahan. He was a member of the Tigers 1968 state championship team and has never forgotten his roots.
“He loves his family, his city, his people and gives and gives and gives and gives and asked for nothing in return,” said Martha Minahan, widow of the late Coach Minahan. “I don't know how you get to be like that, but I know I want to be like Richard Gonzmart when I grow up."
Gonzmart sees the Goody Goody race as a great opportunity to show off the city he loves so much and also a great way to kick off Thanksgiving Day.
“It's the memories you create during that journey,” Gonzmart said. “So often you get to the starting line and ask why am I here? The moment you cross the finish line, you ask when is the next time, I can't wait for the next race.
“Because life is kind of a race.”
Click on the video to see Gonzmart in action and to register for the Goody Goody Turkey Gobble, log onto www.active.com.