Olympian John Pescatore, Will Fight for Air with Lung Association at New Haven Climb February 8

(January 7, 2014)

The American Lung Association’s Fight for Air Climb at 360 State Street, the city’s greenest building, will be held on Saturday, February 8, 2014. This year, New Haven’s own John Pescatore, three-time Olympian, will be among those climbing the building’s 413 stairs to raise money to fight lung disease and support clean air initiatives.

John Pescatore photoPescatore, who grew up in southern New Jersey and began rowing in high school, won a bronze medal in the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, South Korea, earned a sixth place finish in the 1992 Barcelona games, and in 1987 he won gold at the World Rowing Championships in Copenhagen, Denmark. Pescatore also served as an assistant coach for the United States Olympic Rowing Team in 2000 and coached the men’s coxless pair to a silver medal in the Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia. For his efforts, Pescatore was named the 2000 U.S. Rowing Coach of the Year.  He has lived in New Haven for ten years.

“I have been active all my life and am a big proponent of regular exercise as a way to stay healthy both physically and mentally,” says Pescatore.  “This will be my first year climbing with the Lung Association but I am no stranger to climbing stairs; I’ve used it as part of my own training for rowing and I’ve had the teams I’ve coached over the years train by running stairs as well.  It’s a great way to stay in shape and build the stamina needed for an intense sport like rowing.”

Pescatore is climbing as part of the Devil’s Gear Bike Shop Team. He’s a frequent patron of the shop and participates with fellow cyclists in many of the rides the shop sponsors. When he heard the shop was starting a team for the climb, he quickly signed up.  He says the name of the event, “Fight for Air Climb,” caught his attention.  Not only was the event something new and different, it made him think about the importance of clean air and the broad impact air quality has on our health and on our lungs.  

“I’m very fortunate to be healthy but an event like this reminds us that many of our neighbors aren’t as fortunate,” says Pescatore.  “ I thought participating would be great way to support a good cause, support people in my New Haven community and get in some good exercise on a Saturday morning in February. “

In addition to the whole fitness aspect of the Climb, Pescatore says that he is very passionate about giving back to his community.  While he’s lived many places over the years, he feels New Haven is home.  He recently joined a nonprofit, Canal Dock Boathouse, Inc., with hopes of increasing opportunities for youth in the community to row, sail, kayak and participate in other watersports.

”When you get kids involved in sports and they are busy going to practice, it has a trickledown effect,” says Pescatore.  “They are less likely to get into trouble and less likely to do things that can harm their health, like smoking cigarettes.”

The American Lung Association is committed to combatting all lung disease including lung cancer, COPD, and asthma. In Connecticut alone, more than 252,000 adults and another 91,000 children suffer from asthma. All funds raised support the organization’s mission to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease; through research, education and advocacy.

The third annual “Scale 360 State Street” is generously sponsored by 104.1 WMRQ, WFSB Channel 3, AMP Radio Network and Elm City Market. The event is also made possible with the support of national Corporate Team partner, Kindred Healthcare.  An after party at O’Tooles Irish Pub & Restaurant, a short walk from the event venue, will immediately follow the event.

The Lung Association’s Fight for Air climbs attract both elite athletes and novice stair climbers alike. Participants can choose to race, run, or walk up the stairs.  Interested parties will be given an opportunity to do a test run of the stairs at 360 State Street. Practice climbs open to participants and prospective climbers are scheduled for Thursday, January 9 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday, January 18, from 10 a.m. until noon.

To register, make a donation or learn more about Scale 360 State Street, visit Climbofyourlife.org. All participants are required to raise a minimum of $100 by event day. To support John Pescatore in the Fight for Air Climb, visit go.lungne.org/pescatore14