At this point, just about every resident of Southern Brooklyn’s boardwalk communities knows Gary Atlas – if not by name, then by sight.
He’s the guy you see out there every morning, regardless of the weather, running shirtless and in thin shorts before taking a plunge in the ocean.
He’s done this every day for 2,369 consecutive days – or six years and counting.
NY1 caught up with him earlier this month, spotlighting his continuous effort to hit 4,000 consecutive runs even throughout this particularly nasty winter.
As workers with the city’s Department of Parks and Recreation spreaded salt on the latest dusting of snow Monday, Gary Atlas emerged from his building shirtless and ready to run. About his only acknowledgment of the cold was the socks that he wears on his hands.
“The fingers tend to freeze up, so socks work better than gloves,” he said. “Gloves, after a while, my fingers will get cold. Socks has a mitten effect. The hands stay warmer.”
The cold itself hasn’t been bothering Atlas, it’s the snow, which makes the six-mile treck a particularly difficult slog. But he handled the worst of the days by detouring to the streets and running in the plow’s wake – the second time in seven years he’s had to leave the boardwalk.
Atlas began the routine in 2007 to clear his mind while his mother struggled with health issues. He continues to do it to honor his mother.
“While I’m running, it keeps the memory of my mother alive,” he says. “She was here when I started, and she’s still with me on every run.”
Check out the full profile here.
And, of course, we’ve had our own little Atlas sighting on our sister site, Sheepshead Bites. On the morning of October 29, 2012, as Superstorm Sandy lapped at our coastline, a Sheepshead Bites reader snapped this shot of him emerging from the rough waters: