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Forrest Gump inspires Stony Brook man to run NYC marathon

Noah Lam, 47, of Stony Brook, is pictured

Noah Lam, 47, of Stony Brook, is pictured in May 2006, when he weighed about 245 pounds, and in a more recent photo, showing off his 70-pound weight loss. Photo Credit: Lam family / Alejandra Villa

Noah Lam

47, Stony Brook

Occupation Owner of a medical supply company and online health coach

Height 5-foot-9

Before May 2006: 245 pounds

Current September 2016: 175 pounds


Noah Lam says he put on sympathy weight during his wife’s first pregnancy 18 years ago. He was an introvert and says he viewed the weight as insulation between him and others. In 2006 he became curious about personal development issues and why he wasn’t accomplishing business goals. He attended Landmark Forum, a weekend-long personal development program. “That got me thinking about life. Thinking about what I could do and what I wanted to do,” says Lam.

His change came about in 2007 while lying on his couch with a pint of Häagen-Dazs on his chest, a spoon in one hand and the TV remote in the other watching Forrest Gump. The scene in which Gump decides to run across America prompted Lam to put down the spoon and sign up for the following year’s New York City Marathon. “I just decided to do it,” says Lam.

He joined Team for Kids, a division of New York Road Runners that raises funds for youth programs, and got a spot in the marathon. He followed a basic marathon training program and completed the marathon. Crossing the finish line, he swore he would never do it again, but his wife whispered to him that she wanted to run one next year. They trained together and completed the 2009 marathon together. Nearly everyone in Lam’s immediate family and his wife’s family now run.

Lam says that integrity has always been important to him and something he wanted to demonstrate to his kids. “I didn’t want to hear my kids say they couldn’t do something, not after what I did.” Lam has since run 11 marathons, two half-ironman races, and one full ironman race.


Breakfast is a protein shake. Lunch can be leftovers or a chicken Caesar salad. A typical dinner is grilled chicken over quinoa and kale salad with a side of sautéed mushrooms. Lam keeps a rough tracking of his daily protein, vegetable and fruit consumption. He snacks on pumpkin seeds, raw almonds, yogurt or melon.


Lam runs 3 to 4 times a week from 3 to 20 miles a run. He also swims once a week and bicycles twice a week.


“You can be the hero of your own story. You can decide what you want in life. Draw a line in the sand and say, ‘I’m going to do it.’ One foot in front of other. Be consistent. Tell people your goals. You’re more likely to achieve them.”

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