last name Johnny Gregorek (28) has a history in the athletics of the United States : his father, John Gregorek Sr. competed in the hurdles for the Olympic team at the Games in Moscow 1980 and Los Angeles 1984 . In addition, in the 1980s his mother Christine Mullen was a finalist to join the Olympic team, also in career disciplines. With all this, Johnny's destiny seemed marked, and that's why he did not surprise anyone when he began to run half distances competitively.
In 2016, Gregorek reached sixth place in the qualifying rounds to enter the team that competed in the Games of Rio 2016 and thereafter his career grew progressively: after five years of competing on university circuits, first in Columbia and then in Oregon, he finished third in the United States Championship of 1500 meters and qualified for the London World Cup 2017 where he was tenth. Two years later, in the Pan-American Games in Lima he achieved the silver medal in the discipline.
In the midst of all this, tragedy struck his family. In March 2019, his brother Patrick died unexpectedly at age 21. Johnny then revealed that Paddy, as they called him, had struggled with depressive and anxiety states that made his daily life difficult. In the weeks after his death, his brother promised to work with aid institutions for people with mental health problems, raising funds and helping to raise awareness about these issues.
As the world looks for hope and unity in this time of uncertainty, I thought it fitting to reflect with you about my brother, Patrick. A man who gives me hope and keeps me motivated every day. It was a year ago today that Paddy passed away. Time has moved slowly since then, and it has been very painful for me to talk about this publicly. However, today I feel different. I feel so grateful to have had such a shooting star for a brother in the first place. Many of you didn’t know Paddy, but it would be a great disservice to him if I let today pass and continued on silently. I've attached Paddy’s obituary to my bio for the day if you want to get to know him a little more. I'm eternally thankful for all of you who have been there for me and my family over the past year. Not just my close friends, but the running community as a whole. My brother honestly didn’t care that much about impressive running performances, but he LOVED the characters he met at meets and took great joy in seeing us all chase our dreams. It hasn’t always been easy to toe the line this year, but every time I walk into a track meet, I can feel the love and camaraderie that my brother recognized in this sport. I hope I get the chance to show each of you some love in return. Many of the runners I look up to have spoken up and championed beautiful causes to make the world a little better, so that inspires me to champion Patrick’s cause. Now, more than ever, the world needs more people like Paddy. He would not have been good at social distancing (he was really into bear hugs), but he was the most selfless person I've ever known. With that spirit in mind, I'm going to start working with @_amywhatchuwannado to raise awareness for mental health. This is a growing issue in our time and this period of isolation will be difficult for many. It’s unusual for me to come out and say these things on social media, but I feel great about it. My brother was a STRONG dude and when I do things with him in mind, I feel strong too. As the ice melts, spring arrives, and the world tries to heal, I hope you’ll join me in trying to be more like Paddy. Thanks for reading. ❤️
A shared post by Johnny “The Jet” Gregorek (@ johnny.gregorek) on Mar 25, 2020 at 2:22 p.m. PDT
One of these initiatives came to light this weekend, and it did so in a very particular way. As part of a charitable initiative, Gregorek joined the National Alliance for Mental Health Aid (NAMI) in pursuit of breaking a rather unusual record: the Mile in Blue Jeans . This event, which started in 2017, has its own historical brand, established by Dillon Maggard in 4: 11.80 and the idea was for Johnny to broadcast his intent live in order to raise funds.
On the track of the Masters School of Dobbs Ferry, New York Johnny pulled on his jeans (100% cotton, he counted) and showed his intent on Instagram Live. During the broadcast, more than 1,800 fans gathered to watch the race, and it was reported that more than $ 31,000 was raised, with a very special donation: Levi's the pants brand chosen by Gregorek, contributed $ 5,000 to the solidarity cause. In the end, Johnny's time was far superior to that of his predecessor: 4: 06.25, a solidarity record.