He Lost 180 lbs, Ran Every Street in San Jose, and Completed 100+ Mile Treks for Foster Kids - the Incredible Jake McCluskey

He Lost 180 lbs, Ran Every Street in San Jose, and Completed 100+ Mile Treks for Foster Kids - the Incredible Jake McCluskey


Our guest today is Jake McCluskey. Jake has such an inspiring story. He once weighed in at over 380 pounds and was leading a sedentary lifestyle.

In fact, he would go six to nine months at a time living within a tiny bubble between his house and the corner store. Just next door.

One day, he was inspired by Marshawn Lynch's quote. And since then, it's been all about that action boss. In this discussion, we talk about the moment that changed Jake's life. How he went from a couch to marathon in a little over a year. Jake gives us a detailed account of his solo 50-mile trek from San Francisco to San Jose.

And then his hundred-mile Trek from Petaluma all to raise money for foster kids. Plus we go into some of the details on how Jake became the first person to run every street in San Jose. And why was way tougher than anyone imagined. There's a little bit of audio distortion during this discussion, but we try to take care of it as best we could. We really hope that you enjoy it.

Podcast Transcription

The following transcript is provided for your convenience. It was created through a program, and may not be entirely accurate to our conversation.

Episode 20 Edit

Jake McCluskey: [00:00:00]

I've had complete strangers just messaged me and just say that I affected them in a positive way that just blows me away, like the most awesome thing to see is just if we train one person, how many people does that effect in their life?
And it's just countless because a lot of their family and friends will start running. So you help one person and it could help 25.

Kevin Chang: [00:00:23]

Hello and welcome to the race mode podcast. This is episode number 20.
I'm Kevin entrepreneur technology and fitness nerd, and the founder of race mob. I'm joined by master motivator, founder of two legit fitness co-chair of the Taji 100, our RRCA, a certified coach USA track and field certified official the incomparable Bertrand Newson.
Our guest today is James McCluskey. Jake has such an inspiring story. He once weighed in at over 380 pounds and was leading a sedentary lifestyle.
In fact, he would go six to nine months at a time living within a tiny bubble between his house and the corner store. Just next door.
One day, he was inspired by Marshawn Lynch's quote. And since then, it's been all about that action boss. In this discussion, we talk about the moment that changed Jake's life. How he went from a couch to marathon in a little over a year. Jake gives us a detailed account of his solo 50 mile trek from San Francisco to San Jose.
And then his hundred mile Trek from Petaluma all to raise money for foster kids. Plus we go into some of the details on how Jake became the first person to run every street in San Jose. And why was way tougher than anyone imagined.

Kevin Chang: [00:01:37]

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There's a little bit of audio distortion during this discussion, but we try to take care of it as best we could.

Kevin Chang: [00:03:22]

You can find all of the show notes online at race mob.com/podcast. And without further ado, here's our discussion.
All right. We're so excited to have Jake McCloskey on the podcast today. Jake has lost over 180 pounds, somewhere around there.

Jake McCluskey: [00:03:44]

Depending on how much beer I've been drinking.

Kevin Chang: [00:03:47]

A lot of weight, obviously Andy has been on an incredible, incredible fitness journey over the last several years. So , help us visualize where you were at your heaviest and what got you , to that point .

Jake McCluskey: [00:04:02]

I was a thin child. So, , I can't really blame it on genetics, but I would say at the end of high school, I just started packing on the weight and it just became like a snowball effect in a bad way. And just the heavier I got the worse I felt about myself, the more I ate and that was just a vicious cycle.

Bertrand Newson: [00:04:22]

Jake. Were you an athlete in school? How was your, you know, adolescent? Uh, high school years. You're avid sports fan.

Jake McCluskey: [00:04:28]

I played sports probably till about freshman year and then started just getting into other things. I grew up playing baseball and stuff.

Kevin Chang: [00:04:37]

And you grew up in a different city, right? And you moved to San Jose .

Jake McCluskey: [00:04:41]

I did. I grew up in Lowell, Massachusetts. We have two famous people from there. It's a pretty small city, but Jack Kerouac and then the boxer, Irish Mickey ward. If you ever saw the movie, the fighter that was in Lowell, mass.

Bertrand Newson: [00:04:57]

Yeah, I have a good buddy who might be from the area as well outside of you, Jacob, Todd Beano. I've seen him in pitches with Mickey ward in the past. ,
###### Jake McCluskey: [00:05:04]
Oh, really?

Bertrand Newson: [00:05:05]

yeah, the two of you should meet.

Jake McCluskey: [00:05:07]

Yeah. I'd love that.

Kevin Chang: [00:05:08]

And then you moved to San Jose for a tech job. Is that right?

Jake McCluskey: [00:05:13]

Yes, indirectly my girlfriend at the time was getting her PhD at Berkeley and my background was semiconductors, so it only kind of just made sense. She ended up getting her PhD and moving home and I stayed.

Kevin Chang: [00:05:28]

So you moved from semiconductors, and then, , as I understand it into the beer industry,

Jake McCluskey: [00:05:34]

Yeah. I moved out here to work with applied materials and just the very nature of semiconductor capital company. It's very cyclical. So a lot of ramp up a lot of ramp downs, and I had befriended the guy that owned the liquor store next to my house, downtown San Jose Kelley's liquors. And I just really started getting into like good craft beer and just started like taking orders for him, getting the shop up and running with the good beer.
And at that time, it wasn't like now where every gas station has a decent beer selection. Like there was none to be had.

Bertrand Newson: [00:06:09]

For point of reference, what time frame are we looking at? You know, we're in the two thousands. Are we looking at.

Jake McCluskey: [00:06:14]

I moved to San Jose in 2000, but I started getting around to the beer world prior, around 2006, we ended up having people coming from Santa Cruz to go to this just little. Liquor store just Japan town. I kept getting laid off and called back to work. And then just one time they called me to come back.
Then I was just like, I like what I'm doing. Obviously I was making a lot less money than I was, but my overall happiness increased a lot.

Kevin Chang: [00:06:41]

That's extremely important. So walk us through, I guess, when you did start to find fitness, what year was that? What age were you at?

Jake McCluskey: [00:06:50]

I tell you, it was April 12th, 2014. I was 40 years old. I just knew. That if I didn't change something quick, I wasn't going to be around for much longer. That's how dire the situation was because I was 380 pounds. I get winded just walking across a room that kinda messes with your brain, especially, you know, being 40 is just mortality starts to like sink in when you're younger you don't even think about it.

Bertrand Newson: [00:07:15]

And why running Jake, you knew that you were looking for a personal change at that time. What was it about running in particular that spoke to you? Because there are other things you could have done.

Jake McCluskey: [00:07:25]

Back in April, 2012, I had done the Turkey trot and I had lightweight train for it, but I had just recently quit smoking. I used to smoke almost three packs of cigarettes a day. I was. Training for the Turkey truck. I walked most of it. And then just when the Turkey trial was over, I'm just like, I'm over it.
But fast forward to 2014, I just kind of remembered that feeling I had for those few seconds that I actually did run. And it was just a really good feeling. And also when I started just on this fitness journey, I was literally doing it at like three in the morning. It was more, a matter of convenience, probably.

Kevin Chang: [00:08:05]

Why so early in the morning, you said 4:30 in the morning?

Jake McCluskey: [00:08:08]

At that way. I did not even want to be seen running, looking back now. Uh, nobody ever judged me, even the people that I did see, uh, never judged me, but I mean, it was just something I was self-conscious about.

Kevin Chang: [00:08:20]

Walk us through, those first couple of walk, run sessions. What were they like? What was your initial goal?

Jake McCluskey: [00:08:29]

Well, coach B has heard this store story probably a million times. I don't know if you've heard it, but a big source of my inspiration was Marshawn Lynch. And I had watched this interview repeatedly. And it got me off the couch to go out that person. I, it was brutal in the beginning for sure. I had done just one of those cookie cutter couch to 5k programs.
And at that weight, I mean, as experiencing shin splints, just all types of pain, the best thing that helped me out very quickly, I went over to runners revolution and just got fitted for some shoes. And that, that helped quite a bit.

Bertrand Newson: [00:09:04]

Chris and his team do good work over there.

Jake McCluskey: [00:09:06]

But set of shoes. I bought some Asics with the installs and that made all the difference. It hurt. It was difficult, but I mean, it was like, uh, I always felt like I accomplished something after those. So, I mean, that was the payoff

Kevin Chang: [00:09:19]

Initially, did you have time goals or distance goals?

Jake McCluskey: [00:09:23]

for me, especially on that, like the first go around at any distance it's just to finish.

Kevin Chang: [00:09:30]

Like on a daily basis where you're trying to get out there for 10 minutes or 20 minutes.

Jake McCluskey: [00:09:34]

Like I said, I was following like just a cookie cutter couch to 5k plan, but I was training for my first race was the San Jose giants race in 2014. And I did the five miler because during training, I just. I fell in love with it. I just tried to do a little bit more, but I don't know if you're familiar with the couch to 5k plans, but typically, you know, you start with a lot more walking and just sprinkle a little bit more running in every, every week with the idea of at the end of three months, you can do a 5k without stopping.
So that's, that's the way that the program kind of works.

Bertrand Newson: [00:10:09]

And how was that first 5k or five miler experience?

Jake McCluskey: [00:10:12]

Yeah. The night before. I don't know if I was trying to self-sabotage myself, but I ended up going out with some friends and had one too many drinks

Kevin Chang: [00:10:24]

Oh, we've all been there, but it's not great for your first race. Yeah, I know.

Jake McCluskey: [00:10:30]

Not great for my first race, but it was... I got up in the morning and this was before Uber. I had to, I took a taxi over to municipal stadium and I'm hanging out the side, getting sick on the cab when I got there. And he's just like, are you getting out or do you want me to bring you home? I just really had a moment of truth.
And I just said, no, I'm going to get out. But it's just like, I'm so glad I did, because I said this before that that was probably like my, the proudest thing I've ever done, because I know if I said, just take me home that day. I would've just stopped running forever. And I ended up running the race. I didn't stop.
That was my goal. Just to run the five mile or without stopping. I was super slow. I was still very heavy at that point. I want to say that I was, well, I was still well over 300 during that race and yeah, I knocked it out and I was, I felt pretty proud.

Bertrand Newson: [00:11:20]

All things considered still congratulations. After an all-nighter, after getting sick. After having that moment of truth with yourself, you very easily could have ducked down and said, you know what? I'm going home. This is some, this is some BS. For you to stick with it and to choose the longer distance.
Cause you could have just done the 5k, which is, would have been an accomplishment in itself for you to stick with the five miler and to finish and to not walk hats off to you and look how the journey just continued to unfold after that.

Jake McCluskey: [00:11:51]

Thank you. I do appreciate that. To tell you the truth bread in the 5k was not even an option because I had signed up for the five miler. I was going to do the five miler or nothing. So I'm just glad I did. I'm just glad I did. And that was like my first place. I had done the Turkey trot before, but this one I had trained for and I mean, it was a beautiful race through Kelly Park ended on municipal stadium. It was awesome.

Kevin Chang: [00:12:16]

What do you remember the most about that experience?

Jake McCluskey: [00:12:20]

Just how I felt crossing that finish line. And at that time, like there was nobody there with me. I was just there by myself and I just felt so good crossing that finish line. And the moment wasn't lost on me, it was like, I realized that I could have just went home. Right. And I was just, I was just proud of myself for just sticking to it.
And I haven't always done that. I don't always do, but it just, it just showed me that I had the power to do it.

Kevin Chang: [00:12:48]

So powerful. Walk me through it: you crossed that finish line. You feel accomplishment, you feel proud of yourself. What are the next steps? What happens from there

Jake McCluskey: [00:12:57]

The next step was I signed up for the rock and roll that year for the half marathon.

Kevin Chang: [00:13:05]

the same year?

Jake McCluskey: [00:13:06]

That same year I started in April. I did the five miler in June and then the rock and roll half is usually October. I'm very fortunate that all the Turkey trots and rock and rolls run through my neighborhood because.
If you look at those pictures of that first half, I ran, I, I was very heavy. I was probably high to nineties, low threes. And my goal again was just to do it without stopping. Now, granted do it without stopping, probably at some points. People probably could have walked faster than I was running, but I never stopped running.
But like I say, I'm fortunate to have these races go through my neighborhood because man running through my neighborhood, I mean, I had everybody out there supporting me. If you could see my splits when I was running through my neighborhood, you'd think I'd won the damn race.

Kevin Chang: [00:13:56]


Bertrand Newson: [00:13:57]

emotional was that for you, Jake, when you got to, you know, running through your neighborhood, how did that touch you emotionally?

Jake McCluskey: [00:14:04]

Oh, it was just unbelievable. It was unbelievable just to have everybody out there rooting for me, like people had made signs at this point. I had already lived in this neighborhood. That was 2014. I had already been there 14 years. And also just like kind of working at the corner store, you just meet a lot of people.
And the level of support I felt from the whole neighborhood was just unbelievable because they really witnessed the health transformation. And like, I mean, I had people very concerned about my weight before, you know, tell me kindly that they're worried and it just kind of brushed it off. But then my whole neighborhood kind of just got to witness my fitness journey.

Bertrand Newson: [00:14:43]

When is the movie coming out? Come on now. Let's do this. When is the damn movie coming out? Let's get her done. I mean, there's more chapters to this story. As we continue the conversation, it just keeps getting better and better and better, man. I mean, good stuff.

Jake McCluskey: [00:15:03]

Yeah, I've just said this. I am just extremely blessed at this point. I swear. I got the whole city supporting me. I feel like it is just, it's very easy when you have a support network and the support network doesn't have to be bigger, small, but I mean, if, if you have just some people in your life that support you, like you already have the game.

Kevin Chang: [00:15:21]

I mean, we talked a little bit about how important that support network is, how important having friends are. And I think you're being very gracious when you say it's just because I was working at the corner store. I don't think everybody makes friends quite as easily as probably you made friends there because you are so giving, because you are so gracious to others because people naturally want to come up to you and, and.
Be your friends. That's kudos to you at your first half marathon to have that support network of people who know how hard you've worked for that first events, Noah, the amount of time and effort that you put into there and wants to come out and support you along the way. And the truth is we all need support.
You know, at some point of time in our lives, and especially when we are running some of these difficult races, I think that support makes all the difference.
So walk me through the training. That's part of your first half marathon. What type of training are you going through at that point in time? Are you still taking kind of off the shelf training and, and how did it work for you?

Jake McCluskey: [00:16:23]

But that first path, I immediately just jumped into the , half marathon training, because I used the Hal Higdon dogmas one training plan. So I mean, it is very cookie cutter. Especially for those first few races. I stuck to it to the ladder, even when I probably shouldn't have, I should have listened to my body at some point, but it worked for me just knowing over the next 12 weeks or whatever the training was, what I was going to be doing every day.
And to have it like just visually laid out, made a lot of sense to me, the shin splints were gone, but I mean, it was still a lot of excess weight on my joints and on my tendons. And it took a little bit of time for those things to catch up for sure. But I developed the legs for it and I was good to go.

Bertrand Newson: [00:17:06]

And that finish line experience, San Jose rock and roll 2014 made your way through your hood. How did it feel they may have called your name when you stop, you know, put that medal around your neck. Um, what was that sense of emotion? That sense of accomplishment. How was that different than the five miler several months before.

Jake McCluskey: [00:17:27]

In this major sense, like the five miler, I had never gone to watch the giants race before, but for 13 years I had gone over and watch the rock and roll room through. And at the time they also had this Silicon Valley marathon that was running through. It was different just in the sense that I had watched.
Those runners before and just like, wow, I wish I could do that. And then I went out and I did what they did. It was awesome. Just that it was over double digits because you know what, those could be better plans. A lot of them suggest, you know, you tap out at 10 miles for your first half marathon training.
And that's what I did. And I definitely hit a wall and I just kinda motored through, and my time was not great. But again, I didn't stop. I ran the whole thing. I did like things I laugh at now, just like running through the water stations. Like that's going to make a big difference in my time.

Bertrand Newson: [00:18:19]

We have all been there.

Jake McCluskey: [00:18:21]

Like I m just not gonna stop period. So it felt really good just to be like, kinda in the double digits, but mostly it was just extra awesome because like I had watched this race before and it was like, I was probably part of it. It was different.

Bertrand Newson: [00:18:36]

Fantastic. And congratulations. Were there any other signature races in 2014, as we know we're going to get into. You know, 2015, 16, et cetera, but anything else, you know, uh, as you close down that first year of really finding yourself your inner athlete and those running race milestones, you know, November, December

Jake McCluskey: [00:18:58]

I had gone and done the, um, the Morgan Hill half was either the week after or two weeks after the rock and roll.

Kevin Chang: [00:19:05]

Oh, wow.

Bertrand Newson: [00:19:07]

and Morgan Hill, H I L L exclamation point. Yep.

Jake McCluskey: [00:19:13]

Like my training consisted of no Hill training and like who would've thought that Morgan Hill had Hills.

Kevin Chang: [00:19:21]


Jake McCluskey: [00:19:21]

But it was like interesting. Cause that race at one point, I didn't really understand how a lot of these race work, but you know, I'm dying, going up the Hill and this dude just comes flying by me.
And I just said to myself who the F is that, and then a guy that was in the race with me said like, that's the race leader? Like he was laughing us because they had to go twice.

Bertrand Newson: [00:19:43]

Been there

Jake McCluskey: [00:19:44]


Bertrand Newson: [00:19:45]

Not lapping, being lapped

Jake McCluskey: [00:19:48]

Yeah. I was being laughed.

Bertrand Newson: [00:19:49]

happens all of us. Yeah. It happens.

Jake McCluskey: [00:19:52]

But that was my first exposure to say Hills. And it was definitely a trial by fire.

Kevin Chang: [00:19:57]

So you registered for the Morgan Hill, the half marathon, which was just a couple of weeks after the rock and roll half marathon. Did you just immediately jump into the racing scene and just register for a bunch of events?

Jake McCluskey: [00:20:11]

I think I was just so excited after doing the rock and roll that I registered for the Morgan Hill.

Kevin Chang: [00:20:16]

Oh right there.

Jake McCluskey: [00:20:17]

Pretty much like within, because again, I didn't want to give myself any time off because I know what time off does for me. And I just did not want to have it. Yeah. I completed the Morgan Hill and then I don't think I did any races until I did, uh, Oakland full marathon in spring of 2015.

Bertrand Newson: [00:20:38]

March of 15, uh, was there as well. Yep.

Jake McCluskey: [00:20:41]

That was my first bull.

Kevin Chang: [00:20:43]

So did you always have like a race on the calendar or a race

Jake McCluskey: [00:20:47]

I was just always trying to keep challenging myself.

Bertrand Newson: [00:20:53]

Well, doubling the distance. Let's see five miler, June of 14. Half marathon, October of 14, full marathon, March of 15, that's a big leap. So take us through the training and how that Oaktown experience was Hills in Oakland as well. That's a Haley marathon.

Jake McCluskey: [00:21:12]

I was just so stoked to be there. I have always loved Oakland. I think open gets like the worst rap. There's so many cool areas, so much fun stuff. 71, Oakland, I didn't know this, but I know it now, but generally when people are like laying out the racecourse, they're trying to showcase their city. I liked how Oakland was.
We were out in Piedmont. They took it everywhere through the city. I mean, it was a blast. I definitely majorly hit a wall mile 23 and I was just committed to just bitch.

Bertrand Newson: [00:21:46]

let's see where we left off for the Morgan Hill half marathon. You said high 290s low 300s Where were you after additional what? Five months of training. Where were you for the ultra marathon? 2015.

Jake McCluskey: [00:22:01]

I want to say I was probably about 260

Kevin Chang: [00:22:06]


Jake McCluskey: [00:22:07]

I was still pretty heavy.

Kevin Chang: [00:22:09]

but you had lost a hundred pounds in a year.

Jake McCluskey: [00:22:13]

Yeah, last week, it was probably like 120.

Kevin Chang: [00:22:16]

Oh, wow.

Bertrand Newson: [00:22:16]


Jake McCluskey: [00:22:17]

When you're that heavy kind of tend to lose a lot of weight pretty quickly, but it was kind of weird because at my highest I was 380 and I didn't tell anybody was doing that. Nobody noticed until everybody noticed some of the reactions, people were just like more concerned.
And this was probably like, when I got down to like three people were just like, are you okay? Are you healthy? What's going on? And just like, no, that's just something I'm trying to do. That was still pretty heavy for the Oakland marathon, for sure.

Kevin Chang: [00:22:46]

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Bertrand Newson: [00:23:06]

Jake, I know Kevin are thinking the same thing. Was it more the fitness component, the work you putting in the act physical exercise? That you feel was the difference maker or maybe changes in your diet, which do you think had the greater effect with the weight loss component?

Jake McCluskey: [00:23:23]

any weight loss component, it's always going to be majority diet. But when I, when I decided to do this, I told myself I was not going to stop drinking beer. I was going to eat real foods. Obviously not eat as much as I was eating before or drink as much. But. In order for it to be long lasting for me, I had to keep it real with myself.
So, I mean, it's definitely a more diet, but just on paper, it's more than diet, but it's also just like, if I went out and I did like a 15 mile training run just in my head, I also didn't want, immediately cancel all that out by eating like crap.

Kevin Chang: [00:24:00]

That makes sense. I mean, I think all of us runners can relate to that. It's like you put in all that effort. For all that work into one of these training runs, and then you naturally want to eat healthy because you know, the amount of effort that you put into everything and, you know, the amount of calories that you've burned and you don't want it all right back.
And I hear you a hundred percent on wanting to eat food that you still love and not giving up on beer because I mean, heck we all love beer, but it's moderation. I think so.

Jake McCluskey: [00:24:32]

Everything, everything in moderation, for sure. For sure. And it's like a balance. And for me, I've definitely, since all of this happened, I've gone through periods where I just was drinking too much. Maybe just taking a little too easy. Uh, but I also had like bond through times where I was just like doing like crazy over-training as well.
So it's just like, I like to operate somewhere in the middle of the sweet spot, but it's like, I definitely will tilt side to side.

Bertrand Newson: [00:25:00]

Hey, man, you keeping it real though.

Jake McCluskey: [00:25:02]

I have to.

Bertrand Newson: [00:25:03]

That's fantastic. I mean, hero status, you know, growing the distance that we'll going to talk about in greater detail here in the next couple of minutes, but also being able to drink beer in the process. What the hell? Hold up.

Kevin Chang: [00:25:17]


Bertrand Newson: [00:25:18]

So April, March of 2015 marathon experience, take us through that finish line experience.
First full marathon, dude, that's a freaking big deal. Did you have friends or family out there? It's in the city that you've grown to appreciate an Oak town? How was that for you?

Jake McCluskey: [00:25:36]

didn't know anybody who was going to be there. One of my friends ended up coming to meet me at the finish line. I wasn't really just like putting it out on social media or anything that I was doing these races. So, I mean, put it up something after that. But one of my friends said, surprise me and moved me up there and bent me up there.
It was pretty awesome. It was pretty awesome. I was definitely more sore than I had ever been before, like the following week after that, but it felt good.

Bertrand Newson: [00:26:00]

Did you go to work? How long were you off, you know, take a day or two off or were you, did you go back. To work that same evening

Jake McCluskey: [00:26:07]

No, I didn't go back to the work that night. I went back to work the next day for sure.

Bertrand Newson: [00:26:12]

Did you wear the bling? Did you wear the medal into the bar?

Jake McCluskey: [00:26:16]

I think I wore that metal for the next week.

Bertrand Newson: [00:26:19]

That's the way to do it.

Kevin Chang: [00:26:21]

Oh wow! When you're hitting those tough miles and, um, what is the motivating factor at that point in time? Was there anything that you were thinking about any mantra that you had.

Jake McCluskey: [00:26:32]

Well, my mantra, you know what my mantra is, I'm just about that action boss.

Bertrand Newson: [00:26:36]

About that action boss, right?

Kevin Chang: [00:26:39]

Marshawn Lynch.

Jake McCluskey: [00:26:40]

I'm just about that action boss. That's my monitor right there. It's just, when, when I was feeling in pain, especially being in Oakland, I'm just bought that action. the things I tell myself was just like, it's going to be over soon. Just deal with it. It's going to be done. Just keep moving forward, whatever it takes.

Bertrand Newson: [00:27:01]

And much like in life, Jake, you know, we deal with pain and adversity and self doubt, or we're fighting ourselves in many ways, but if we can pull and draw on that mantra, you know, as you've mentioned, even in the famous words of Marshawn, Great societal poet, I'm an athlete and, or just one foot in front of the other.
We could just continue on to the journey, you know, eventually we'll get there and we'll be able to reflect with some pride and knowing that the adversity only makes us stronger in the long run and sets us up for the next set of challenges or the, the race, the journey of life. And as your, you know, uh, journey from that five miler, the San Jose giants race.
To the half marathon in San Jose in 2014 to your very first marathon in Oaktown of all places in 2015 to where did you get to the point where you're like, you know what, I think I want to go from San Francisco to San Jose. Let's talk about that Herculean accomplishment then to the what? Petaluma to San Jose and hundred milers man.

Jake McCluskey: [00:28:09]

That first 50 miler from San Francisco to San Jose was June 21st. That year. That was my birthday. And I grew up without a father in my life every so often, my birthday falls on Friday. I'm not going to be sad, not on my birthday, not this year. And I had reached out to a local organization, Silicon Valley children's fund, so reached out to them and ended up doing some fundraising again. Well community really supported the grotto foundation ended up doubling the, uh, the proceeds. Yeah, it was awesome. And again, just keeping it real with the beer, like my best run, start out a beer place, night out a beer place. So this started at cellar maker, my favorite brewery and ended it good karma in downtown San Jose.
One of my favorite places to get here.

Kevin Chang: [00:29:01]

And I heard along the way, your supplies, uh, something happened to your supplies.

Jake McCluskey: [00:29:07]

I mean, I was still very much a novice. So, you know, one of my friends and his girlfriend wife, rather, there was a send off party for me up at seller maker and they were nice enough. Did I ran basically El Camino the whole way down. It was pretty simple, right? but they had taped up these bags every five miles and they were pretty much bogged though. They pretty much all got to up. It was okay. There was some seven 11 open along.
I don't know if you've ever saw a video of it, but I had this stuff desk reception, average, everybody. Yeah. Loved and cared about was grading for me. I could comment that morning. I had no idea that was going to be just that many people there because I'm running down El Camino and I, I had no idea what was waiting for me, but I make that right on first street. I hear people before I see them. It was just awesome

Bertrand Newson: [00:29:54]

Best finishing experience ever for you.

Jake McCluskey: [00:29:58]


Bertrand Newson: [00:29:59]


Jake McCluskey: [00:30:00]

for sure.

Bertrand Newson: [00:30:01]

I met you not too long after that. But I remember hearing about that during our common friend, Nando Gonzalez, who more than likely is going to be a future guest of ours. Good friend. I remember him sharing Hayes, this guy, local share it, the story he's going from San Francisco to San Jose.
And you know, he's like, coach, can we do anything in support? I'm like, Hey, you share what we can do, but man, fantastic. And congratulations. And that only catapults it. Do you too? Push the envelope even further, uh, start off at another brewery even further away.

Jake McCluskey: [00:30:35]

Yeah. Uh, that was a very special trip too. I had decided to double up again and go from Petaluma Lagunitas to OJI in downtown San Jose.

Bertrand Newson: [00:30:47]


Jake McCluskey: [00:30:47]

something very special about this trip. I met coach B.

Bertrand Newson: [00:30:53]

Uh, yeah,

Kevin Chang: [00:30:54]

During the trip.

Jake McCluskey: [00:30:55]

Yeah. You know, there was definitely like some, the media coverage of the run. And honestly, I had drank too much before I left Lagunitas.

Bertrand Newson: [00:31:05]

This one. I love your story, man. I swear. I love you because you keep it. You keep it 100.

Jake McCluskey: [00:31:10]

I don't even know if you know this part, coach B, but when I left Lagunitas, I ran a mile North before I realized I had went the wrong direction. Because at that time a year, I don't know if you guys have ever had Lagunitas Waldo, but it's a triple IPA and it's over 12%. Uh, Lagunitas was very awesome. Like they gave us a room for like my friends and family up there and I made the mistake getting up there too early. I was super nervous. I'm drinking super light beer, but on the way out before I started, they called me up on stage and I had a Waldo and I just chugged it and it was just. So it was already like spot to a good start and it was particularly bad weather. I got lost. I ran through a loop mini flood at one point, like, I mean,

Bertrand Newson: [00:32:07]

You got interviewed by channel seven, ABC. I saw you. I saw the interview.

Jake McCluskey: [00:32:13]

Yeah, they, they had, uh, contacted me and it was like, I had to get to the golden gate bridge because they cut it off at, after nine to the desperate. So they were calling me. I'm just like, I can't stop if you guys can like find me just, but I, I just, I'm sorry, you can't wait, but I ended up getting lost and just weather played a big thing.
It was an experience for sure. And I mean, by the time I made it to El Camino, I was walking. I was hurt. Like I, it was just kinda all bad. And that was the first night I met Dora to judge Dora who legit and her late husband, John, I was blown away that people I didn't even know were out there rooting for me.
Bringing me supplies. Yeah. In and out burger coach B got me in out burger, got me a brace. And that race did not finish with a hundred percent that's because my goal was to go 100 miles. I get to Sunnyvale and I just pulled the plug. But at that point I had gone over a hundred miles, but I did not finish my real goal of getting OG not that night, but it was just like, I had to pull the plug.

Bertrand Newson: [00:33:18]

Kevin. Did you hear what he said? It's not about him pulling the plug, but he said I didn't do it that night. This dude is so fiercely. Dedicated and on a mission, he went back and redid the route and didn't announce it to virtually anybody. Um, just to satisfy that, you know, his, his, his commitment to knock out point to point.
Who does that, man? I mean, and again, no fanfare. He just did it to challenge himself because he felt he had some unfinished business man.

Jake McCluskey: [00:33:48]

It was unfinished Business, because I did feel like I hit the a hundred miles. But I did not do what I had set out to do, but it was, it was a very good feeling. And I think I had let my girlfriend know at the time what I was doing and maybe one other person just in case something happened, people would know what the heck I was doing.
I ended up doing that, but, you know,

Bertrand Newson: [00:34:09]

I do know a little bit more. I do know that you completed that journey. And I do know that you push the envelope even further Sacramento area Davis area, starting point. Talk about that, dude. I mean, some of those stories, the learning experience from that, I was in the know on that one. Yeah. I knew what was up.
I knew what was going on then.

Jake McCluskey: [00:34:29]

You cannot trust Google maps, but I'll just say that. And it's not Google's fault. I mean, there's just. Roads shut down,

Kevin Chang: [00:34:40]


Bertrand Newson: [00:34:40]

And we, we can't, can we blame a, like a double digit percentage alcohol value of a bear as well or no?

Jake McCluskey: [00:34:46]

not on this one, but my first attempt I had made it from prac seven to Milpitas where my wheels completely fell off because I had gotten lost. I had gotten stuck on a highway.

Bertrand Newson: [00:34:59]

Kim and talk about that. I remember you. Yeah. You had some hairy moments

Kevin Chang: [00:35:03]

And what's the distance that we're trying to hit here.

Jake McCluskey: [00:35:06]

It ended up being like 125

Kevin Chang: [00:35:08]

Oh my God.

Bertrand Newson: [00:35:09]

freeway, Kevin, you know, some of the navigation cut them on the freeway. Yeah.

Jake McCluskey: [00:35:14]

put me on the freeway. So, I mean, it was just very scary. There were certain parts that were just nuts, like just Bebe put on the highway.

Bertrand Newson: [00:35:23]

Private property out of water, falling into waterways.

Jake McCluskey: [00:35:28]

Yeah. I was out of water for a long time. And like when I was just running through the central Valley with Nike and like me and I had, luckily I had some farmers take pity on me. I don't know if you've ever driven over old Altima pass road, but I was going over it. At midnight. And I mean, I had no phone service, so I was basically like, if anything went wrong, I was just screwed.
And I made it over old dog pass road and I'm not a religious person at all, but I turned around and I had never seen it before, but I guess it's there all the time. They have that big Jesus saves lit up in huge lights. I was just like, Whoa. So ended up beyond. Down and got put on a highway, got picked up by a hitchhiker lay.
I was hitchhiking just to get off the highway. It was a crazy dude, picked me up like, but the crazy dude clearly needed me in his life at that moment. And he dropped me off very quickly. I made it the Milpitas and I was just dead. So part two Sacramento, I'm going to take a different route down from Davis. Instead of going out to the central Valley way, I get to UC Davis. And this is around midnight. They have a lot of bike paths right by the university. I'm looking at the Google maps and it shows me to just go ahead.
Well, in the midnight, basically the swamp looked like concrete and I just ran straight into a swamp. Yeah. I was submerged in sludge. So I mean, my phone brick, I ended up having to take a train home that night, the following morning. And I think a lot of people were pissed off.

Bertrand Newson: [00:37:15]

Yeah. Um, we're just concerned, bro, or just concerned like this dude is driven. He's on a mission. Wait, what you doing? What, where, what happened? Come on now.

Jake McCluskey: [00:37:25]

I'm referring to the commuters on the train.

Bertrand Newson: [00:37:28]


Jake McCluskey: [00:37:29]

know who I was. They just know that I smelled like swamp. So I still have that unfinished business with Sacramento. I'll take care of it one day.

Bertrand Newson: [00:37:40]

I think if you have the unfinished business with Sacramento, you have more than made up with it in the city of San Jose, right. Kevin running every single street in the city of San Jose, mostly drop leave it right there. I mean, One, you know, where did that come to you? How did it get on your radar? How did you plan it out and this to kind of take us through the journey?

Jake McCluskey: [00:38:08]

You know, Mike Beckwith, right?

Bertrand Newson: [00:38:10]


Jake McCluskey: [00:38:11]

Yeah, he ran Dublin and I was just like, Whoa, that's really cool. And I was just kind of looking for the next challenge. And there was a period when I was just super heavy and I was just like managing the liquor store next to my house that my friends at the time called them my bubble.
I would not leave my house, but to go to work. There was a bubble over this little corner of the world for me. And I would go six, nine months without ever leaving. So it was just like when I was looking for the next challenge, I was just really impressed with what he did. And I'm just like, you know what?
I get this new found health. I really love San Jose. I want to see everything it has to offer. And when I started, honestly, I had no idea how big sounding was San Jose is huge

Bertrand Newson: [00:38:56]

Unincorporated parts of yet

Jake McCluskey: [00:38:58]

parts. I don't think people realize, but there are tons of unincorporated pockets. Most people know the big Burbank in most of Canberrans unincorporated, but I mean, there are tons of pockets out there up on corporated that you would never even know.
But you could just tell by the street signs.

Bertrand Newson: [00:39:14]

some of the most scenic portions of, I know we've, we've maybe had this conversation before, but there's some parts where you said they were, this were like Palm Haven. I think you mentioned was yeah.

Jake McCluskey: [00:39:24]

Palm Haven was just a huge surprise to me. I mean, it looks like Beverly Hills. I mean, it's just so amazing homes. Aren't particularly large, but they're all just super unique bungalows. And I was just kind of blown away by that neighborhood. And of course, you know, parts of the Rose garden or just.
Amazing that university have over there is really awesome. And, um, I really fell in love with Willow street, tons of character over there. And I'm very fortunate that I live in Japan town. I love running around here too.

Bertrand Newson: [00:39:55]

What are the odds when you were running through my hood in South San Jose, that I would see you,

Kevin Chang: [00:40:00]

really him on the road?

Bertrand Newson: [00:40:04]

To Jake's credit. He was on a mission. He's like, Hey coach. I knew exactly what he was doing. He's like, Hey coach, how you doing? I'm like, Hey, I want him to get a photo, maybe grab a bite to eat.
He's like, Nope.

Jake McCluskey: [00:40:20]

So, sorry.

Bertrand Newson: [00:40:21]

Got to keep it moving, coach.

Kevin Chang: [00:40:24]

I mean, talk to us about how long it took, how many miles is it and how did you attack it?

Jake McCluskey: [00:40:30]

It ended up being about 15 months, but I had done a couple, a big races. I had done a hundred miler down at Harvey bear in that time. So there was some things that took me away from it.

Bertrand Newson: [00:40:42]

To see how we just kind of casually nonchalant. Oh yeah. Just, I mean, I

Kevin Chang: [00:40:45]

Oh yeah.

Bertrand Newson: [00:40:46]

a hundred miles in August and August that year, it was like, you know, 80 something, 90 degrees, a hundred miler, you know,

Jake McCluskey: [00:40:55]

Just to say that. I probably could have done the San Jose thing sooner, but it was just like I had other things. I recorded it during the first half of San Jose. My mission. It was just really find out how many miles of road we had. I would run down at the end every quarter or every one week dead-end street.
And once I get to the point, I'd stopped. And then just start recording when they got to a new street. Again, several times I had just forgotten to like hit resume. So I had to go back and one particular, like I had run like 18 miles and I forgot to hit record. So I had to go redo those 18 miles. And then at that point, I'm just like, I'm just going to let it record.
So it ended up being like 2,400 miles, but. I actually had to go a lot longer than that because San Jose is like tons of just long dead end streets. And I had to do each and every single one of them.

Kevin Chang: [00:41:51]

2,400 miles and in 15 months, I mean, that's, that's incredible. How did you start building your endurance to get to that point? And, and how many miles, I guess, were you putting in.

Jake McCluskey: [00:42:01]

It was a lot of miles because I don't drive. When I started this whole fitness journey, I had given my car away to a friend that was in and out of jail. I was just like, will this help you stay out of jail? Well, it turned out great for him. He never went back to jail. He's. A union guy, but just living downtown, working downtown, I don't need a vehicle, but that was a challenge with the San Jose, because for awhile, I was just kind of running all these spots and then just like I was getting too far.
So I just started taking my bike, but there was like place where I like couldn't even lock up my bike. It would just get stolen, basically. What just. It would all go from light rail at the end. But the whole point of that is at the end, I was doing 30 miles days only because I just could not get out there very easily.
So it was like I had to make the most of every day.

Bertrand Newson: [00:42:52]

While still maintaining a full-time job.

Jake McCluskey: [00:42:54]

Yeah. I was lucky enough that I was working nights. The sales aid thing was basically a full-time job because I'd get up and I'd be out there six, seven, eight hours go home, shower, and then go to work.

Bertrand Newson: [00:43:06]

I just want to make sure that our listeners have the opportunity to really understand what drive and tenacity is all about, because we all have it in our own way. When we're working to provide for our families, you know, it's like innate, it's something we have to do. You know, take us into your mind, Jake, you know, knowing that you were, you were, you were running every single street in the city of San Jose, a population over 1 million, a city that is larger than San Francisco.
I believe the third largest city in the state of California. What was that drive? What was, you know, driving the motivation, um, on days when you were minimal sleep. Aching body knowing that you had either 15, 20, 25, 30 miles ahead of you plus working later on that evening, what was it that kept you moving and going.

Jake McCluskey: [00:43:59]

The biggest thing was just, like I said, I had gone through a period where I just did not leave my little corner of the earth. It was just a way for me to kind of. So liberate, I was kind of just reborn in a way through running. Listen I, I love San Jose. I, I appreciated everything sounds they had done for me and that I wanted to see everything I could.
And I'll be, I'll be honest at the end, probably the last 25% of my motivation was just to get it done

Bertrand Newson: [00:44:27]

Totally understand that. Yeah, absolutely.

Jake McCluskey: [00:44:30]

Hey, like I said, it's, that was a big, but it's even bigger than that. And it was like, at the end, like I said, I was doing crazy mileage. I'm injuring myself, like nothing too serious, but it's just like, I know now to listen to my body, but at the time it was just, no, just keep going, keep going, keep going.
But my major motivation though, was just, just to celebrate basically just to have the mobility to do it.

Bertrand Newson: [00:44:54]

it's very rare that people are the first at doing something. No one else re on record has ever run every single street in the city and province of San Jose man. So that in itself is just simply fantastic. And how did the city recognize you for those efforts?

Jake McCluskey: [00:45:13]

Uh, well, I had a couple of politicians when I ran to their district. They had, they had came out and said, hello, Merrill, Acardo, ed, uh, graduated me and stuff.

Bertrand Newson: [00:45:23]

Who's a runner himself, right?

Jake McCluskey: [00:45:25]

He's a runner. He's a cyclist. He's more of a cyclist, but he does run. He congratulated me, but I mean more, it was just, I got the most of it just myself, because no one that I had done it because there was a lot of times out there it was just like, what am I doing here? This is crazy, taking all my time. But just when I was done, it was my own recognition for myself. And that's not in like the seated type of way. I was just kind of proud of what I'd done.

Kevin Chang: [00:45:54]

Started to pay it forward a little bit. You've become a runner. Coach. What would you say to your younger self? The one starting out in the running journey. Did you make any mistakes that you can now look back on and say, Oh, I might've done done this a little bit differently.

Jake McCluskey: [00:46:10]

Sure. I would have just told myself just to focus it day by day. Right. Because it's like, sometimes even when you're just starting in a new running program, even just the thought of the 5k, hopefully it'll like bite you, but it's like a distance should not scare you because you know, that's what training is for, but you don't have to get to that point in one day.
And like I said, during those first few races, especially I was just to the letter with the cookie cutter plans. I'd tell myself now, just to listen to your body a little bit more things that start really small turn into big things pretty quickly. If you just kind of let things develop, but you definitely have to do your part. You definitely have to put the work.

Bertrand Newson: [00:46:50]

One thing Jake we have in common is that we're both referred to as coach. What would be some things or lessons learned that you would share in part with somebody who's, you know, just getting, you know, getting their feet wet and running that they have the interest that yeah. I have the desire, you know, what are those nuggets of information you'd like to share with somebody newbies getting into the running community.

Jake McCluskey: [00:47:12]

the biggest thing that I could tell somebody or suggest to somebody is to sign up for a race. Like once you sign up for the race, it becomes real. You have a target that you're training for. You know what, there's actually something else. I would have told myself when I first started. Through Too Legit.
There's a lot of value in running in a room with people that are like like-minded and want you to succeed. I've almost always just kind of just been doing it by myself, but just to get that support from like-minded people is really useful and just. Don't try to do too much too quick. Right? It's like I learned, I'd never want to take myself out of the game completely, right.
That this can be kind. I have to step back, slow down. I mean, it, for the long haul, if you're in for the long haul, kind of just take it easy. Just things develop pretty quickly.

Bertrand Newson: [00:48:01]

Good point. Yep. Thank you for sharing.

Jake McCluskey: [00:48:03]

The change that happened in my life in just two years, I look back on it and it just doesn't seem real. And it was just like, I would have never, ever believed that I would have been scared to even start if I would have like, thought that someday I would have like been doing a hundred mile races, take things just one step at a time. That's just the best way to do it.

Bertrand Newson: [00:48:26]

You also have another passion from a fitness perspective in, uh, cycling. And why don't you speak to us a little bit more about your involvement in the community, your ties to cycling and maybe some experiences that it would be good for listeners to understand.

Jake McCluskey: [00:48:41]

I was working downtown and this group used to come in every Tuesday night, Thursday, fix a bicycle and they'd come in and they would just I'd ask, Hey, how far did you guys ride? And they'd be like, Oh, we did 50, 60. Females and like, it just blew my mind.
And then I ended up just buying a cheap bike off one of those guys. And during that summer, I fell in love with my bike.

Bertrand Newson: [00:49:07]

Was it a fixie, or...?

Jake McCluskey: [00:49:09]

My first bike was a fixed gear and I had done some pretty stupid rides on a fixed gear.

Bertrand Newson: [00:49:15]

Like define that. Let's say, sorry, listeners understand the defiant, you know, stupid equates to X because you're the dude who has run from San Francisco to San Jose from Petaluma, you know, uh, SAC town down to cause dead multiple hundred mile run, so...
You said those cycles are coming in saying, Oh yeah, we did a ride for like 50, 60 miles, and you're like inspired, you know, share with them that you've are run that.

Jake McCluskey: [00:49:41]

I say stupid in the sense that I was doing right. That I should not have been doing on a fixed year.
Perfect example is toward the California, had the finish line was up on tap one day. I forget what year it was. But I didn't even know what Metcalf was. And I was just like, I was just going to ride my bike cause I wanted to go see all the cyclists finish.
I had no idea. Metcalf was a Hill like that. And uh, I climbed that on my fixed gear and I came down there. They're on my fixed beer with no breaks. It was kinda, it was really good. Just real because the, uh, the finish line for that day's leg was on top of Metcalf, but the riders rode down to the bottom.
All the team support was done at the bottom soundbite coyote grill. I just got so pumped when they came past the finish line that I like jumped on my bike and I wrote down the Hill with him. And one of the French dues like call me stupid. He's just like get away stupid, because like, I was just on a fixed gear, you know, fixed gears don't have brakes. So I'm just like riding down skidding.

Bertrand Newson: [00:50:42]

Marshawn would be proud.

Jake McCluskey: [00:50:46]

So, I mean, I was just, just so pumped, but then I kind of learn more about bikes and I got a road bike and that summer I was determined. I wanted to ride the three highest peaks in the Bay, which are Hamilton Diablo in Mount Tam. And I did it with the caveat that I rode my bike to eat. So when I did Mount Diablo, it ended up being like over 250 miles. a really, really good summer.

Bertrand Newson: [00:51:13]

So longer from point to point, uh, San Jose to Diablo and back, or from San Jose to Tam in the North Bay and back.

Jake McCluskey: [00:51:21]

I know. Did y'all Diablo is the furthest.

Bertrand Newson: [00:51:23]


Jake McCluskey: [00:51:25]

And it was the funnest because a Mont Diablo you'd go like there's two routes. They call it North or South. And I think I went up North in Canada, but Mount Hamilton was pretty fun too. Not Hamilton's a longer ride, but it's not particularly deep till the end.

Bertrand Newson: [00:51:41]

Coach Jake, thank you so much for sharing those stories. Um, one thing we haven't really got a chance to dive into is grant. You're a coach and you've mentored other people as well. You've coached other individuals are there. Maybe, is there a short story you could share with Kevin and myself and our listeners?
When maybe you took someone from a couch to 5k or a couch to half marathon, couch to marathon under your informed training and mentoring and inspiration that our listeners can benefit from.

Jake McCluskey: [00:52:11]

I've had complete strangers just messaged me and just say that I affected them in a positive way that just blows me away, but I've definitely coached some people to just do whatever. Mostly it's usually starts out with a 5k, but I think. Like the most awesome thing to see is just if we train one person, how many people does that effect in their life?
And it's just countless because a lot of their family and friends will start running. It kicks off just some healthy eating in the family. It's just amazing. What would just be effect from one person. So you help one person and it could help 25.

Kevin Chang: [00:52:47]

Is there anything else that you want to say to talk about Jake? Um, to anybody out there?

Jake McCluskey: [00:52:53]

I just want to say to anybody listening to this right now, if I did it. So can you, I'm not saying it's going to be easy like that. Wasn't always just the crazy driven person. And I mean, I still struggle with it every day, but it's never too late to start. Just start doing little things. And just little things become big things and be open, be flexible.
See what works, what doesn't change, what doesn't work build on what does, and like, you're going to be amazed what you can accomplish in the course of a couple of years.

Bertrand Newson: [00:53:24]

We'll find you Jake. I mean, um, you know, any charities that speak to you that you would like our listeners to know about, and if people wanted to contact you for your coaching services, inspiration, you know, to share some of these stories with you directly, how can people find you?

Jake McCluskey: [00:53:39]

I definitely will always support the group pivotal. Like I said, that was the group that Silicon Valley they had merged with another group. People can find me on Instagram, in motion with gig, and if I can help anybody get started in any way, this massive me. If I can do anything for you, I'll do it. And I, and I, and I want to help too, please.
Don't be shy.

Kevin Chang: [00:54:01]

Such an inspiration. Thank you so much for being on the podcast with us, Jake. Uh, this has been fantastic. And we'll talk to you soon, buddy. I mean, thank you so much. Appreciate it.

Bertrand Newson: [00:54:11]


Jake McCluskey: [00:54:12]

Thank you for having me on. Thank you.

Bertrand Newson: [00:54:15]

San Jose legend. Yes,
the man, The man! Outstanding

Jake McCluskey: [00:54:23]

Thank you, guys.
###### Kevin Chang: [00:54:24]
Well, I hope you enjoyed this episode of the race mob podcast. Check out all of the show notes or find a running buddy [email protected]. Please subscribe to us on Apple, Spotify, Stitcher, or wherever you listen to your podcasts and leave us a review until next time. Keep on moving.