If you’re anywhere between New York City and Albany today, you might run into Michael Pittner, who will be running 150 miles to raise awareness for child abuse.
He will be embarking on his “Empire Run” starting this morning, which will take him from the Empire State Building to the state’s Capitol building.
The personal trainer and self development coach, who founded Infinite Fitness last year after getting laid off due to the pandemic, got involved with the Center for Prevention of Child Abuse after reaching out to them via email to see if he could volunteer.
“Everything that happened kind of gave me the time to kind of do a little soul searching and figuring out,” he said. “I just kind of looked at the situation and said, hey, maybe this is a good time to just really get back in touch with myself. I’ve always been an advocate for prevention of child abuse, and I have a son myself, so I just researched what I could do to volunteer locally.”
Another factor that motivated him to get involved with the organization is watching the docuseries “The Trial of Gabriel Fernandez” on Netflix, about a young boy whose mother along with her boyfriend were convicted for first-degree murder after beating him to death.
Pittner experienced child abuse in his past from someone outside the home, and he got involved with the center to encourage youth who have been abused to overcome their obstacles.
“Ever since I was young, I’ve always been the one that’s always wanting to help people,” he said. “Whether that’s donating time or working with kids, especially in an educational setting.”
Using his personal training background, Pittner designed a health and fitness package for his clients to raise funds for the organization. He then became a “runbassador” for the CPCA, which is how his “Empire Run” came about.
“The point of this run was to go big or go home, so to speak, to get any sort of recognition or notice,” he said.
The event will be kicked off with an Instagram Live video today at 7 am. His run will be tracked on the Map My Run app and posted on social media.