Steve Levitsky, partner at Handelman, Witkowicz & Levitsky, LLP, trained on his own for his first five marathons. Then he trained with the Fleet Feet Sports Distance Training Program in 2007, hoping to improve his performance.
“Joining changed my life,” Levitsky reflected. “My marathon time improved by more than 30 minutes. It also expanded my social circle of serious runners.”
Levitsky, a lifetime resident of Brighton, started running short distances during law school. He had friends training for a 5K or maybe even a 10K, but marathons weren’t yet in the mix.
After graduating from SUNY Buffalo School of Law in 1993, Levitsky was hired as an associate at Handelman & Witkowicz, a general practice firm. He became a partner in 2002, and the firm name changed to reflect the change.
His experience includes all aspects of family and matrimonial law, insurance subrogation, bankruptcy law and collection work.
He has been active in the Monroe County Bar Association’s Family Law Section, Bankruptcy Committee and Academy of Law, chairing the Family Law Section in 2006-2007. He speaks at CLE programs at the local bar level and for national organizations.
Entering the race
Levitsky ran in the 2012 Boston Marathon and was qualified to run in the ill-fated 2013 Boston Marathon. You must provide hard evidence of marathon results to qualify for Boston, and those results must be an appropriate pace for your age group, i.e. 3 hours and 25 minutes or better for Levitsky’s age group, 45 to 49.)
In July 2012, the temperature was in the 90s in Boston and Levitsky knew it affected his time. He was looking forward to the 2013 race in Boston, but after a successful February 2013 half-marathon in Syracuse, he developed runner’s knee, which morphed into an arthritic knee in the fall.
“That’s one of the reasons I am only running 3 days a week now, and doing more cross training,” Levitsky explained.
For 2014, he won’t get to Boston, but he is looking forward to several local spring events, including the Spring Forward 15K in March and the Flower City Challenge “Double” (duathlon on Saturday and half marathon on Sunday) in April, and three “goal” events throughout the rest of the year. The first marathon of the year will be in Athens, Ohio, in April.
“The Athens Marathon will be my first chance to test my new training regimen,” Levitsky said.
The Finger Lakes Fifties on July 5 is actually more than a marathon. You sign up for 50 miles or 50 kilometers, and it is trail running as opposed to a road marathon. The course is located within the Finger Lakes National Forest, in Hector.
“This is my first trail ultramarathon,” he admits. “I’m not necessarily a good trail runner, nor do I run well in heat, so the weather will help determine my distance on July 5.”
Reading the description of the Finger Lakes race, you learn that 85 percent of the course is single-track trail, 5 percent grassy pastures complete with grazing cows and cow pies, and 10 percent dirt and paved roads.
The Peasantman Steel Distance Triathlon is the third target event on Levitsky’s schedule. Held at Indian Pines Park in Penn Yan, Levitsky will join his wife, who also did the Peasantman last year, in competing in the half distance.
The components of the race include: 58 miles on bike; a 1.2-mile swim, and a 13.1-mile run for the half, or 116 miles biking, 2.4-mile swim and 26.2-mile run for the full.
“My wife began competing in triathlon several years ago, and triathlon was an obvious next step in my athletic progression, but I couldn’t even swim the length of a pool,” Levitsky said. “So the winter of 2011-2012 I took swimming lessons, and have since progressed from sprint triathlons to the half iron distance.”
All in the family
Levitsky’s wife, Kim, is a social worker at the REACH clinic — Referral and Evaluation service for Abused Children — at the Bivona Child Advocacy Center. She performs forensic interviews in cases where it has been alleged that children have been sexually abused.
Besides her interest in running, biking and swimming, she teaches several weekly group cycling classes at the Jewish Community Center and also enjoys crafting and spending time with the family.
In addition to his athletic endeavors, Steve enjoys reading, traveling, family time and cheering on his favorite teams, the Syracuse Orange, Baltimore Orioles and Buffalo Bills.
Steve and Kim have two children: Naomi, 13, and Ben, 10. Ben ran a 5K last December with both mom and dad. Naomi has also participated in past running events. A dog, Astro, and cat, Bentley, complete the Levitsky clan.
Levitsky is still in the 45 to 49 age group for races that consider age bracket.
He has currently completed 25 marathons and three ultramarathons. A visit to his office provides a peek at the collection of running medals he has received for events of various distances.
He also serves as a pacer for various training programs and races. On Saturday mornings, he can be found pacing for Fleet Feet’s half- and full-marathon program. He has been the “pace captain” for Rochester’s premier running event, the Flower City Half Marathon, since the race’s inception.
“For most people, it is either ‘one-and-done’ for marathons, or they get hooked,” Levitsky said.
He’s not ready to quit — or even slow down.
“I enter 2014 another year closer to the big 5-0 and with a knee which will, at some point, need to be replaced. That limits my running to three days per week, but I see less running as an opportunity, not a loss. Three quality runs weekly leaves more time for swimming and biking, hopefully improving my results in triathlons,” Levitsky said.