The Tale Of A Running Restauranteur

Anthony Antonidis running his first half marathon. Photo:

Anthony Antonidis running his first half marathon. Photo:

He quit smoking and went running in the middle of the night.

After grilling over a thousand pieces of chicken at the 2010 edition of the Fit Marathon and Half Marathon in Sugar Land, Texas, restaurateur Anthony Antonidis had the opportunity to watch finishers of all shapes and sizes. He had an epiphany: If all those people could finish a half marathon, then so could he.

Antonidis owns an Outback Steakhouse in Sugar Land and works up to 70 hours a week there. He was a smoker and has dealt with knee injuries his whole life.

Half-marathon training wouldn’t be easy.

“It’s going to sound corny, you hear it so much, but the hardest part was the first step,” recalls Antonidis.

After his restaurant closed at 11:30 p.m., Antonidis would go running with several co-workers. He quit smoking. And despite a seventh knee surgery during his build-up, Antonidis did it: He finished his first half marathon in 3:38:30.

“You don’t even care about the time,” he said. “I did something I never thought I would ever be able to do, and that was the biggest high of all.”

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