The Words of the Raucci Family
David Raucci is a 2nd generation Unificationist graduate of Marist College. He lives in Red Hook, NY with his family and wife, Waka Raucci. He is also one of the youth pastors here in Red Hook. He has been running since 7th grade and is now competing in races and marathons to get into the Olympic trials. He recently seeded 47th in the 2011 Boston Marathon, which he ran and did very well in.
I have known David for approximately 12 years now. I always remember him running around town. Everywhere I would go, I would see him running. He is an awesome friend. I'm proud of his achievements and amazed by his constant humble attitude. I hope we can all learn something from Dave through this interview.
Question: What is your dream or goal for your life?
Well, a lot can happen; I can't be closed-minded and say this is what I want, because things can change. But for now, within a medium range, my goal is to go to the Olympics.
Everything is a means to an end. People go to school, and want to become a professor or have some sort of occupation. It's really not purposeful unless you actually use it to serve a higher purpose, you know? And everybody should try to bring people together and make everybody happy -- kind of like, bring good to the earth, spread the love. For me, I want to go to the Olympics, but what's really beyond that, what's inspiring that is to really be able to be a good role model. And if I live a great life, people will see that, "He trains hard," "He has a good work ethic," "He's an outstanding citizen," "That's the kind of person I would hope to be." That could hopefully inspire others to be great. I strive to be a better person and if I can get that kind of attention, then maybe I can influence people; I could talk about God and reach many people at once; I could talk about True Parents and bring them into peoples' lives.
Question: When did you start running, and when did it become a passion?
Well, first I have to say it was in 3rd grade when I started to notice I had a talent for running. Our gym teacher, Mr. Raffardy, would send the gym class to run every day, maybe a little less than half a mile. Half of the people wouldn't even try but I would beat everyone, every time. And one day we actually had a race and I came in first. Aaron Mickler, a classmate, came in second, which is interesting (another awesome Red Hook 2nd generation Unificationist brother!).
Seventh grade is when I started to run competitively. I wasn't actually the best. I was the 4th man on the distance team, running 1500 meters, a little less than a mile. I knew I was 4th, and something in me wanted to be better, and I wanted to be number one. I think that's kind of how everyone is; that's how everyone wants to be.
So I talked to my dad: "Dad, can you help train me? I want to be number one!"
So on top of the regular practices our team had, my dad and I would train outside of practice. We would do some interval workouts on the track and slowly I became third man, second man, then first man on the team by the end of the track season.
Question: Who/What are influences in your life. You mentioned your dad?
Yeah. My dad is a big part. He is so supportive; if anything he is over supportive. I just had a lot of support with my family, my brothers, and my mother. She's the kind of person (chuckles) that doesn't really know what's going on, like what's a good time in the 5 mile, 2K, or whatever. Like anything I would do, she would say, "Aw, it's Ok! You did great!" Really motherly.
And now, especially, I have another big support... (Dave slowly turns his head and looks Waka in the eyes) my wife, who says things like, "How may I help you? Do you need a massage on your legs?" Stuff like that. So I have a lot of support.
But what motivates me is actually umm... I think like… there are so many bad things happening in this world and if you can somehow reach out to some people, even just make a difference in a couple of people's lives, that might end up, down the road, having a multiplying effect. Seeing the news and seeing what's happening in the world, that actually motivates me to train hard.
Question: How do you mentally prepare for a race?
Hmm. Mentally? I try not to think about it too much. In the past I did not have so much success when I kept thinking about races. Maybe I would psych myself out. Now I have learned to relax and just take it in. The day of the race I would be a little nervous. But you just need to focus on what's the time you need to run, you break down the splits, "I have to run this per mile," and when the gun goes off, you just (snaps his fingers). It happens with all runners; you just focus, you don't worry about anything. And you just think about the race the whole time.
I would say I really try to relax. And then I actually do a small prayer before every race. I say, "God whatever Your will is, just let me run. If I totally bomb the race...if that's what Your will is, let it be so."
Question: How many miles do you run a week for your training?
This varies, but when I get into the flow of things, usually it's 25 miles a day. So that's about 170, but it averages to 130 to 140 a week.
Question: You have recently become a youth pastor in Red Hook and a husband. That probably changed your world a little bit?
Yeah. I knew accepting the job as youth pastor and getting blessed in marriage had a lot of responsibility with it. You develop more as a person. The more you experience different things, different challenges, the more you can learn through those and grow from it. Waka is really great. We haven't had many challenges yet. We'll see what happens. (They both laugh and smile.) I'm noticing how I view things differently as a person. You take a step back in a different perspective. As a youth pastor, you are, in a sense, responsible for the lives of the youth. So you take more of an elder-brother position.
I'm learning what it's like to be a husband as well.
Question: What advice would you give to someone pursuing his or her own goals?
You really want to not just have an external goal in mind. You should definitely have an external goal, but there should be some sort of internal goal that you're striving for as well, that propels you to work on that external goal. If you want to be good at something, you should have a clear focus on why you want to strive for it. I remember Rev. Hamnett saying how when other people know your goals, then they have that in their mind, and other people can pray about that, and you can receive some spiritual support.