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This is a prelude, a prologue, an introduction, and explanation. It's an origin story. I tell my very abridged story and how it led to the creation of the group.

I'm telling stories of perseverance, ingenuity, overcoming obstacles, pushing limits, not taking time for granted, and the never-ending pursuit of progress - what would basically become the universal pillars of PROACTIVE.

Summed up, be proactive, thrive now - and in that spirit, I figured, let's give this a try...

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Proactive Podcast - Episode 0 - The PreludeArtist Name
00:00 / 46:02
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Vanessa Vaglio ran the Breakneck Marathon on May 6th, 2023. However, back when she joined PROACTIVE in January 2019, even she wouldn't have predicted it!

We talk about Vanessa's introduction to the trails, her early hiking days, important events (both with PROACTIVE and solo) that helped her progress both mentally and physically, and her thoughts just a few days prior to the Breakneck Marathon!

Vanessa, crowned the first-ever PROACTIVE Champion during this episode, has thrived through constant progression and continues to push her own boundaries. Hear about where they showed themselves and where she conquered them.

Proactive Podcast - Episode 1 - Pre-Breakneck with Vanessa VaglioArtist Name
00:00 / 42:25
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Proactive Podcast - Episode 2 - Days From Fat Dog with Jason FriedmanArtist Name
00:00 / 39:09
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Joel Singer is one of the oldest members of our group, he was quick to point that out, but it'd be hard to tell by just looking at his accomplishments over the past few years. From completing some of PROACTIVE's most difficult routes, rock climbing, sky diving, and excelling professionally, Joel is an inspiration to the group and gives us hope.


Joel discusses topics ranging from mindfulness to pain, from yoga to book recommendations, and more. All throughout, we discuss his time with the group, why he joined, and what he remembers from the last 5 years...

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Dr. Phil Lombardo is a physical therapist, MovNat instructor, and joined PROACTIVE in November 2018, joining the group for a hike on Schunemunk Mountain.

His many years working with patients as a PT and studying and teaching natural movement have provided Phil with a unique perspective on longevity, balance, stamina, and more.

Phil discusses what led him to hiking and PROACTIVE, the difference both have made on his life and capabilities, his most memorable experiences, and more.

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Salam Diri was focusing on working hard and grinding. Between jiu-jitsu, skydiving, capoeira, and lifting, when he unexpectedly a serious injury. At the same time, his girlfriend Stef was diagnosed with Lyme Disease.

These situations led them to start SannaOhana, a cannabis yoga wellness company that holds events and provides education in natural and alternative forms of medicine and healthcare, cannabis, and more. 

Salam tells his story and provides some great advice regarding wellness, exercise, striking out on your own, and more!

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Our 10th episode is something very different than the previous editions. To celebrate this small milestone, the group got together to reminisce about some of our past trips. This is as much an experiment as it was a fully-fledged episode, but the finished product is entertaining and serves to help you get to know the members of the group a little better. After all, this was one of the primary objectives of the podcast to begin with. Enjoy!


Don Weise is the NY-NJ Trail Conference donor advisor, the author of the well-known book, Circuit Hikes in Harriman, and a true trail guru. With his love for hiking and running starting early in his life, Don eventually broke out of a stuffy corporate culture and joined the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference. He has been a stalwart champion of the trails, land, enthusiasts, the organization, and nature, in general. In this episode, Don discusses his introduction to the trails, his exodus from corporate life, the extensive work of the NY-NJ Trail Conference, and more! In addition, he shares some of his favorite hikes and offers up some of the less-traveled trails in our region!

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