Age 33. Owner, the Western Mass. Sports Journal
13:50. That’s the time, in hours and minutes, that Tad Tokarz posted in the first Ironman triathlon he raced in two years ago. That’s how long it took him to complete the 1.5-mile swim, 120-mile bike ride, and 26-mile run. Tokarz remembers his time, but it is of no real significance to him. “My goal was to finish, and I did.”
He also remembers the winner’s time — sort of. “It was around 8 1/2 or 9 hours … which is simply incomprehensible.” That’s a word that many might apply to Tokarz’s performance as well, especially when one considers that two years before the race, he couldn’t swim more than two laps in the pool and didn’t own a bicycle. “It was just something I set my sights on, and I accomplished it.”
This is essentially the same approach he’s taken to an intriguing entrepreneurial venture called the Western Mass. Sports Journal, which, as the name implies, provides coverage of sports at a variety of levels, but always with a Pioneer Valley slant. Tokarz, who by day is the assistant principal and director of Athletics at Springfield’s Central High School, thought many of the good stories at his school and many others in the Valley were simply not being told. So he created a forum in which they could.
The Journal, now located in the Scibelli Enterprise Center at Springfield Technical Community College, and grown through the help of administrators there, has become almost another full-time venture for Tokarz, who must still find time to train — he starts each day at 4:30 a.m., is in the gym by 5, and works out twice each day during the summer — and also for community involvement. He’s on the board of the South End Community Center in Springfield, and donates time and energy to the Ludlow Boys and Girls Club and the Jimmy Fund, among other groups.
He told BusinessWest that the strict workout regimen has helped him organize his time and stay focused on goals and strategies to achieve them — both at Central High and the Journal. “Nothing worthwhile ever comes easily — when I trained for the Ironman, that was a year-long endeavor; we used to go on bike rides for eight hours,” he said. “That experience translates directly to the work I do in school and in publishing.”