By Ann Leach

Maintaining a running habit has offered several stops and starts to Bentonville, Arkansas, runner Anthony Gallo.
Born and raised in New York City, Gallo, with the help of his teachers, started a swim team his sophomore year of high school. “So that had me swimming competitively for the rest of my high school years.”

As Gallo considered college and a career, his aspirations were to become a pilot. “I went to the University of North Dakota’s flight school program and at the start of my freshmen year, my mom suggested I go talk to the head coach of the swim team,” he said. “This was a Division II college team that had won its conference eight years in a row. I was very hesitant to go talk to the coach.”
Working up the nerve to approach the coach, Gallo was invited to a team practice. “The head coach allowing me to walk on a team like this had a huge impact on me in life,” Gallo said. “It is also where I learned my love for running. When we were not in the pool, Coach had us
 Flight school training and the time it required meant Gallo had to leave the swim team after his first year of college. “But the coaching leadership I witnessed and the passion for sports never left.”

Gallo’s flying career progressed, and he served as a flight instructor, a New York City tour pilot, freight pilot and airline pilot. The stressors of the work necessitated self-care options and Gallo turned to running. “I started training myself to run and entered races here and there,” he said. “I have to admit that I love the competitiveness of racing and run training can get quite technical at times. Sometimes you just need to put all that technical jargon out of your head and just run.”

Gallo left the airline industry in 2009 and became a pilot at Walmart in Northwest Arkansas in order to have a better quality of life. “I stopped running for a few years as my wife and I settled in and had our two beautiful girls and life was quite busy.”

As Gallo got used to parenthood, he slowly started to get back into good physical shape. He was also falling in love with the idea of competing in a triathlon. 

Gallo returned to the airline industry and flying for the airlines in 2014. “My schedule improved, and I started training myself to swim and bike and run again,” he said. “I finally had the guts to enter an Olympic distance triathlon event in Bentonville in 2018. I have been racing triathlons every year since.” 

He’s also paying forward his positive coaching experience from college and in 2021 helped develop and coach Youth One80 multisport athletes in Bentonville. 

“My daughters are part of it, and we have kids between the ages of 5 and 12 on the team,” Gallo said. “It has been one of the most rewarding aspects of sports for me. To watch these kids progress and increase their confidence in themselves is the biggest gift any coach can receive.”

“I finally had the guts to enter an Olympic distance triathlon event in Bentonville in 2018. I have been racing triathlons every year since.”

See more photos in the February 2024 print edition and the online digital edition.