Location: New York, N.Y.
In the past eight years, Eric Gelber, an executive vice president at the commercial real estate firm CBRE (No. 321), has run more than four marathons, 20 ultra marathons and three unofficial runs exceeding 155 miles each—all for a cause he believes in. In 2007, his friend Anita, who was fighting multiple myeloma, was undergoing her first stem cell transplant. He decided to run the New York City marathon in her honor, raising $6,000 for the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation. But Gelber wanted to do more. “People tend to donate more to extreme events,” he says. “So I try to do something a little crazier every year.” In September 2013, he ran around Central Park in New York City for 48 hours straight, covering about 164 miles. The following year, he did it again, plus another 12 miles—that time raising over $230,000. This year, on June 6, Gelber did a 12-hour “training run” in Central Park in preparation for his major event: the Badwater ultra-marathon in Death Valley. Though Anita passed away three years ago, Gelber’s runs for the MMRF have connected him to a much larger network of people suffering from the blood cancer. “So many people are fighting this disease, and they don’t have a choice,” Gelber says. “What I do is nothing in comparison.”