John Fischer
Ironman, Boston Marathoner, Triathlete

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Excerpts from Team Eschelon (John's other club)


John's Memorial Bench

Diane and her kids picked out lovely wording for the bench plaque.

John's bench dedication was held on Sunday, October 4th at 11am at his bench which is located at mile 2.6 of the Columbia Trail (coming from High Bridge).  Click here to see more pictures, courtesy of Steve McKenzie.

Pastor Andrew Paton had the following words to share about John:
All people leave memories when they depart from this life , but some, like John, leave us smiles to attach to his memories.
Some people leave us smiles, ah but a special few also leave us with gratitude that we had the privilege of knowing them.
A handful of people leave us with gratitude but John you also left behind the power of example.
We who train on this trail remember you each time we pass this spot, but there's also the added dimension that at the end of our lives there'll be a bridge to cross. We are planning to run well so as to see you on the other side.



HRH Members gather at the Jerseyman Triathlon at Spruce Run where they had a moment of silence in memory of John before the event.

The 2009 Jerseyman Triathlon Event shirt

Thoughts and memories of John by HRH members

Bruce Marshall: My Friend John
This has been a tough week for many of us. John’s sudden passing has touched us and saddened us. We feel for his wonderful family and strive to find just the right thing to say. But nothing seems adequate or appropriate. It’s inconceivable that we will no longer be blessed with his engaging smile and driven determination to be the best he could be and by doing so; to bring out the best in us. He was such an inspiration and a model. Personally; I haven’t been able to run a single step since Monday without thinking of my buddy John, and the sleepless nights haven’t been easy either. But I don’t want to remember him this way. Instead, I choose to dwell on the good times. Below are just some of the memories that I will treasure forever. Click here to read the rest of Bruce's story.

Chris Franklin: I'm sure I'm not alone in feeling this way, but will always remember John for his genuine friendliness and great sense of humor.
I remember the first time meeting him was at one of our social events hosted by the Kirkpatricks a couple of years ago. I remember how determined he was trudging up Mechlin Corner Rd. in the first couple miles. We ran together for a bit during that run. I found out he was preparing for the Boston Marathon as he later left me to put in a few more miles along with the run's hostess (Kim).
I remember it was also quite windy and cold that day, and that there were some folks (including wife Diane) wondering where John might be as he was one of the last still out on the cold roads. I remember gently reassuring some that he was probably OK, because after all he was running with Kim.
I think they were the last ones to finally return after putting in at least 12 miles, and I remember John being able to quickly go into great detail about his run, which seemingly turned into an adventure.
It's runners like John who make it such a pleasure to be associated as a fellow Hill Runner. Although I never personally captured any myself, I will always remember how bright a smile he always seemed to turn on any time he was captured in a race photo...almost to the point of bewilderment in how he managed to look so happy and comfortable while exerting and pushing himself to his own personal limit.
I'll remember him as part of the HRH contingent racing at Washington's Crossing...again captured with his prototypical smile.
I'll remember him for having the most humorous forum tag..."I'd rather have a bottle in front a' me than a frontal lobotomy."
Even though I never joined him there, I'll remember hearing detailed accounts of John running Bar-A, particularly how frustrating his first endeavor with that event was. It probably became something of a badge of honor though as he would return to Bar-A more than once.
The Pub Run he introduced is still young, but popular enough to remain an HRH institution.
John was...and really always will remain...a true character. We all revere his accomplishments as a runner/triathlete, and will miss him even more as a friend. His gift to us though is in simply having had the privilege to get to know him, and carry on with various memories he's left.
Thank you, John.
Steve Brookman: Inspiration
John defined inspiration to me. From the first time I saw his Boston Qualifying photo (above) I was in awe, ok, and envy. How could anyone finish a marathon with both feet so high off the ground and such an expression of pure joy and accomplishment! I had failed at BQ'ing several times before then and my shoes were incapable of defying gravity anywhere near the finishline. After viewing his "Shrine" I was even more impressed how he managed to transform himself from an overweight 5 hour+ marathoner to not only BQ'ing but becoming an Ironman, surely the pinnacle of our sport, in a few short years. John had the rare quality of being extremely motivated and yet a joy to be around. While he will be greatly missed he will continue to be an inspiration.
Mike Stockl: Well, I am certain I cannot express my thoughts on John the way Bruce has in his eloquent post, but I think my favorite John story conveys some of what he meant to all of us, as both Bruce and Chris already described.
My first R2C was 2 years ago as Bruce was good enough to invite me on his team. Having known Bruce a long time through work and running, I knew how well organized he would have his R2C team (little did I know that he was well known for this around R2C). As a newbie on the team, I was of course feeling some pressure to perform as we met at Wes' office building and took off for Milford. As we were heading there, we got a little lost as there were detours along some of the Hunterdon County roads. We got to Milford about 20 mins later than expected and at this point, Bruce was pretty wired since things were already not going to plan. As Bruce went off to check in and get the team numbers, I looked at John and could tell from the smile on his face that he had something up his sleeve. When Bruce returned, John said. 'Bruce, I have a great idea - I think we should move this runner to this leg and this one over to this leg" Bruce immediately picked up on what John was trying to do and yelled "not now John, not now!" For me John's joking really broke the tension and while we had some tough moments throughout that day, John was there to continue to pick us all up with his smile and humor.
John, you will be missed!
Dennis Schmatz: My best memories of JF
After Fridays wonderful memorial service for John over at Immaculate Conception Church I felt like adding to all the great points made by father, and the two other gentlemen (his fellow classmate and the micro). I am very happy to have known John and his family, and to say that he left the world an order of magnitude better than before is an understatement. It was so good to see everyone come out for John at the funeral parlor, and then again for the mass. A good indication of just how special he was. This special bond carrys over to his family too. They are as much a part of the club as was John.
How can we ever forget the club picnics, splashing around the pool, and followed up by the tour of his beloved shrine. I met him on the Frenchtown trail around Halloween time in 2002. I was about 17 miles into a 20 mile training run and not feeling too good. I heard a sound from behind me, it was John and Diane following close behind on her bicycle. She had water, gatorade, gels, towels in her basket. After a brief intro we decided to run together. he told me he was training for Phila. I was too. He said he had a goal of qualifying for Boston. He then said "hey what say we kick up this pace a notch". I said "I don't think I can", and he replied "sure ya can, its only another 2 miles or so". That's when I first saw Johns insight on goals. When we finished the run I asked if he ran with a club, and he responded that he did not, and that he was looking for one. I took his e-mail address, and handed it off to Bruce, and the rest is history (wonderful history). Click here to read the rest of Dennis's story.
Susan Brookman: Three Lessons I Learned From John
1. Chocolate covered coffee beans are great pre-race energy boosters, but not so great as a late night snack.  One Sunday morning several months ago, John was really dragging, and so was running in the back of the pack with those of us HRHers who travel at a more leisurely pace than some of the more fleet footed harriers in our group.  John wasn’t typically a back-of-the-pack man, so I knew there had to be a reason… Turns out he and Diane had stopped at the confectionary store the evening before, and he’d purchased a bagful of his favorite pick-me-ups.  Unable to resist their lure, he started munching away later that night as he watched television.  After too many handfuls, he realized he wasn’t the least bit sleepy despite the fact that it was way past bedtime!  He said he did finally get some sleep that night, but suffice it to say that morning came way too early for his liking, and the effects of the caffeine in his treats had long since worn off.  I really enjoyed his company that day – his tiredness made him more of a self-deprecating goofball than usual, and I think I laughed my way through all ten miles of that run! Click here to read the rest of Susan's lessons learned.
John Weidner: JF our friend
To everyone who knows or briefly met John on any occasion (running biking swimming, juggling, or business), we are better people as a result. I fortunately know John (sort of) on all 5. I think we all have experienced his true sincere engagement and mutual respect for our shared interests.

Boston: John and I shared the Boston Marathon experience. We endured the Nor'easter storm of 2007, and perfect weather of 2008. We shared stories (good, bad, and yes ugly). He will be there in 2009 and I will be looking for him and will feel his presence. :
R2C Team: John would enjoy any ideas on how to piss off our president and team leader Bruce. Even if we didn't have the guts to try… we laughed. John was also my guide through my melt down in 2007 (he fixed my problem).
HRH Team Runs: On many occasions I have run with John on HRH club runs. For some reason there was always a large entourage of runners around John. While running with the group, I realized we were either seeking knowledge from John or the camaraderie and laughter that would get us through the run. One time when I was running with Doug Masi, John pulled up on his bike. He had a bike chain mark on his calf. Doug and I had several questions for John. Is that how you stop your bike? Or is that how you peddle? Big smile LOL and he was off on his 6 hour ride.
Tri's: The only time I was with John at a Triathlon was the Skylands (sprint) in 2007. I was sort of a rookie to the sport. When I met John in our transition corral I realized I was out classed before starting. John had nice gear. I had my bird suit and hybrid bike. We joked… the joke was on me. John started the swim in a group that was several minutes behind my heat (tri's often stagger starting heats based on something). Well didn't we meet at a few miles to go in the bike section. It was up hill and John blew past me. He didn't say Hi. I yelled John, I thought you were my friend! He gave me that big John grin and said see you in the run. We met, had some fun, but in the end he was the Champ by several minutes!
If John was still alive I would like to tell him I'm an Eagle Scout. I know we would have had a very engaging conversation and mutual respect. Also, We Love Him!


Steve McKenzie: John Fischer: A Tribute
It's a couple weeks now since John has left us and I have continued to reflect on his passing and its meaning. Of course one thought is prosaic reflecting on "the impermanence of life." He was here one moment then gone in the next. The other thought is "he lived life to the fullest," which truly was the definition of John's life. Each of his accomplishments epitomized this statement whether they were large or small.  
This tribute must begin, naturally, with when we first met. It was just another Saturday morning sometime in the middle of winter.  The Club headed out from Echo Hill, turned left at the road, crossed the tracks and was heading up the series of hills that is Stanton Station Road when I noticed this one guy. He was 'kinda' overweight but he seemed to have alot of enthusiasm. I figured him to be a newbie to the sport and, of course, to our Club, was probably not going to last too long at running, but, in the meantime, I would introduce myself and welcome him into the Club.Click here to read the rest of Steve's tribute


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