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Food Addicts 1200 Mile Walk From Jacksonville to Boston Debuts at The Jacksonville Film Festival

Last Updated: May 5, 2008 3:29 pm GMT
(Jacksonville, Florida--May 5, 2008) In April 2004, Gary Marino walked through 12-states, 12 pairs of sneakers and an unprecedented 1200-miles, in an effort to educate and inspire millions of Americans, who like him, struggled with obesity.

The walk, which kicked-off in Jacksonville, Florida is the subject of Gary’s documentary film called Million Calorie March, which is making its Southeast Premiere on Saturday, May 17th at the Jacksonville Film Festival.

The Million Calorie March was the name of Gary Michael Marino’s high-profile cross country weight-loss walk but it was also a metaphor for Marino’s four year metamorphosis (2001 – 2005) from a 397-pound hopeless food addict to a 240-pound healthy activist for change. Overweight from the age of 11 in his hometown of Medford, Massachusetts, Marino developed what the Boston Globe called, “a wicked sense of humor,” as a coping mechanism to deal with his weight problem.

Marino hit the wall in 1999 when he was diagnosed with severe and life threatening sleep apnea caused by morbid obesity. When the sleep apnea caused him to fall asleep at the wheel nearly crashing his car into the Atlantic Ocean off Cape Cod, he was convinced that the time had come to deal with his 25-year addiction to food.

With financial support from his friend Todd G. Patkin (a Boston-based philanthropist and businessman), and backed up by a mobile road team and camera crew, Marino walked through 12 states including Florida, Georgia, the Carolinas, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut and Massachusetts.

Battling tendonitis in his knee he walked between 15-20 miles a day. The 1200-mile cross-country awareness campaign and fundraiser raised $150,000 for Generation Excel, the non-profit organization Marino founded to combat childhood obesity. The walk, which kicked off on ABC’s “Live with Regis and Kelly,” garnered publicity on Fox News, in People Magazine, USA Today, on CBS radio and countless other media outlets reaching over 70 million people.

In the spring of 2005, Marino completed the 109th running of the Boston Marathon and his 254-page memoir Big and Tall Chronicles: Misadventures of a Lifelong Food Addict, was released nationally at Barnes & Nobles Bookstores. Gary, using recreated scenes from his book and interviews with friends, family, his nutritionist, therapist, fitness trainer and others, produced his documentary film, Million Calorie March, which was completed in September 2007. The film has received rave reviews from national critics like Joyce Kulhawick, who called the film “entertaining, engaging and inspiring”.

After receiving national attention for walking up the eastern seaboard (spreading obesity awareness), Marino was contacted by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Pennsylvania to spearhead The Million Pound Meltdown, a two-year county-by-county obesity awareness campaign in Pennsylvania that resulted in over 52,000 pounds lost to date. “My mission is to encourage Americans to build physical activity into their daily routine, bring them advice about nutrition, and motivate them to begin the journey towards a healthier lifestyle, said Marino.

Gary is currently participating in The Million Step March, a 600-mile walking campaign throughout North Carolina with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina. In addition to walking the Million Step March from April - June 2008, he has numerous speaking engagements across the country and is also busy shopping his documentary film to Cable and TV networks.

The Southeast Premiere screening of Million Calorie March will be held on Saturday, May 17th at The Jacksonville Public Library at 4:45 p.m. Marino will be on-hand to introduce the film and will conduct a Q&A directly following the documentary. Tickets are $8.00 each and may be purchased online at www.jacksonvillefilmfestival.com.

For more information about Gary Marino and the Million Calorie March, or to view the film trailer please visit: www.millioncaloriemarch.com.

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