For Tenafly couple Gabrielle and Dan Reiser, being hands-on parents to their four sons is their top priority. But, in spite of the time commitment that full-time parenthood entails, they are both pursuing their dreams that are fueled by their passions that were sparked early on in their lives.
For Gabrielle, it is running marathons, and for Dan, it is acting.
Gabrielle started running track and cross-country in high school, and continued while attending Manhattan College in Riverdale, N.Y. After she graduated, she ran recreationally until she was 27 years old and decided to run her first marathon in Dublin, Ireland in 2001.
“I ran that race and I loved it. I caught the bug,” Gabrielle, a Garden State Track Club member, said.
A year after she ran the 2003 New York City Marathon, Gabrielle married Dan and they started their family. Sickness during pregnancies and a sprained ankle in between the births of their sons prevented Gabrielle from running in races, so she decided to only run recreationally.
After taking about 10 years off from competing, Gabrielle ran the Steamtown Marathon in Scranton, Pa. and improved her time by 22 minutes, which qualified her for the Boston Marathon the next two years. However, due to a foot injury, she was only able to compete in the 2018 Boston Marathon.
But, training for a marathon is difficult, especially as a parent to four young children with busy schedules. For Gabrielle, a typical training schedule would consist of running six days a week. Weekday training sessions would require five- to eight-mile long runs, whereas weekend runs would range from 16 to 20 miles. Despite the challenge of maintaining a balance, Gabrielle is still able to focus on her love for running.
“It’s something not just physical. It’s also mental,” she said, “It gives me that break. It’s my therapy. It’s my moment of just [letting] loose…it brings me strength.”
Now, Gabrielle is hoping to compete in the 2019 Boston Marathon, as well as some shorter races. And, while she runs for herself, she has made it a priority to keep the rest of her family healthy and active.
In addition to running with her sons and competing in local races with them and her husband, Gabrielle is an avid blogger. After discovering that her eldest son has sensitivities to milk, eggs, soy and peanuts, as well as the gene for celiac disease, Gabrielle started doing research to create recipes that her son – and countless others with dietary restrictions – could eat. And thus, the start of her cooking and running blog, “Run, Cook, Laugh,” was born.
“I decided that maybe there is someone out there like me who’s looking for some help, some advice,” Gabrielle said. “So, I started writing about my recipes, why I chose the recipes, what the ingredients are [and] why the ingredients are healthy.”
While maintaining this blog, Gabrielle aims to inspire her children to eat healthy, while encouraging them to be a part of the project.
Her husband, Dan, said, “She would have the kids involved with the pictures, setting up the food…it was like a family endeavor.”
Like Gabrielle, Dan is an ardent runner. While he also competes in marathons, his main passion lies in the arts.
Although he is currently the director of Leasing, Property Management, Acquisitions and Marketing at Gabrielle’s father’s real estate company, Panepinto Properties, in Jersey City, Dan started his career in acting.
What started with an acting class during Dan’s freshman year of high school transformed into a passion. After earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts from New York University, Dan started his own production company, DDR Productions. Using this platform, Dan acted, directed and produced various plays. He also worked as an extra in Scent of a Women, My Secret Identity and Sliders.
But, after meeting Gabrielle, Dan went back to NYU to get a degree in real estate because he said knew how unpredictable an acting profession could be and wanted to expand his horizons.
“The acting industry requires long days, long hours to really pursue it the right way. It takes time away from those that you love,” Dan said.
For the past 12 years, Dan has been responsible for the day-to-day management, public relations and branding of Panepinto Properties. But, inspired by his wife’s ability to follow her passions, while raising their children, Dan decided to do the same.
Gabrielle’s friend, Stacey Van Gorder, wrote, produced and acted in 3.5, a film based on actual events that follow a family shattered by the choices of a mother suffering from postpartum depression.
Van Gorder was holding auditions for a male role, and after being unable to find someone to play the part, Dan decided to present himself. Using the knowledge he learned while studying at the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute at NYU, Dan honed in on elements of method acting by trying to become one with the character.
After receiving positive feedback on his audition, Dan was asked to audition once more until he solidified his role as an actor in the film. The film has been accepted in the Cannes Short Film Corner, a sister festival to the main festival in Cannes, France, which took place in May.
Dan said, “I think in the acting profession, if it’s a passion of yours, if it’s something you really want to go for, the onus is upon you to kind of make that happen, to showcase the talent and passion that you have…bringing out those expressive and artistic elements.”
Although Dan has not officially agreed to do other films, he has been looking at other scripts and is hoping to fulfill his decades-old dream of forming another production company. He looks to continue on a path filled with both real estate and artistic exposure, while still being a hands-on father alongside Gabrielle, showing their children that they can do anything they aspire to do.
“I think we all have passions in life and, sometimes, life kind of takes them away,” Dan said. “It’s so important [to] never give up on those dreams.”
By Brianna Ruback