Marathoner, anthem singer Jim Diego has died

Jim, who ran in all 50 states, will be missed in the running community. Facebook photos

By Gerald Tabios

The running community has lost a beloved member. Jim Diego, a resident of Jackson Heights, Queens, has died at the age of 38. Cause of death remains unknown.

On Monday, the parents issued a statement regarding Jim’s sudden demise. “It is with great sadness to share the news about the untimely passing of our beloved Jim Diego. Jim was our only child and was everything to Vic and me. Not only was he our beautiful son, but he was also a faithful and loving family member and friend to all those he touched.”

Jim was from New York City and was an avid runner. He completed both a half marathon and a full marathon in all 50 states.   As of January 2021, according to,  Jim had completed 98 half marathons and 131 marathons, both in the U.S. and internationally.

Jim was a charming and vibrant individual whom I met at the 2018 Carboloading event at the Philippine Consulate  for Filipinos participating in the New York City

Marathon. We didn’t have a lot of conversation at the consulate, but we did discuss  his 50-state  marathons and  how he had been invited to perform the national anthem in each state. He said he had already created a template for his résumé and had inquired about singing before the race with the race director.

Running and singing are his twin passions.

In 2021, we shared the bus en route to the New York Marathon start, at which point he offered to crew for me  in my 2022 Badwater 135 race. Unfortunately, that did not happen because of a project that came up at his work that required him to do some traveling.

The SNBC report states that Jim had been highly recognized as a national anthem singer at road races large and small all over the country. In New York, he sang at the start of the 2015, 2017, 2018 and 2019 TCS New York City Marathons. The report said he had sung at all 50 states by 2018, culminating at the Route 66 Marathon in Tulsa, Oklahoma in November of that year.

The globally circulated running magazine “Runners’ World” published an article detailing Jim’s journey to running and singing.  Of note, he had lent his singing talents at the Lincoln National Guard Marathon and Half Marathon in Lincoln, Nebraska; the Rehoboth Seashore Marathon and Half Marathon in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware; the Austin Marathon and Half Marathon in the Texas capital, which attracted 15,000 runners in February 2017; Grandma’s Marathon in Duluth, Minnesota; the milestone 40th Anniversary of the Detroit Free Press Marathon in Detroit, MI, in October 2017, where he actually sang BOTH the American and Canadian national anthems for over 15,000 runners and fans cheering on runners at the start; and at the extremely popular Big Sur Marathon in California!

Notably, for the first time in the 28-year history of the Bataan Memorial Death March at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, Jim was invited to sing the Philippine National Anthem, “Lupang Hinirang,” in commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the actual Bataan Death March that occurred in the Philippines during World War II.

Jim was a member of numerous running clubs, among them the New York Road Runners, Front Runners New York, and the 100 Marathon Club North America.

By day, Jim was a senior project manager for real estate development and urban planning for the not-for-profit Greater Jamaica Development Corporation in Jamaica, Queens, New York.

As a singer, he had performed with his a cappella group, Restated, since founding it in 2007; as well as with Broadway Barkada, a Filipino performance troupe which has performed at such renowned venues as the Kennedy Center and Carnegie Hall.

Everyone in the running community will remember Jim with affection for the happiness he had brought into our lives and  the warmth he exuded every time he was out there running.

The family will be sharing more details about the memorial services to be held in New York on December 21, and later in Wichita after the holidays, where they will celebrate Jim’s life—a life that he lived to the fullest.

The author and Jim meet in 2018 at a Carboloading event at the Philippine Consulate. Photo courtesy of Gerald Tabios

Gerald Tabios, is an ultramarathon runner who has made a record seven runs in the world’s toughest footrace — the annual 135-mile Badwater Ultramarathon in Death Valley, California. He is also a finisher of more than 170 marathons and ultramarathons.

© The FilAm 2022

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