Inspired | ToadLyfe x JUNK
JUNK is excited to announce a partnership with Billy Cvecko and his running brand, ToadLyfe. Billy is an exciting, positive, fun-loving guy. He is inspiring and encouraging young running athletes all over the country with his positive energy and living the ToadLyfe.
What does the ToadLyfe mean? Billy has a few quotes to live by and a few key people that embrace the ToadLyfe with him. All say something similar: finding joy in running, being present in the moment, and spreading smiles every day.
Sports filled Billy's life, but his love for running wasn't discovered until later in the game. He played basketball, baseball, and football.
His senior year of high school, he had all A’s in his classes except for gym class. The gym teacher told Billy that she would give him an extra bonus point for every point he got over 90 on the pacer test. He proceeded to break the school record by getting a 168! His football coach, who was also the track coach, then asked him to run for the track team with only a couple months left in the school year. Billy reluctantly agreed, just doing it for the coach, his role model, and fell in love with running.
Baseball had his heart and that’s where he began his collegiate sports career, but through a series of events, Billy found himself back in the running world at Penn State Behrend in his hometown.
During his sophomore year there, his dad said, "You owe it to yourself to go to the Penn State Main Campus in Happy Valley like I did. Try it out. You can always come back if you don’t like it."
Billy emailed the track coach at Penn State. They had a phenomenal track team, and the coach said, "I have 8 guys that run sub 1:50 in the 800. Come see me when you can run closer to this time." Weeks went by, and Billy got faster, months, Billy got even faster. Several months later, Billy had beat the time the coach wanted on three different occasions. The coach didn't think it was possible.
However, when Billy went back to the coach with his times, the team was looking for 8k (5 mile) runners rather than 800 (½ mile) runners.
A few months later, Billy ran a club cross country meet at Penn State Main Campus and finished 2nd behind Sam Masters, his coach at the time. He then went to the Penn State home varsity meet and beat all the Penn State guys that were entered. He didn't have a jersey to run in, so he drew up a toad, and Billy the Toad was born!
He chose the Toad because his dad used to call him a toad when he coached him in various sports growing up and it made him think of his dad who was diagnosed with cancer at the time. Having the Toad on his jersey and running that race for his dad was an out of body experience for Billy because his specialty was the half mile and he shocked the coaches with his 5 mile time. He finally made the team which was nationally ranked at the time.
After graduating from Penn State, Billy chose to use his last year of NCAA eligibility to pursue his Masters Degree in Television, Radio and Film at Syracuse University, They were also top ranked in the country at the time. They were record holders, future Olympians, and badass athletes.
After graduating from Syracuse, he worked for Fox Sports, Root Sports, and FloTrack Sports (a media house for track and field). He was always behind the camera, but with FloTrack, he got to be in front of it. He hosted a program called Run Junkie, which highlighted the top ten record-breaking running moments from around the country. The show was good, but he had an idea to spice things up a little. So, he began to travel to the meets to get something from those athletes to liven up the show. He would interview young athletes and get exciting and fun footage both to highlight them and make the world smile.
One of his first interviews that went viral was about Jordan Geist, a kid who threw 72 feet and was inches from breaking a shot put national record. This kid loved Taylor Swift, and Billy asked him what's his secret?
"Before I throw, I sing my song. 'I don't know about you, but I'm throwing 72.'" (To the tune of "22" by Taylor Swift).
This video went viral. He continued to make videos and have people do corny skits, and in 8 months, he went from 7k views to 250k views. Billy was now a personality in the running world.
Kids would come up to him at track meets, and he would get to know them. He was still running and training with the pros. He trained with names like Olympic Silver Medalist Leo Manzano, and was asked to be the rabbit in races, and then he would be doing interviews right after the races.
The Toad x JUNK
The Toad grew in popularity, and Billy created ToadLyfe. He made a few hats, several shirts and jerseys, and kept creating incredible content.
Billy first heard about JUNK because he is a huge Bryce Harper fan, and Bryce Harper loved JUNK headbands.
While still in high school, Billy went to a Double A Harrisburg Senators game and was calling out and cheering for Bryce at all the right times. Billy was there for an American Legion banquet, and all the kids on his team ran over once they realized Bryce was talking to him. Bryce ended up giving Billy tickets to the game the next day, his baseball bat, and talked to him throughout an entire three-hour baseball game.
When JUNK reached out to Billy about partnering with them, Billy was interested and mentioned that he was a huge Bryce Harper fan and he knew that Harper was a JUNK supporter.
It worked out, and Billy loved that JUNK has a ToadLyfe energy. Billy saw that JUNK followed him, engaged with him, and cared about him and his family. He got a few ToadLyfe headbands rolling and saw a connection with the brand.
Billy interviews for fun, and to help get to know the students so other students have real people to look up to. He takes meetings on runs, opens people up, and helps them feel free during the interviews. Making everyone smile in the process.
Follow us on social @JUNKBrands, and stay tuned for more from JUNK and ToadLyfe!
A Few of Billy's Favorite Headbands
90's Kid Headband
Positive Power Headbands
On the Grind Headband
Legendary Dad Headband
Stay Weird Headband
Mischief Managed Harry Potter Headband
Feeling Froggy Headband
Inspired Q&A with Christine Kole
JUNK x BCA Partnership
JUNK’s Upcoming events (All the marathons!)