The scene at the VOID bar in Bordeaux, France, on 28 May 2018 was typical of what made the place so popular. The basement concert venue was packed. Almost as busy as the stage, where there was barely room to move. Not that Eddie Geida III – lead singer of the band An Albatross – cared. He was in his element. And he was ready.
The lights were low in the venue and all eyes were drawn to Eddie, illuminated by a green blue spotlight. He was dressed in a baggy, black Mickey Mouse vest, black split-side running shorts and heavy black boots. His arms and legs covered in tattoos. Hair, long and black.
The gig started with the keyboard and guitar hitting deep, vibrating notes while Eddie fiddled with the microphone stand, seemingly lost in thought. Moments later the drums kicked in, fast and explosive. And then Eddie as if awakened by a starter’s pistol – grabbed the mic and roared into the first song.
In the cramped space between the keyboards to his left, the guitarist on the other side and the drummer behind him, Eddie was a whirlwind of energy. Suddenly he was running on the spot – high knees almost all the way to his chest. Eddie jumped, spun around and hoisted the microphone stand above his head as the crowd responded with the same energy.
Eddie remembers that night in Bordeaux as being a great concert. Little did he know then how much life would change during the following few years.
Eddie has been a runner since he moved to Philadelphia in the 1990s to see where he could take his music career.
“When I was in my early twenties, I had just moved to Philadelphia and my roommate at the time was a distance runner. He kind of got me tapped into the running culture a little bit. I’m fronting, you know, an extreme underground, subcultural band that requires me to have explosive energy on stage. So it really behooves me to have some sort of cardio capacity,” explains Eddie. “But initially I always had a ceiling with running that I just wasn’t able to supersede. Because I really didn’t take it very seriously. It was always an afterthought. Just a means to an end, to get in the kind of shape required of me to be a frontman for an extreme band.”
But the running habit stuck. Eddie describes his relationship with running as a “consistent arc”. Always there, but also changing over time.
Along the way there were moments that cemented Eddie’s relationship with running: “Not to sound cliché, but a lot of those breakthrough moments were important for me as a runner. I didn’t come from a really sporty background. I was a creative kid, you know. So when you’re engaged in a physical challenge, like training for your first marathon, you have breakthrough moments. For example, when you run 18 or 20 miles and you’re able to see positive feedback. Those were really synergistic moments in my life. They tremendously spoke to me. I think I would say the same about running my first ultra marathon. They are all increasing steps.”
Running became such a part of Eddie’s life that he would lace up while on tour. Indeed, in Bordeaux, Eddie and his wife Amanda had taken the chance to explore the city on foot:
“I actually have a great picture of the two of us, in the really old part of the city, running together. Which was really great. Every morning, we’d get up about an hour and a half before the band and we’d go out with our tour manager – who is also a runner – and we’d run 5km or 10km. We’d get the day started that way. These are some of my fondest memories of being on the road.”
Then in June 2019, Eddie’s life was turned upside down when Amanda was killed in a road traffic accident. The couple were back in Philadelphia at the time and Eddie remembers rushing to the hospital when he heard the news. Tragically, Amanda’s life could not be saved.
In an interview with Philadelphia magazine, Eddie described the aftermath of the accident “After three days of not being able to eat, drink, sleep, or shower, I looked at my running shoes and thought: ‘Just put them on and get out of the house.’ They symbolised a normalcy, a means of reclaiming the iota of familiarity I had left in my existence.”
Eddie ran following the loss of his wife as a way of coping with the tragedy. He also decided to fulfil his wife’s dream of visiting India, the home of Hinduism, the principles of which the couple followed. Eddie travelled to Varanasi with his guru to immerse Amanda’s ashes in the holy Ganges River. It was there that Eddie realised he was honouring the memory of his wife by running every day.
“When I was in India, in early 2020, just before the pandemic, I felt I’d recalibrated my relationship with running,” says Eddie. “How running filters into my life and sort of diffuses though it. Running became much more of a meditative thing and much less about, like, the metrics of running and racing. Subsequently I started this running streak that has been going on for 670 or 680 days now. Running has become a daily ritualistic practice in a lot of ways. There’s less of a sense that I angle the activity towards a 16-week programme to hit a certain kind of time on a 26-mile course, you know?”
On stage, Eddie appears to have the frantic energy of a sprinter. His running, though, is much calmer. But are there similarities between what he does on stage and on the roads? “Yeah, definitely,” he says. “I think it really boils down to a sort of detachment. I feel that in a really heavy physical experience, you sort of become a-physical, in one sense. The repetition of running or tuning yourself into a certain song are performances that really require you to detach from the physical shell in which you exist.”
With almost two years of daily running behind him, one question Eddie gets asked – and asks himself – is whether he will keep going. His answer speaks to the importance running has in his life: “I feel like the kinetic pattern has a level of motivation. As if an object in motion tends to stay in motion. I feel like, if I didn’t have 680-something days behind me, there could come a day to kind of have a rest, right? But you’re not going to take a day off on your 693rd day. The propulsion comes from everything that I have behind me. It’s actually easy, especially with the origins of the streak and the connection that I feel to where I started it and why I started it. It’s sort of undeniable. It would be heartbreaking if I had to stop it.”
The past few years have been hard. Losing Amanda was a tragedy. Covid-19 put a stop to racing – something that Eddie says was “the backdrop for the social end of running”. It made touring for a band impossible at times, permanently closing many venues – including the VOID. And yet Eddie is not downbeat at all.
“I think that running creates a hyper awareness of health – physical and mental,” Eddie explains.
“Running ties into meditation and the metaphysical side of life. It has helped me create a cyclical pattern of positive energy. Running has been one of the tools that has helped me get through adversity, fortifying the structures.”
And with that, Eddie explains that he is leaving to meet his tattoo artist – to get his first ink in more than two years. Appropriately, he says, this new piece will be a running-related tattoo.
Created by Like the Wind in partnership with