BOSTON, Mass. - April 28, 2018 - April 16 marked the 122nd annual Boston Marathon that featured more than 32,000 participants from professionals to amateurs. Up and down the 26 mile stretch were numerous support banners, shirts, claps and waves between the crowd and their loved ones. Among them was Stephanie Magni, field hockey and softball head coach at Needham High School in Needhamn, Mass., who was running for her “Super Heroes” in her inaugural Marathon experience.
USA Field Hockey spoke with Magni following her completion of the Marathon.
USA Field Hockey: What originally made you want to run in the Boston Marathon? And how does it compare to past events in your mind?
Stephanie Magni: Growing up in Newton, Mass. and being a faithful marathon spectator every year, I always knew I would one day run the Boston Marathon. Of course that was back when I had no idea what it actually took to run it. I knew I would run it one day, but I wasn't sure when. After watching my sister complete it in 2014, my best friend complete it in 2014 and 2017 and my boyfriend complete it in 2016, I was inspired to do it sooner rather than later. I decided last fall that I would apply for a charity team and if I got on I would run, and if I didn't I would try again the following year. I got a phone call mid-October telling me about my acceptance onto the Joe Andruzzi Foundation team. The entire Boston Marathon experience has been one of the best experiences in my life and I am so happy and honored to have done it. The Boston Marathon doesn't even compare to any other race. It isn't just one day of running or one race, it is months of training, meeting new people, fundraising and so much more.
USA: Talk about your “Super Heroes.” Did the idea for wearing them on the back of your fleece come as an instinct when deciding to run in the Marathon?
SM: When looking into charity teams to run for I knew I wanted to run for a team that I connected with. Cancer has been something that my family has dealt with my entire life. I decided if I was going to raise money for the marathon I would do it for a cancer organization in honor of my family, which is why I chose the Joe Andruzzi Foundation. Since I decided to run in honor of my family, many of my training runs were done in their honor as well. Knowing that the pain I am in during the training runs and the actual marathon is only temporary, nothing compared to the pain a cancer patient feels everyday.
USA: When did you start training?
SM: I actually ran the Disney Marathon on January 7, 2018, so I had technically been marathon training since early September. Training for Boston picked up in December and really started to pick up in February.
USA: What was the biggest factor in deciding to support the Andruzzi Foundation?
SM: One of the main things I loved about the Joe Andruzzi Foundaiton is that they help cancer patients with outside bills such as rent, mortgage or heating bills, etc. They don't focus on one type of cancer, they help all cancer patients. My family has had many different varieties of cancer from prostate, to breast, leukemia, liver cancer, so I appreciate cancer charities that support a variety of cancer patients.
USA: How much money did you ultimately raise?
SM: I have currently raised $10,865. Donations can still be made to my Marathon fundraiser until May 15.
USA: You balanced not only field hockey, but also softball seasons in addition to training. Was it difficult at all in terms of keeping a schedule?
SM: I anticipated it being a lot more difficult to balance athletic schedules during the marathon training, but it wasn't as tough as I thought. My longer runs were done on the weekends when athletic schedules are typically lighter and shorter runs were done during the week usually after practices. I would also make small adjustments to my training schedule based on the athletic schedules each week.
USA: How did your field hockey and softball teams supported you throughout this training and previous ones?
SM: The teams have been great! Many families donated toward my fundraising campaign and came out to some of my fundraising events. Many players and parents often reached out to see how training was going etc. Many former players and families also made donations. It was amazing and meant the world to me to see former players who are currently in college make donations to show their support. I know many college students struggle financially and to see that so many of them were still able to donate and show support was amazing. Several players past and present showed a lot of interest in the entire process and I hope I have inspired some of them for their futures.
USA: What was your final time for the Marathon?
SM: 5:45:56 Running the Boston Marathon has been one of the best decisions I have ever made. Even though the weather was not ideal and crowds were scarce, the feeling of accomplishment I had reaching that finish line on Boylston Street was a moment I will never forget. The people that I now call friends that I met along the way were amazing. Charity Team runners got together every Saturday for longer runs and every Tuesday night for hill training runs. This was the most supportive group ever. The people I met from the foundation and my teammates who also raised money for the foundation were incredible. Joe and his wife, Jen Andruzzi, were amazing and supportive in every way you can imagine. They held events and parties for us, supported us with fundraising, had a water station at every Saturday training run and offered support and encouragement throughout the entire process. I am so thankful I ran for such an amazing organization.
Donations are still being accepted for Magni through Tuesday, May 15. If you would like to support Magni’s fundraising effort for the Joe Andruzzi Foundation, click here.