Roseann Is Running for a Great Cause: Greenroots Leader Bongiovanni Preps for Boston Marathon

There may be snow on the ground, but Roseann Bongiovanni is gearing up for the spring and one of the world’s most foremost sporting events: The Boston Marathon.

Bongiovanni is in training for what will be her fifth appearance in the Boston Marathon, the 26.2-mile race from Hopkinton to Boston that attracts thousands of athletes from across the world each April.

The well-known executive director of GreenRoots and former councillor-at-Large, Bongiovianni is excited about the opportunity to participate again in the Marathon while supporting the Dana Farber Cancer Institute by raising funds for cancer research.

Roseann Bongiovanni, executive director of GreenRoots, is pictured during a pre-Boston Marathon training run this week along Revere Beach Boulevard

“The Boston Marathon is the granddaddy of races, it is just so utterly special,” said Bongiovanni. “I ran my first Boston in 2003 when it seemed like an unbelievable feat.  Now, almost twenty years later, I still feel the same – it is just such a behemoth of a course that it is intimidating, awe-inspiring and magnificent. But in addition to my love for the race, I am running to raise money for an amazing cause – to support the Dana Farber Cancer Institute’s innovative cancer research.  Whose family hasn’t been touched by cancer? The money my teammates and I are raising will hopefully go to cures and treatments that will help many loved ones fight cancer. 

Bongiovanni said her goal is to raise $12,500 for Dana Farber.

Training has Begun

Bongiovanni, who regularly runs 3-5-mile distances to stay active in the sport and be physically fit, has stepped up her long-distance training.

“I was inspired to get running again when my 10-year son joined the cross-country team at his school,” related Bongiovanni.  “We began running together on weekends and some evenings.  My daughter also joins us on runs through the neighborhood.  Those runs helped to get me ready to jump back into longer runs.”

The Marathon Experience

Bongiovanni has previously completed the Chicago and New York City Marathons, a law-enforcement half marathon (13.1 miles) and a Spartan race at Fenway Park.

The Boston Marathon course, that passes through several communities before finishing on Boylston Street, presents its own, unique set of challenges, most notably Heartbreak Hill in Newton at Mile 20.

“It’s sort of like running up Carter Street (Chelsea) hill, only about a half-mile longer and more gradual of an incline,” said Bongiovanni. “The thing is that by the time you hit Heartbreak, you’ve already run a series of hills. Those hills get far less respect than Heartbreak, but they are no joke.”

When Bongiovanni takes her position on the starting line on Patriots’ Day (April 18), her family will be out on the course waiting to cheer her on toward the finish line.

“They will definitely be somewhere along the course for sure,” said Bongiovanni. “And we’re talking about running the BAA 5K race together just a few days before the marathon.”

Bongiovanni said some of her usual pre-Marathon training sessions have been altered because of COVID-19. She noted that the Boston Marathon will have many safety precautions in place.

“So far many of the typical weekend group runs have been cancelled because of the Omicron variant,” said Bongiovanni.  “All runners need to show proof of vaccination; and the marathon events will implement COVID-19 safety precautions.  There is also an option to participate in the race virtually.

“Aside from all of that, I think this year will be even more special.  After having to be canceled in 2020 and postponed in 2021, having the Boston Marathon on its traditional date will help us all have a sense of hope from the end of two utterly difficult years.  I am honored to run for those who have been affected by cancer,” concluded Bongiovanni.

How You Can Sponsor Roseann

Residents wishing to sponsor Roseann’s run in the Boston Marathon can visit her Dana Farber Marathon Challenge webpage to donate at:  “I will wear the name of those impacted by cancer on my shirt on race day,” said Roseann.  “If people want to donate in honor of a loved one, I will have the honor of carrying their name throughout the marathon on April 18.”

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