Meet the Samaritans 2019 Marathon Team (Part 4)

Two smiling people in two different pictures; text reads Diana on left and Mo on right

With just three days until the 2019 Boston Marathon, we are ecstatic to announce that our team has surpassed $200,000 raised for our organization! The dedicated runners on this team are loss survivors, volunteers, and folks who have benefited from our programs and services. In our final highlight before the Marathon, we’d like to introduce you to Diana and Mo, who share how they’re preparing for the big day.

What does your training schedule looked like? Is there a run that has been particularly memorable?

Diana: I wasn’t a huge runner before this and, in the fall, I mainly focused on keeping a regular “long run” every Saturday morning. At first, this was about 5 miles, but by December I was getting to 8 or 10 miles at a time. Once I started training with John Furey’s program, these long runs kept getting longer and longer. I started to add in other workouts during the week, usually a hill run and some kind of cross training. I’m a big fan of yoga for flexibility, and barre to build up my strength in muscles that I might not otherwise be working. In terms of my most memorable run so far, I have to say that, with each week that I add on another couple of miles to my long run, I am a little bit unsure whether I can make it all the way through. When I finished the 21-mile run a couple of weeks ago, I started to feel more confident and ready to take on the marathon. It also helps to have the rest of the Samaritans team with me, to cheer me on when I’m having trouble and keep me at a good running pace!

Mo: What I will remember the most from my training for this particular race is my friend Holly Golden and her commitment to keep me company for every single one of my long runs. Though Holly is also an Ironman, therefore no stranger to the marathon, she has not been training for anything in particular. She has been beside me step by step, the entire way, to support me and help me achieve my goal. As far as the actual training, I have been following the Furey plan for intermediate runners. However, with this being my first marathon post-major back surgery, I have had to do a lot of adjusting. I have had to slow things down, shorten things up, and at times due to pain levels, completely skip to put my attention in the longer mileage. I have hit every one of my long runs and included two 20 milers, mostly to feel mentally prepared. I’ve worked high-intensity interval training workouts into my weekly schedule to help rebuild my cardio, which took a toll having to be in a recliner for months follow my spinal fusion.

What sort of community have you built with other folks participating in the Marathon?

Mo: I have a good amount of friends running Boston whether through qualification or charity. My own team, though I don’t get to see them due to living in NH, is a huge inspiration for me. Their stories, their tenacity, their dedication is part of what keeps me going. People who challenge themselves to help others inspire me in every way. My own friends and those I am acquainted with through my triathlon club (Northeast Multisport) and running club (Gate City Striders) are just all amazing people and such brilliant runners. Regardless of speed, regardless of “why,” and regardless of experience, every runner I know is extremely supportive and encouraging. This community brings out the best of the best and I can’t wait to share the Boston course with all of them, whether I know them or not.

Diana: I think the strongest connections have been with the other people on the Samaritans team. We are all here because we are drawn to the mission of the organization, and it’s really helped to be able to talk about our own personal experiences with suicide and how they compare to each others’. It gives you something to talk about when you’re running for hours on end, and it also helps me to understand that there are so many people with connections to this issue. It’s very motivating to continue to raise awareness for suicide prevention.

How have your family and friends reacted to the news about your running?

Diana: Everyone has been really excited! I grew up in Boston, so I have a lot of friends and family in the area who (like me) have always known how much energy there is on race day, in this city in particular. It is such a gift for me to be running on behalf of Samaritans, and I’ve loved having the opportunity to talk about what we do and how my involvement on the Helpline has shaped my own growth as a person. It has definitely sparked conversations about suicide and suicide prevention, even with people in my own life. I’ve also gotten the chance to do an online “question and answer” event as part of my involvement with the marathon, which was really rewarding and allowed me to answer a lot of the questions people have about what it’s like to reach out to the hotline.

Mo: My family is and always has been a huge supporter of all of my endeavors, especially when putting myself out there to potentially help others. There is never any question of whether or not I should be sharing my story; never any issue with bringing strangers into the darkest parts of my life as every single person in my family and friends circle has supported me along the way. It’s okay to not be okay, and it’s more than okay to let others know there are a lot of us out there that can relate.

How are you feeling with just days to go?

Mo: I am feeling everything with just days to go. Every emotion, every pain, every sniffle, and up and down with the taper mood swings. But, I know as in all of my other big races, once I am in that starting line my thoughts will be focused on who I am, what I am doing there, and taking in every minute of that race and all the people who have traveled that distance ahead of me, with me, and in races to come. I will be feeling all of the emotions of this journey and remembering each and every person who has helped me get there and who we’ve lost along the way. Mostly, however, I know that I will be right where I belong; showing as many people as will pay attention that no matter what you’ve done or where you’ve been, there is always HOPE.

Diana: It’s pretty surreal, honestly! It feels like I just found out that I would be running with the Samaritans team, and for race day to be so close doesn’t feel completely possible. At the same time, I know from training that my teammates and I are ready, and I am so excited to finish strong with them. I know that it’s one of those days that I’ll never forget, and I’m so excited to be a part of it!

To support the 2019 Marathon team and learn more about each runner’s story, please visit our team’s CrowdRise page.

Leading up to the big day, the runners are hosting a number of fundraisers which can be found on the Upcoming Events section of our homepage.