Meet the Samaritans 2018 Boston Marathon Team (Part 5)

With less than a week until Race Day, Samaritans 2018 Boston Marathon Team continues to ramp up both fundraising and training, with more than $115,000 raised toward our team goal of $145,000! The 14 dedicated individuals on this team are loss survivors, volunteers, and people that have benefited from our Helpline. They are taking on 26.2 miles to raise funds and support Samaritans’ programs and services. In our final Marathon highlight, check out our Q&A session with Samantha and Gretchen about the homestretch of their training.


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

Samantha: I am running four days a week, doing physical therapy twice a week for an injury, doing strength training once a week, and stretching daily. I feel like I spend my whole week in exercise clothes. My hardest run was an 18-mile run a few weeks ago because I tripped on an uneven sidewalk and fell at mile 14. Despite a gash in my knee, ripped pants, and a little blood, I stood back up and kept going.

Gretchen: I’ve been running Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, with a long run on Saturdays. I also swim as cross-training. I had a 17-miler that was difficult during the last two miles, but I have tried to focus on the milestones I’ve been hitting, as these are the longest distances I have run.


What sort of community have you built with other folks participating in the Marathon, both on the Samaritans team and other teams?

Samantha: One of my good friends is running for 261, Kathrine Switzer’s team, and we’ve spent a lot of time discussing our training plans, clothing and nutrition choices, and running together. This is such a challenging physical and emotional goal – we all need as much support as we can get and I’ve been very lucky.

Gretchen: I’m lucky to have a lot of friends that are running through work, and can also rely on the advice and guidance of my sister who is an avid runner. She just completed the Tokyo Marathon, which means she has now run all six of the World Majors! She’s been the real inspiration in me running my first. Definitely having that team feeling helps, and being a part of Samaritans keeps me motivated!


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

Samantha: I am a recent addition to the team so running the Marathon was a surprise to me and all of my friends and family. Once we got over the shock, everyone got excited and has been very supportive! They can’t wait to cheer me on. For my family in particular, this is very meaningful because I’m running in honor of my aunt, who we lost to suicide in 1999. This gives us all a chance to remember her together and talk about how special she was to all of us.

Gretchen: Everyone has been incredibly supportive and believes in me, even at my times of highest doubt. I’m so lucky to have that support system in place, and their energy is going to help carry me through! People were definitely surprised too (in a good way)!


How are you feeling with only a week to go?

Samantha: It’s so hard to believe we are down to a week! I am nursing an injury to my foot so a little apprehensive but generally, I am very excited! Can’t wait for April 16th!

Gretchen: Scared, nervous, excited, emotional, everything!!! I’m ready for it to be race day, and I’m ready to get out there to experience it.

To learn more about Samantha and Gretchen and how you can support their journeys, visit