On April 19, 1897 the first ever Boston Marathon was celebrated. Next week, on Monday, April 21 there will be another edition of the country’s oldest marathon and among its runners will be Culver City resident Mark C. Minichiello.
This year’s Boston Marathon will force runners and spectators alike to revisit the memories of last year’s tragic bombings.
“As a Bostonian by birth and a marathon runner in life, it (bombings) especially hit home for me,” Minichiello said. “I am running the Boston Marathon this April 21st, carrying a flag showing the support of the L.A. Roadrunners to Boston. The horrific tragedy that unfolded at last year’s race tried to strike fear in us. Instead, it only showed how our great nation comes together in a moment of need.”
Minichiello’s marathon career began after his wife ran a marathon in 2010. In 2011 he and his wife ran the L.A. Marathon, making it his first time in the race.
“I joined the L.A. Roadrunners which is the official running group of the marathon here in town,” Minichiello said. “During the next couple of years I continued to run with the L.A. Roadrunners and pursuit marathons all over the world.”
During the past three years, Minichiello has participated in nine marathons and more than a dozen half marathons. He is now pace leader for the L.A. Roadrunners and helps guide the runners during the marathon. In preparation for the Boston Marathon, he has spent the past six months training with a group of runners for L.A. Now that the L.A. Marathon has passed, he is getting back into training season.
“Training for a marathon is not as hard as people think, if you train properly and the Roadrunner program helps first timers learn how to properly run a marathon,” Minichiello said. “They prepare and train you for it. Once you run your first marathon, you either love it or you will never do it again.”
Having made friends and made so many nice people as a marathon runner, the attacks on the Boston Marathon had an even stronger impact on him.
“I am running the marathon with a friend of mine from the first grade. He still lives in Boston and he’s run the Boston Marathon for the past five years and last year he could not finish the marathon because of the bombings,” Minichiello said. “So I reached out to him and told him that I would run with him. He runs for the Boston Children’s Hospital which is a charity in Boston that takes care of children who can’t afford medical services.”
Not being satisfied with just running in the iconic marathon, Minichiello reached out to the marathon community in the Los Angeles area and in town and has managed to raise a total of $10,000 for kids.
“Boston Children’s Hospital had a wave of young patients brought in on stretchers, all hurt by the bombs detonated amongst spectators of the city’s famed marathon,” Minichiello said. “Many of my friends in the L.A. Roadrunners have graciously donated to my cause, so I thought it was only fitting that they are represented.”
Minichiello has raced in Berlin, Rome and plans to do New York. Yet, this year’s participation in Boston will mean something special for him as runs with the L.A. Roadrunners flag.
“It is considered the holy grail of marathons. It is the oldest in the United States,” Minichiello said. “So if you are a marathon runner, things are not complete until you do one Boston Marathon: it is kind of the pinnacle. On top of that, I never appreciated it when I lived in Boston. I always said to myself ‘who wants to run 26 miles?’”